There are many tourists who are interested in “off the beaten path” Asiago attractions and for those individuals, a trip to the Astrophysics Observatory, or L’Osservatorio Astrofisico, is a great idea. It was constructed during Italy’s Fascist period and was inaugurated in the year 1942. The rector of the University of Padova was interested in constructing a telescope that was larger than any around in Europe at the time and he succeeded. Indeed, the first telescope of the Observatory, dubbed “Galileo” in honor of the third centennial anniversary of Galileo’s death, became the largest telescope on European territory during those years.
Asiago was chosen as a spot for the observatory because of the clear conditions of its atmosphere and sky, and for the fact that there were very few lights on the Asiago Plateau at the time. The Galileo telescope had, and still has, a parabolic mirror that measures 122 centimeters in diameter and is still in function today. In the years 1956 and 1965, two more telescopes were added. Both of these telescopes were moved to a new seat, roughly 12 km from the original location of the observatory. One of these telescopes, named “Copernicus”, is the largest in Italy. The original observatory is still in use today and it has greatly focused on educational and outreach programs. Reservations must be made in advance for anyone wishing to visit the observatory.