The Italian Connection

Most people familiar with the history of the AAVSO know about our 'French Connection', the long friendship and history of cooperation between the AAVSO and the AFOEV. But we have even longer and deeper ties to our variable star observing friends in Italy. In fact, our 'Italian Connection' goes back to before the AAVSO was born.

Early attempts at organizing amateur astronomers included the Society for Practical Astronomy (SPA) in the early 1900's. The Variable Star Section of the SPA included several observers who would eventually defect from the SPA to form the fledgling AAVSO a couple years later. Giavonni Battista Lacchini from Bologna, Italy was a member of the SPA and followed Olcott when he decided to form the AAVSO in 1911. He was considered one of the AAVSO's Old Guard.

An amateur turned professional, he was a postal official until 1928 when he was named Assistant Astronomer for the Italian Government, at the Royal Observatory in Catania, Sicily.

Lacchini became the first international member of the AAVSO and remains one of the all time leading observers in history.  Lacchini continued sending observations, eventually accumulating over 65,000 of them, until he death in 1967. Lacchini crater on the moon is named after him. Janet Mattei was the first Giovanni Battista Lacchini Award winner for collaboration with amateur astronomers, in 1995.

Italian observers continued to submit observations through the years, and several of them have made substantial contributions over time. Here is a list of some of these ambitious observers, some who are still active today, and their totals.

Massimo Banfi 2515

Sandro Baroni   13034

Marco Cavagna 1785

Emilio Colombo 7541

Sergio Dallaporta  1806

Maurizio Fadda  1714

Sergio Foglia 16774

Giancarlo Gotta 18268

Mauro Graziani 1361

Carlo Gualdoni 15736

Giovanni Lacchini 65000+

Eppe Loreta  21076

Alessandro Marchini 1209

Enzo Meneguzzo  1389

Riccardo Papini 3487

Ivo Peretto 1350



On March 20, 2010 Director, Arne Henden, attended the dedication of the telescope of the L’Osservatorio Astronomico del Celado (The Astronomical Observatory of Celado) in Italy. The telescope was named in honor of former Director, Janet Mattei. 


Our 'Italian Connection' extends into 21st century new media. Today, our Facebook page has more fans from Itlay than any other country but the USA. We have strong ties to the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium and many other countries, but our 'Italian Connection' remains as strong as it was the day the AAVSO was born. We salute our Italian friends from the past and today. 



Possa la nostra amicizia rimarrà forte per altri 100 anni.