The astronomical observatory
On the top of Campo dei Fiori, 1230m altitude, there is the Cittadella di Scienza della Natura, which was established by Salvatore Furia to “build a bridge between science and the public” and has been working for over fifty years. The Cittadella comprises the “G.V. Schiaparelli” Astronomical Observatory, the Centro Geofisico Prealpino and the “R. Tomaselli” Giardino Montano, whose objective is to protect and conserve biodiversity.
The complex is managed by the Società Astronomica Schiaparelli, founded by S. Furia in 1956. It is staffed by volunteers who spend their free time doing research and spreading scientific knowledge.
It is a popular destination with thousands of visitors every year, including groups, schools and individuals, either during daytime or at night. With its three domes, it is also an important international centre. Research is focused on studying the spectroscopy of stars and tracking potentially dangerous asteroids, which make this site one of the main amateur observatories in the world. Its major telescope is a reflector telescope of diameter 84cm and it is one of the largest in Italy and Europe.
The Centro Geofisico Prealpino of Varese has been a leading regional centre of meteorology since the late 60s, providing daily weather forecast, weather stations, monitoring the water levels of local rivers and lakes and being a seismic station connected to the INGV (The Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) since 1981.