From the newest planetarium in Italy to the oldest. While the Planetarium South Tyrol has only been open a few weeks, the Milan Planetarium opened in 1930 and was the very first planetarium in Italy. This was my last stop on my itinerary. On the morning of my visit, I met Alberto, their administrator, and two of their technicians.
The planetarium is a wonderful looking building and is set in a park alongside the Milan Natural History Museum (which has some wonderful diaoramas). The planetarium is almost all original. The interior with its tiled floor, bespoke chairs and wood panelling exude a warm charm.
The star projector is a Zeiss Mark IV, which was installed in 1968, the only time they have ever done an upgrade. During the war the original star projector was removed from the planetarium and stored in the basement of a church to prevent any damage from ally bombing. This was quite fortunate as a bomb did hit near by, and the original dome caught fire and was burnt to the ground. The rest of the building was saved.
It was great to see and hear their star projector in action and see their night sky. I must say I was well impressed with their control panel.
It is funny to think that in this day and age of fulldome, we are all becoming obsessed with upgrading our equipment. Yet, I love the Milan Planetarium as it is, it is a Living Museum. Certainly a city as large as Milan deserves a fulldome planetarium. But I hope that instead of upgrading this one, they keep it as it is, and build a fulldome planetarium right alongside it.