PloneGov Italy: a fast growing community

The Italian PloneGov community has been growing at an impressive rate since the launch of its national branch in September. This article presents in details a number of Plone based open source projects developed by a number of Italian public administrations.

More information about the PloneGov initiative is available on

Italian content is available on and Perchè PloneGov piace?

Camera di Commercio di Ferrara

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Craft Trade and Agriculture of Ferrara (CCFE) is an independent public body that supports and promotes the general interests of companies in Ferrara. After playing a very active role in the design of its Plone portal and Intranet solutions, named “C2P” as an acronym of “Chamber of Commerce Portal”, CCFE decided to get involved in the marketing of services related with C2P, defining a price list for  installation, configuration, customization, training and help desk services, and selected a technical partner in support of C2P diffusion. This smart, active strategy enables this Public Agency to increase the value of its investment in open source solutions, and creates business opportunities for the whole community of open source developers. Many Chambers of Commerce, as well as their regional union, are adopting C2P and are eligible to join PloneGov. A good example of what an undertaking Plone user can do, the Chamber of Commerce of Ferrara hosted the PloneGov official Italian launch on September 16, 2008.

City of Modena

The City of Modena adopted Plone as a platform for the development of its web sites, with the aim of improving the quality and the number of the on line services offered to the citizens. The importance of this presence in PloneGov is even greater, considering that Mo-Net is recognized nationwide as a best practice and plays a reference role for the web sites of Public Administrations of any size. The conversion process to Plone, including extensive training of the personnel from many different offices, will be gradual and by now has involved some sub-site among which we will cite the following ones:

Unione  Reno Galliera

Reno Galliera, an Union of Communes from the northern Bologna Province, manages IT services for the administrations of its 70-thousand-people-territory, boasting a constantly growing infrastructural and productive context. The Union chose Plone, initially for its Intranet and then for its institutional portal, with a double purpose: on one side, capitalize on the experiences of foreign public administrations, very active and numerous in the PloneGov community, and on the other, develop new Plone-based services and possibly release them to the PloneGov community. The management of the communal IT services gives the Union an advisory role to the participating Communes, that in the near future will be able to evaluate the adoption of the Plone technology so convincedly supported by the Unione Reno Galliera.

Università degli Studi di Ferrara

Probably the biggest Italian Plone user, with almost 200 websites and more than 800 authors (users autonomously managing at least a site or a web page), and its complex Intranet supporting more than 2000 Asterisk VOIP phones, the University of Ferrara has established itself as a Plone competence center, also as a result of a research activity carried out with the contribution of many students’ dissertations on Zope and Plone, and has gained full autonomy in all Plone management tasks and its integration with the organization’s other intranet applications. Recently accepted as PloneGov observator, the Università degli Studi di Ferrara is gaining a nation-wide reference role for Zope’s and Plone’s reliability and scalability.

Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e Protezione Ambientale del Veneto

Veneto Region Environmental Prevention and Protection Agency has chosen Plone both for migrating its institutional website, and for integrating, in its intranet/extranet, its many environmental and meteo-climatic databases with the data, bulletins and information retrieval interfaces, using also GIS technologies shared with SINANET (see below). The restructuring, porting and development work will be completed during 2nd quarter 2009. At that moment, ARPAV will have gained an unique experience in the integration of Plone with third party database and authentication systems, as well as a valuable knowledge of hardware sizing and of the correct balance between physical and virtual servers in a Plone infrastructure: a big, efficient and well integrated, but still economic, Plone infrastructure.

National Environmental Information System

The National Environmental Information System (Sinanet), a part of the Superior Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), has the aim of monitoring and aggregating the cartographic resources an the databases coming from the various information sources distributed on the national territory. This allows for a single national access point for researching and consulting environmental data.

Provincia di Ferrara

For several years, the Province of Ferrara has been boasting an innovative groupware solution for the management of the General Affairs Office, the office dealing with matters relative to administrative and jurisdictional activities of the Provincial Administration, and in particular managing the workflow of administrative documents from all the other offices in the organization. The solution, called “QUASAR / Scrivania Virtuale” (Italian for “virtual desktop”) has been publicly recognized as efficient and successful: QUASAR implements the Quality Management system procedures of the organization, compliant to UNI EN ISO 9001:2000 and UNI EN ISO:14001:2004 standards. When its technological partner (the original designer of QUASAR / virtual desktop, proficient both in IBM Lotus and in Plone) proposed an integral Plone porting of this peculiar and complex solutions, the Province of Ferrara agreed enthusiastically, and now the porting process is on its way, and will be completed near the end of 2008. Once the project is completed, the Province will evaluate which parts are suitable to be released under GPL license for their diffusion through PloneGov.

Comune di Arezzo

The world noted art city of Arezzo has chosen Plone for its Intranet and for the Informagiovani portal, a showcase of cultural, free time and professional opportunities for the young people. It needs to be accessible and effective, because the kind of people using the portal is much at ease with the new technologies and has high expectations: and this effectiveness is the fruit of a correct design, and of good policies about the kind of contents to be published. The task of content management is accomplished, under the supervision of the City of Arezzo, by two co-ops very capable in catching the current intellectual climate. Good contents and good CMS are expected to be keys to the success for The general purpose Plone

Intranet will grow in time with integrations to the city Information System.