The Life Project “Monitoring of insects with public participation” (LIFE11 NAT/IT/000252) had as the main objective to develop and test methods for the monitoring of five beetle species listed in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC): Osmoderma eremita (hermit beetle, Scarabaeidae), Lucanus cervus (European stag beetle, Lucanidae), Cerambyx cerdo (great capricorn beetle, Cerambycidae), Rosalia alpina (rosalia longicorn, Cerambycidae) and Morimus asper/funereus (morimus longicorn, Cerambycidae). The data gathered represent an important contribution to the monitoring of these target species in Italy. The methods developed for monitoring of the target species are intended for use by the local management authorities and staff of protected areas. These developed methods are the result of extensive fieldwork and ensure scientific validity, ease of execution and limited labour costs. The detailed description of methods and the results for each species are published in separate articles of this special issue of Nature Conservation. A second objective of the project was to gather faunistic data with a Citizen Science approach, using the web and a mobile application software (app) specifically built for mobile devices. The validation of the records collected by the citizens was carried out by experts, based on photographs, which were obligatory for all records. Dissemination activities represented the principal way to contact and engage citizens for the data collection and also offered the possibility of providing information on topics such as Natura 2000, the Habitats Directive, the role of monitoring in nature conservation, the importance of forest ecosystems and the ecological role of the saproxylic insects. An innovative method tested during the project was the training of a dog for searching and monitoring the elusive hermit beetle; the trained dog also added a “curiosity” factor to attract public attention towards this rare insect and the issues mentioned above.