In Terram Australis

Eight years of Mario Zucchelli's life, eight key years that intersect with the steps of nuclear energy development and the epic years of scientific research in Antarctica.

After an education in nuclear engineering during the years of the Italian economic boom (1963), Mario Zucchelli, son of sharecroppers from the low Po Valley (1959), with enthusiasm and determination directed the construction of the Brasimone Centre, a nuclear power plant in Emilia-Romagna, between the 1970s and 1980s.

When nuclear power was abolished in Italy in 1987, Mario took over as Director of the National Programme for Research in Antarctica.

With the same passion, for 17 years he was the driving force behind the development and  realisation of numerous international scientific cooperations. 

These include EPICA (1993) for the drilling of the polar ice core, one of the most iconic studies of past climate; CAPE ROBERTS (1997) a project about the drilling of marine sediments for the reconstruction of continental shifts.

Mario was one of the major promoters of the Italy-France agreement to build the CONCORDIA permanent base on the Antarctic plateau, which he didn’t see finished due to his death in 2003. 

With his broad vision, genuine exuberance and deep expertise Mario is internationally known and recognised as one of the best Antarctic managers and one of the major contributors to the studies on the Antarctic environment and global climate change.



Production Companies



a MANUFACTORY documentary

with the Patronage:

CSNA - Commissione Scientifica Nazionale per l’Antartide

OGS - Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale

Comune di Crevalcore


Executive Producer Giacomo R. Bartocci

Directed by Lamberto Mongiorgi



Production status