“Custodians of the Memory” – First Webinar in “Shadow of Norge” project

The first international Webinar of the “Shadow of Norge” initiative was held on April 8th, opening the commemoration of the 95th anniversary of the Amundsen-Ellsworth-Nobile Transpolar Flight (1926).

The event was institutionally hosted by the Museo Umberto Nobile of Lauro, hometown to the Italian explorer and was chaired by the Museum’s director, Antonio Ventre.

The event was focused on family memories and historical places variously related to the 1926 expedition, e.g. the Oslo-Ekeberg stop-over place, the Ny-Ålesund advanced base in the Svalbard Islands, the historical life-places of the two leaders of the expedition, like Amundsen’s home in Uranienborg and places where Umberto Nobile lived, worked and paid visits in Rome, Lauro and Eboli.

Another theme explored by some of the speeches during the Webinar was the legacy left by the 1926 expedition, almost a century after its development, on both the education of future generations and the cultural relationships and bonds between Italy, Norway, and Russia.

The Webinar, whose programme can be downloaded here, was recorded and can be fully watched on the ShadowOfNorge youtube channel.

The ShadowOfNorge
The ShadowOfNorge

Shadow Of Norge: Webinars and Cultural Encounters

Kick-off for the “Shadow Of Norge project“, born within the GREAL Laboratory: a series of International Webinars and Cultural Meetings that will celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Amundsen-Ellsworth-Nobile expedition (1926-2021)


Researchers  scholars and institutional representatives, coordinated by GREAL and other partner institutions, will present their contributions to offer a reconstruction and comments on several different aspects of the NORGE expedition


This cycle of events, organized with the aim of creating an international and interdisciplinary commemoration, will begin on April 8, 2021 and end on May 14, the day when the Norge completed the first transpolar flight in history, landing in Teller, a village in Alaska.


In the program you can find the calendar of each event, with further information and links to participate online!



Download the Program: Shadow Of Norge webinar program and cultural events

A virtual reconstruction of airship NORGE (1926-2021)

On April 10th, 1926, airship NORGE departed Rome, marking the beginning of the Amundsen-Ellsworth-Nobile expedition. A crucial voyage: for the first time in history a transpolar flight from Europe to America was achieved. 

Waiting to celebrate the 95th anniversary of this expedition, GREAL Laboratory (www.greal.eu), under the technical and graphic-design responsibility of dr. Roberta Rodelli and the scientific direction of prof. Gianluca Casagrande, brought the project “Shadow of NORGE” to life, in order to virtually retrace the famous journey. 

The laboratory started working on the creation of a 3D model of the airship. The digital reconstruction is mostly based on original drawings by Umberto Nobile (designer and commander of NORGE), along with photos and films from that time. The general aim is to create a virtual copy, as much as possible similar to the real airship in appearance and dimensions.  

The project is part of a series of activities and events that will celebrate the anniversary of this absolute first, with a little touch of magic obtained by the use of innovative technologies, possibly appealing to a wider audience. 

GREAL Seminar: Advanced tecniques for “image-based-modelling” virtualization of cultural heritage

The seminar will be given on December 7th 2020 by archaeologist Dr. Emiliano Tondi, a specialist in technologies for research and communication of cultural heritage.

The event will take place online through the Microsoft Teams channel of the Undergraduate program in Geography for Sustainable Tourism, and will include a methodological introduction and an excercise.

The seminar will be held in Italian language and is specifically offered to UER Students. 


The Polarquest2018 Arctic Expedition: An Open Access geographical report

Between July 22nd and September 4th 2018, an international Arctic research and communication expedition called «Polarquest2018» was conducted on board the eco-sustainable sail-yacht NANUQ .

The 17.8-meter sailboat cruised for a total of 3,564 nautical miles2 most of which north of the Arctic Circle (including two transfers and one operation leg). The crew, consisting generally of ten members, carried out a series of activities and observations in the framework of three research programmes.

The expedition was organized by Association Polarquest2018 (Switzerland) in partnership with Association Acapela and with scientific, technical and cultural entities from France, Switzerland, Italy and Norway3 . Funding was provided by institutional and private sponsors.

The project was highly interdisciplinary in nature. It consisted in navigating an experimental, environment-friendly floating laboratory through an Oceanic route, beyond the Arctic Circle and around Svalbard. During this travel, many activities involved scientific research, communication and storytelling.

This book is the third in the «Geografia a libero accesso» series, that the Italian Geographical Society has created to host its digital publications. The purpose of the editorial initiative is to make works by the Society’s members easier to access and circulate, so that results from studies and research activities may be freely disseminated. We hope that our fellows and the wide audience in the Web will appreciate this effort. Gianluca Casagrande’s book further extends the accessibility beyond the Italian-speaking context: a necessary choice, since it has an international endeavor as its topic and will have international readers as a significant share of its audience.

Nanuq 2020 Artic Expedition: First comments and results

The “Nanuq 2020 Artic Expedition: First comments and results” seminar will take place on 26 October, as part of the Master in Digital Earth and Smart Governance.

When26 ottobre, ore 14:30

WhereWebinar via Microsoft Teams: https://qrgo.page.link/ABRSW


Institutional greetings – Saluti istituzionali

Carla Masetti, Director, Laboratorio Geocartografico “G. Caraci”, Università Roma Tre

Expedition’s geographical overview

Inquadramento geografico della spedizione Gianluca Casagrande, Scientific Director, GREAL, Università Europea di Roma

NANUQ2020 – A preliminary report NANUQ2020

Relazione preliminare Peter Gallinelli, Expedition and Project Leader, NANUQ2020

An innovative probe for oceanographic research Una sonda innovativa per ricerche oceanografiche

Jonathan Selz, Onboard Scientist, NANUQ2020

Comments from the lab: a word on vascular plants observed by NANUQ2020

Commenti dal laboratorio: un intervento sulle piante vascolari osservate da NANUQ2020 Daniele Angeloni, Master in Digital Earth e Smart Governance, Università Roma Tre.


GREAL in Geneva for the scientific research mission NANUQ2020

Alessandro Prunesti, lecturer at the European University of Rome and GREAL’s deputy director, had a meeting yesterday in Geneva with Prof. Peter Gallinelli, director of the Passive Igloo Project and skipper of S/Y NANUQ, an innovative environmentally-sustainable research boat.

The purpose of Prunesti’s visit to Switzerland was to deliver scientific equipment put at disposal, by GREAL, to the NANUQ2020 Arctic expedition workgroup, lead by Gallinelli, for training and research this summer. The expedition is scheduled to depart in July, bound for Greenland, if mobility conditions in Europe, due to the developments of Covid19 pandemic, will allow. 

Aerial expeditive mapping and geographical observation in Svalbard by expedition Polarquest2018

The Polarquest2018 research and communication expedition circumnavigated the Svalbard Islands between August 4th and 24th, 2018. The expedition’s boat, an advanced Swiss-built experimental sailing laboratory called NANUQ served as an environmental friendly technological demonstrator which proved very effective in testing a complex programme of geographical observations in that remote Arctic archipelago.

One of the research sub-programs, called “AURORA” (Accessible UAVs for Research and Observation in Remote Areas) allowed to test methods and techniques for the geographical and environmental documentation of several places of interest in Svalbard. The approach followed during the work was to verify the effectiveness of citizen-science level equipment when tested for full-blown scientific applications.

The final results of the activity are being published and will be entirely issued during this incoming summer, suggesting a very high potential for a new possible profile in Arctic scientific research and dissemination of public awareness about the regions’assets as well as environmental issues.  


The conference will be held online on 21th of May, at 19.30 by Gianluca Casagrande, Associate Professor of Geography at Università Europea di Roma.

Join the Zoom meeting here:


Meeting ID: 932 6157 3696

Password: 615036

Image: NASA
Image: NASA

Call to International Conference – University of Roma Tre

Year 2019 marks two important anniversaries in the history of travels and explorations. It is indeed 500 years after Ferdinand Magellan’s departure for the first circumnavigation of Earth and 50 years after the first Lunar landing by Apollo 11.

Taking an opportunity from the commemoration of both events, the Italian Centre for Geo-Historical Studies and the “Giuseppe Caraci” geo-cartographic laboratory of the Humanities Department – Roma Tre University, along with the Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología en Roma, is organizing an International Conference to be held in Rome. The event will be held on December 5-6, 2019, and it will focus on the importance of explorations and travels in pushing forward the evolution of thought and culture in science as well as in general perception, from politics to religion, from anthropology to history of art, from pharmacopoeia to food supply.


Artwork by: Daniel Eskridge – DanielEskridge.com

The elements of innovation which pervaded Europe – and therefore the rest of the world – defined the beginning of a process involving differentiation, characterization, specification (even up to a terminological level) of quite many aspects of life. Such process was to continue in the following centuries, thanks to contacts with far civilizations, material and immaterial exchanges, reforms and revolutions which derived from the progressive widening of geographical horizons.

Regions of the Americas and Asia were subject to conquest, exploitation and evangelization, all affected by contrasts among European powers until the 19th century.

Travels to Americas and other unexplored regions (e.g. Australia and Africa), can be conceptually associated to those towards the Polar areas in the 20th century and to expeditions towards extra-terrestrial worlds. In the latter, the technological components seem to be predominant; however, they involve the same themes of perception, openness to novelty, in a continuous flow of travel experiences from the exploration of Earth to the exploration of outer space.

The Conference welcomes studies about travel and literature, evolution of scientific thought, geography and history, transcalar and long-term relations among Europe, extra-European continents and extraterrestrial spaces. Speakers from these fields are invited to present their reflections on the importance of travel in the opening of physical as well as mental spaces.

The due date for submitting proposals is September 15th, 2019. Applicants should send an e.mail to  segreteria@cisge.it, specifying the title of the proposed work, the proponents’ names, a contact e.mail, the proponents’ affiliations, a short abstract (2000 characters max) and between 3 and 5 keywords.

S. Alessandrini (GREAL) gives a ‘Lectio Magistralis’ at the “XXXI National Conference of Aeronautical and Space Medicine”

The XXXI National Conference on Aeronautical and Space Medicine, organized by the Italian Association of Aeronautical and Space Medicine (AIMAS), took place in Vicenza from 19 to 21 June.

The conference, in addition to specific sessions for aero-medical examiners (AME), proposed a series of scientific communications on some major issues in aeronautical and operational clinical medicine, such as human factor and flight safety, space and physiology in extraordinary environments, forensic medicine and aeronautical work, proposal of guidelines for management in-flight diabetes.

The event was opened by a lectio magistralis by Dr. Sergio Alessandrini, a member of the Operational Committee of GREAL. Alessandrini is a forensic doctor and an expert on the history of Arctic exploration.


Dr. Sergio Alessandrini

The speech was on “The airship ITALIA expedition and the Red Tent – collective memory and historical“. Year 2019 marks the 91th anniversary of  such expedition, conducted in 1928 and directed by Gen. Umberto Nobile, of the Royal Italian Air Force.

The expedition followed the successful first transpolar flight performed by airship NORGE in 1926, and was intended as a full blown geographic exploration mission in the Arctic.

The ITALIA made three flights in the polar region and reached the North Pole on May 25th, 1928; however, it sadly crashed on the pack during its flight back towards homebase at Svalbard.

In the aftermath of the disaster, harsh controversies arose. Such polemics shook the prestige of involved Italian institutions and pushed the value of the whole expedition aside. On the long run, this marginalized the value of the ITALIA’s endeavor in both Italian and European collective memories, putting it, de facto, in oblivion.

The focus of Dr. Alessandrini’s speech was on current historical research which aims to highlight new evidence, emerging from archival data and primary sources. Such perspective, along with a new and more comprehensive reading of the traditional sources on the topic may contribute to a more effective understanding of the events and their historical dimension. It can also contribute to the memory of an expedition which consolidated, about a century ago already, Italy’s role as a major scientific and technical actor in the development of human presence and activity in the Arctic.