In the central part of the Italian peninsula, starting at about 80 km north of Rome, a geographical area which is one of the darkest of Italy and covers the north part of Lazio and most of the central-south of Tuscany. This area coincides with the ancient region Etruria, where the Etruscans, a pre-roman population, lived for centuries and taught the Latins and the Romans the basics of civilization. Once conquered by Romans this region became the “VII Regio Etruria”. Inside this area, a farmhouse called “La Svolta” is located on the green, gentle slopes of the surrounding hills.
The guests of La Svolta may enjoy the farmer life amenities such as domestic animal caring and performing simple agricultural works or visiting the numerous archeological and historical sites, many medieval towns, taking warm baths at the several natural thermal facilities around, swimming in the Tirrenian sea few miles away, eating the best and natural food and, last but not least… making astrophotography. La Svolta “Astrocamp”, in fact, is provided of a system of 15 platforms, accommodating the same number of remote observatories, in addition to facilities for performing visual observations.
Avalon Instruments chose this site to install its first Merlino Personal Remote Observatory (P.R.O.). The first one was named Avogadro, in honour of the Italian scientist of XVIII century, well known to all chemists and scientists in general for the “Avogadro number”. One year later, a second Merlino was installed by Luciano Dal Sasso, the Avalon Instruments owner, and the Avogadro Observatory was subsequently extended also to the second Merlino. Both are now managed together by Luciano and me.
The present website, which is owned by Mauro Ghiri (myself) and my son Marco, has the purpose to present the pictures and the other works produced with the two observatories. In the first years of operations, the Avogadro Observatory Merlinos were used by Alessandro Milani, who was the co-owner of the first one, for a short time, and by Matteo Collina, another well known astrophotographer. Many of the pictures presented in this site have been taken by them during their periods of collaboration.