YAPC Europe Foundation - YAPC::Europe Proposal: Pisa
YAPC::Europe 2010 in Pisa - the Renaissance of Perl
Perl.it, the national organization for Perl in Italy, proposes to
organize "YAPC::Europe 2010" in Pisa, Italy.
Perl.it has existed since 2002 and fulfills several roles for the
Italian Perl community:
* an umbrella organization for mongers groups throughout Italy
(NorthEast, Rome, and Pisa being the longest running groups)
* organizer for events (Perl Workshops in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008. We
also helped to organize the Italian Code Jam 2004 in Ferrara, where
we secured Larry Wall, Randal Schwartz and Dave Cross as guest
* the focal point on the internet for Italian *perlisti*. We provide
articles, documentation (including the Pod2it project), blogs,
mailing lists, and an IRC channel.
Since its inception around the year 2000, the Italian Perl Community has
spawned several Perl mongers groups. It also led to the creation of
Perl.it: originally just a web site, it has now become the main Italian
Perl-related group, and it is capable of signing bills and taking
payments through its supporter companies. Work is underway for the
association to become a financially independent entity, this should be
complete by 2009.
Perl.It, especially thanks to Pisa.pm, has organized four national Perl
workshops. With around 120 participants, the 2008 Italian Perl Workshop
(IPW) featured two tracks for two full days. It made a profit of ~1500
€, even after the costs of inviting guest speakers: Tim Bunce, Matt S.
Trout, Marcus Ramberg and Rafaël Garcia Suarez.
Some testimonials from the last workshop are available here:
We particularly like Tim Bunce's comment: "In fact calling it a
'workshop' is selling it short. It's more of a mini-conference."
The complete IPW 2008 story is available here:
Preparations for our bigger and better 2009 IPW (October) are ongoing in
parallel to our YAPC bid. We can already boast Tim Bunce, Jonathan
Worthington, Thomas Fuchs (script.aculo.us author, Prototype and Ruby on
Rails core developer) and Amy Hoy (usability, product design) as invited
speakers, and are waiting for more confirmations shortly.
We definitely have the experience required to host a YAPC!
The following Perl.it members have volunteered to help organize the
* Michele Beltrame (lordarthas)
* Emiliano Bruni (emi)
* Aldo Calpini (dada)
* Hakim Cassimally (osfameron)
* Gianni Ceccarelli (dakkar)
* Giuseppe D'Angelo (peppe)
* Francesco Nidito (nids)
* Stefano Rodighiero (larsen)
* Michel Rodriguez (mirod)
* Enrico Sorcinelli (bepi)
About 50% of the organizers are local to Pisa. 50% are spread across
Italy, Austria, Spain, UK. Between us, we have the local and
international contacts to make this happen.
The ideal venue we propose to use is Pisa's Palazzo dei Congressi, an
excellent conference centre with very good facilities. Sadly the venue
itself is not free, making it our biggest cost. Our previous hosted
spaces for the Italian Perl Workshops, sponsored by Università di Pisa
and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), might also scale to a
YAPC, so we're still working with the managers of those locations to see
if they could be a viable solution (see "Alternative Venue" below).
The venue provides three main conference rooms: a 500-seat auditorium
and two 250-seat rooms, making it possible to have a three-track
conference, while also being able to run collective events (keynotes,
auction, etc.) in the main auditorium. The three rooms are actually
divided from a 1000-seat space (with professional sound-proof
partitions). An advantage of this setup is that it will be quick and
easy for conference attendees to move between rooms.
Each room is completely self-sufficient and equipped with a VGA
projector and microphones for both speakers and audience.
The Palazzo dei Congressi also provides a large gallery for coffee
breaks, several spaces to hang out with Perl hackers, and a couple of
additional small rooms (~15 seats) for hackathons / BOF sessions / etc.
The Palazzo dei Congressi is a fully-fledged modern venue. It has
complete Wi-Fi coverage, projectors, audio system, and disabled access
throughout the whole building. A reception service and a cloakroom
service will be available during the conference.
If the budget allows, we plan to provide full audio/video recordings of
the scheduled talks and events through professional equipment available
Standard Italian electric plugs (220V) are available everywhere
throughout the facility.
For each day we will provide two coffee breaks (morning and afternoon).
The venue has dedicated space for organizing catering just next to the
conference rooms. Since the venue is close to town, it is possible to
eat in Pisa centre; we are also looking into having a local bakery sell
sandwiches and light snacks on site.
In addition to the two daily scheduled coffee breaks, a cafeteria is
available during the conference.
Pisa's Palazzo dei Congressi is only 15 minutes away from the town on
foot (5 by bus). It's very easy to reach by public transport, car or
Here's a map from the Ponte di Mezzo (in the town centre) to the venue:
Images of the Palazzo dei Congressi are available at
Because of the relative expense of the Palazzo dei Congressi, we are
also looking at alternative venues. These should of course still be of a
high standard, but come in at a lower cost, to help ensure that the
conference remains profitable, and/or leaves more money to be used to
funnel into the conference (expenses for additional guest speakers, AV
facilities, catering etc.)
The main alternative we're currently looking into is the "Research Area"
of the National Research Council (CNR), where the Italian Perl Workshop
2009 will be held. The CNR is an attractive space with excellent
facilities. In addition, it is likely that we would be able to secure it
cheaply (they are hosting us for IPW 2009 entirely free of charge). The
main disadvantage is the size of the rooms (338 for the auditorium, 2
smaller rooms with a capacity of 80) which would make it impractical for
a relatively well attended YAPC: we could, however, put an attendance
limit to the conference and place the most popular talks in the
auditorium, which should be a viable solution.
This venue would likely be free or at an affordable cost.
The Research Centre is about a 15 minutes walk away from the town on
foot and, like the main venue, it is easily reachable by public
transport, car or bike.
Here's a map from the Ponte di Mezzo (in the town centre) to the
Some images of the CNR Research Centre are available at
The conference will take place in August or early September, as is
traditional for "YAPC::EU".
The conference theme is *the Renaissance of Perl*. This topic pays
homage to Italy's role as the cradle of the Renaissance, and
acknowledges how Perl is far from a dead legacy language, but is
constantly being reborn with, for example, the parallel initiatives of
Perl 6, and the Modern Perl 5 movement.
We will use Act, including its built-in Wiki, and a homepage collating
Flickr/etc. tags for the conference website. We have successfully used
this setup for previous IPW events.
As part of our commitment to smooth running of the conference, and a
comfortable experience for our speakers, we provide the usual services
throughout the conference:
* Setup for microphone, video projector, USB presenter wand
* Mineral water
* Timekeeping, with regular feedback
In addition, at previous workshops, we've been able to offer a much more
personal service, including personal assistance with travel,
translation, and other requirements throughout their stay.
We plan to have a desk staffed at all times by organizers/volunteers,
and professional reception staff.
Training and Advanced Courses
The venue is available to host additional Perl-related courses before
and after the conference. We plan to charge these courses separately, in
order to help internationally recognized trainers cover their expenses
(travel, accommodation) while also providing cheap grassroots-priced
training opportunities for our attendees.
We would be interested in hosting hackathons and workshops for
interesting and important Perl projects. Rooms are available, and we
would issue a call for proposals in due course. Possible topics include
Perl 6, the Enlightened Perl Organization, Moose, Catalyst,
Devel::Declare, GUI, Perlmonks, a new search.cpan.org ...
* Company recruitment sessions
* Local and national (RAI 3) television reporting
* Printed/online and online survey for attendees
* Evening events (live music jams, pub crawls, ...)
All amounts, unless otherwise specified, are Italian VAT tax (20%)
These are some of the scenarios we are modeling. Please note that we are
NOT including sponsors in calculations: the negative balance for each
scenario indicates the minimum amount of sponsorship we would be looking
Scenario Attendees Total Venue Attendee Balance
A 200 16500 11000 15600 -17100
B 250 20625 11000 18600 -15975
C 300 24750 11000 21600 -14850
CNR (Max 300 places)
D 200 16500 2000 15600 -8100
E 240 19800 2000 18000 -7200
We are assuming:
* a ticket price of 110 € (including VAT), and that 40% of the
attendees will take advantage of a 25% "early bird" discount.
* about 60 people between speakers, guests, staff and so on, that do
not pay for the conference ticket; they're NOT included in the
"Attendees" column in the sample budget, but of course they're
accounted in the "cost" columns.
* about 60 € per attendee for coffee breaks, social dinner, badge,
* about 7000 € for guests, printing, etc.
Depending on the level of sponsorship, we could also consider more
expensive scenarios: for example, including high-quality lunches and
coffee breaks (for 113 € per attendee, including other expenses -
conference swag, social dinner, etc.). This sample budget even includes
professional audio/video recordings (we assume a slightly higher ticket
fee of 125 €, including VAT, to partly offset this, with 40% "early
Scenario Attendees Total Venue Attendee Balance
LUXURY 200 18750 14000 29380 -31630
Here are some budget details.
We plan to charge 110 € (including VAT), with speakers fee waived, an
"early bird" discount of about 80 € (including VAT), and an optional
corporate tariff (for companies who wish to support the conference
without officially sponsoring).
We plan to take advantage of YEF's credit card processing facility. In
addition, we will accept bank transactions, as we have done for previous
We have a very healthy network of sponsors in Italy and Europe, built up
over the last 5 years. Our sponsors 2004-2009 have included Dada
(Italy's biggest Perl employer), O'Reilly Media, Opera Software, Wind
(2nd Italian telco), Canonical Ltd., Booking.com, ActiveState, Apress,
pair Networks, No Starch Press, The Pragmatic Programmers, Packt
Publishing, Seeweb, Linux&C. (major Italian Linux magazine), Nestoria,
Geoesse and the Comune di Pisa. (Phew!)
More information about our sponsors, and what we've been able to achieve
with their help:
* IPW 2008 sponsors
* IPW 2009 sponsors
Of course, we are continuing to build on this for the workshop in 2009,
and intend to supplement it with regular and new international sponsors
for the "YAPC::EU 2010" event!
We are delighted to have already secured the support of Shadowcat (UK)
as an early sponsor for our YAPC organization. They have promised £2000
towards inviting "special guest" speakers, as well as organizational
support with workshops/tutorials in Enlightened^WRenaissance Perl.
As per all past YAPCs, we will hold a closing auction of books, gadgets,
and other swag donated by sponsors and community members. Due to the
unpredictable takings from the auction, we are not planning to include
it in budget calculations, but rather to use it entirely to augment
* General rent: 7315 €
* Cleaning: 1695 €
* VGA projectors rent: 1734 €
* Professional audio/video recordings (optional, if budget allows):
* Printing (posters, banners, etc.): 1500 €
* Reception service: 750 €
* USB presenter wands: 150 €
As mentioned above, we may be able to secure an alternative venue more
cheaply, (cost to be determined).
* Coffee breaks: 20-33 € (depending on the venue)
* Name-badges, t-shirts, conference swag, etc.: basic cost, less than
10 € per person
* Attendees Dinner: 20-25 €
* Certificate of attendance. We hope to provide these, printed on
attractive craft paper, as we have for the Italian Perl Workshop.
We hope to be able to invite guest speakers, as we've been able to do
successfully for IPW 2008 and we're doing for IPW 2009. As agreed with
Shadowcat, the bulk of their promised £2000 sponsorship will be for the
explicit purpose of securing some "special guest" speakers.
We plan to spend about 4000 € on guest speakers (including their travel
expenses, accommodation, etc.).
Pisa and Tuscany
Pisa itself is a major university town, best known for its *Piazza dei
Miracoli* (the "Piazza of Miracles") housing the famous Leaning Tower
and the Duomo, as well as other Renaissance treasures.
It is also a transport hub for central Italy, with excellent links to
the cultural, culinary, and natural delights of Tuscany and beyond.
As a tourist and student centre, Pisa offers plenty of accommodation in
all possible ranges. The city centre offers several mid-range and
top-end hotels, as well as hostels. Just a few minutes walk outside,
other options include delightful B&Bs.
3-star hotels and B&Bs range from 65 € to 90 € depending on the room,
while 4-star hotels range from 90 € to 110 €. Hostels typically start at
25 € up to 45 €.
We would of course work with several hotels, as we do every year for the
Italian Perl Workshop, to secure discounted rates. All relevant
information will be published on the conference web site.
Food and Beer
Tuscan cuisine is simple yet tasty, with its base in traditional peasant
food: quality ingredients, bread, cheeses, fresh seasonal vegetables,
mushrooms and fruit are combined with olive oil for a number of tasty
dishes. Italy in general is great for Vegetarians, with many pizza and
pasta classics: delights from Tuscan cuisine also include the
"ribollita" bean & cabbage stew. Carnivores are also well catered for
with various local prosciutto hams, and the famous Chianina t-bone
steaks, the speciality of nearby Florence.
While Pisa is a year-round tourist destination, it's also a business hub
and a university town, so it has many restaurants to suit all tastes and
budgets (classic Tuscan regional cuisine, simple pizzerias, and Syrian,
Indian, Chinese, etc.)
It also has many bars and pubs. While it's for Chianti wine that Tuscany
is most famous, there are also some excellent beers, for example those
of the excellent microbrewery Orzo Bruno in the town centre.
Museums and attractions
As well as the leaning tower itself, there are many great attractions
such as the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, which collects many of the
religious artworks accumulated by the Cathedral throughout the ages.
The more scientifically minded on the other hand might like to explore
the Museum of Human Anatomy,
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pisa#Main_sights
Sea and Spa, Hills and Olive Groves
Pisa's Tyrrhenian coast is easily reachable by local train/bus has many
pleasant beaches suitable for the whole family.
Alternatively there are many "terme", natural hot springs which have
become spas with health and beauty treatments available.
The Tuscan countryside is famous for its rolling hills and olive groves,
and many routes are accessible to the casual walker, or a short car
journey. The more adventurous might want to go on to explore the Maremma
with its vast nature reserves clawed back from medieval marshland, or
the enchanted forests of the Garfagnana in the very North of Toscana.
Friends and Family Program
Inspired by YAPC::2009 Lisbon's Partner Program, we plan to offer a
similar scheme, to allow Perl programmers who travel with partners,
children, or friends, to best enjoy the delights of Pisa and Tuscany.
Working with local travel agencies, we plan to offer an inclusive
package, with hotel accommodation, professional guides, and private
coach transport between Pisa, Florence, and Siena. This scheme will
require advance booking (to be confirmed).
In addition, we will provide a low-cost grassroots option, priced at
less than 100 € per person for 2-3 days, including one day in Pisa
itself, and one day at a nearby town, or country/seaside resort: details
to be confirmed.
The weekend after YAPC, we intend to visit nearby Florence, circa 1 hour
away by train. The itinerary might include:
* the secret Vasarian Corridor that runs over the Ponte Vecchio
bridge: a hidden gallery of artists' self-portraits, viewable only
by special request
* opportunity to see other famous sights (the Uffizi, Michelangelo's
* the famous *bistecca alla fiorentina* steak and chianti
* icecream in the Duomo square
The cost of this day trip is likely to be 50-60 €.
Pisa "Galileo Galilei" airport (PSA) is served by many international
airlines, including several European "budget" carriers. The airport is
near the centre, and is served by a short train journey, or frequent
local buses, to Pisa Centrale station.
Pisa Airport is well connected with many European cities, often with a
choice of traditional and low cost airlines. For example, there are
great connections with the past hosts of "YAPC::EU":
* London Various low-cost/traditional from LHR/GTW/LTN etc.
* Amsterdam Transavia from AMS
* Munich Air Dolomiti/Lufthansa from MUC
* Paris Easyjet from ORY, Alitalia from CDG
* Belfast jet2 from BFS
* Braga Ryanair from OPO
* Birmingham Ryanair from BHX
* Vienna Ryanair from BTS (~1hr train/coach)
* Copenhagen Transavia/Norwegian from CPH
* Lisbon Lufthansa LIS-FRA-PSA
That's a direct flight from all but one city (sorry Lisbon!) Some cities
might have more convenient routings via Florence (circa 1h15 by
In addition, Pisa Centrale station is a rail hub with connections to
Paris and many Italian cities, while nearby Florence has direct routes
to Vienna and Geneva.
We are an experienced, enthuastic, and highly motivated group, with an
excellent track record of organizing successful and financially viable
workshops. We have a great conference venue, and boast a location which
is convenient, an ideal destination in its own right, and a fantastic
springboard for a continued vacation.
In short, we look forward to the possibility of making YAPC::EU 2010 the