Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences — Department of Geology, the University of Tartu
I’m here in Estonia through a “Mobilitas” grant. My project consist in to reconstruct ancient paleo-climatology through paleontological and geochemical isotopic analyses on Ordovician and Silurian fossils (485 to 419 millions of years ago). In particular I work on a particular group of fossils named Brachiopoda, but also with more famous ones as Trilobites, Corals and Molluscs.
For geological reasons Estonia is one of the very best places in the word to carry out this kind of research. All the Estonian territory through the ages has been interested only by minor geological deformations. This has permitted the conservation of very well preserved fossils shell. This is the fundamental pre-requisite for isotopic analyses.
Other important reasons to come here have been the existence of a good possibilities for researchers and of course the opportunity to work with dear colleagues and friends, few of them I already knew before to come here.
What is the best thing about living/working in Estonia?
There are a lot of reason to live and work in Estonia. Let’s go in order ….
First of all I’m very happy of the work environment with many nice and friendly peoples and a perfect quite and calm environment. Also the equipment and the instrumentations (with the exception of very specific ones) are modern and adeguate to my needs.
Then, although relatively small, Tartu is a very nice and vital city. Personally I love Tartu for its history and his attachment to the traditions and roots. It is impressive the number of museum, statues, fountains, historical places and so on. All those things together with the very prestigious University make of Tartu the Cultural capital of Estonia. Moreover the presence of the University makes Tartu a quite cosmopolitan city. It is quite common her to meet someone coming from outside Europe. This of course is the first way to feel yourself citizen of the world!
But Tartu is not the only attractive place in Estonia. Also thanks to my job I had the opportunity to visit quite many places. The old part of Tallinn is the best medieval area in the world, but also many other cities and small towns are rich of history, monuments and culture. So as in all the Baltic, singing and dancing festivals are very nice, funny and impressive ones. However the best part of Estonia is represented by its uncontaminated nature with many spectacular places and their rich and diversified flora and fauna.
What was surprising for you when you moved to Estonia?
I arrived in Estonia first time in January, so in full winter, and of course I was nicely surprised by that fairy white landscape.
But then apart of this, going into more concrete things, I’m been really surprised by efficiency of bureaucracy. Coming from Italy where there is probably the most slow and complicate one in the world, or at least in Europe; and then comparing things with UK where, to be kind, they are ridiculously strictly observing rules (comprising quite questionable ones) and often they seems “lost in glass of water”, here it is the heaven!
How would you describe your career perspectives in Estonia?
This I don’t know yet, let’s wait next year to sort out.
In general I would like to remain here and I know that many friends have had this opportunity.
What do you miss from your home country?
It would be even too much easy to say that I miss the hot sun, the friendly and expansive people … And then the food of course … even if luckily here I can find also a very good pizza!!! Obviously I miss my city, Napoli and its neighborhoods are one of the most incredible places in the word. However I would miss those thing everywhere in the world, so why not Estonia?
I can admit that I’m loving Tartu and its tons of snow too! So in definitive the only thing that I really miss is my family, even if to bypass this problem the Estonian-invented Skype helps a lot!
At the end I want conclude saying that, in spite of the long and cold winter, Estonia and Tartu are a very nice places where to live, and the University of Tartu is definitively a great place where to work.