Le Marche is a real box full of surprising discoveries. When no one would
expect it, suddenly a small, restored hamlet appears between the mountain
slopes and the hills.
Nothing strange, were it not for the fact that those
houses on a nice square are part of an ambitious project of a single man.
Supported by his creative family, this man chose this charming place to
found a centre for geological research, and in parallel, a place to make
in-depth analyses of culinary and visual arts.
Alessandro Montanari is a geologist born in Le Marche,
who lived and studied at the Berkeley University (California). Then he
enthusiastically welcomed and heeded the nostalgic call of his own land
and got back in 1992. He chose an ancient hamlet, Coldigioco, which was
situated close to Apiro, at the foot of the San Vicino Mount, to found and
start-up a functional independent observatory to carry out scientific
Today, also thanks to the valuable collaboration of
loyal friends and his family (his wife Paula Metallo is an artist),
Alessandro Montanari made his dream come true. The Geological Observatory
of Coldigioco (OGC) has been a recognised reality for some time now; many
scholars and researchers visit it from all over the world.
The hamlet’s old school (which was used prophetically
in the ‘60s by Masters Tamagnini to experiment and spread innovative
teaching techniques), now hosts rooms equipped with computers, a library
and geological laboratories. Other buildings host the equipped room to use
the audiovisual materials and the large common kitchen, as well as
accommodation for visitors. Palazzo Villani hosts summer courses called C.U.C.I.N.A. (Coldigioco
Unit for Culinary Investigations in the Northern Apennines), as well as the laboratory for artistic glass
Hill Astronomical Observatory Station (C.H.A.O.S.) is located among dwellings; it uses a
Mead LX200 telescope with computerized control systems. The telescope is
used to study the morphology of moon’s craters, planets and other
features. The centre also offers its vehicles and equipment to scholars,
for the geological investigation on the ground, (such as chisels, mattocks,
safety equipment, cameras, etc.) Investigation is then continued in
laboratories, equipped with many specific tools.
OGC has hosted many interesting scientific programmes and
theme conferences with important speakers. In addition, every two years
Coldigioco hosts 24 students from the Carleton College (Northfield, MN,
U.S.A.). For 10 weeks these students live in a wonderful place, always
offering breathtaking sunsets, to carry out geological studies and learn
to appreciate the excellent local cooking and the great Italian culture.
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