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Natural History Museum in Venice Italy

The Natural History Museum in Santa Croce, Venice Italy: history, opening hours, contacts, fares of tickets and useful information for the visit.

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Museo di Storia Naturale
Natural History Museum in Venice Italy - Fondaco dei Turchi, Santa Croce 1730 - Venice

The Civic Museum of Natural History is housed in the Fontego dei Turchi, which overlooks the right bank of the Grand Canal inside the Santa Croce Sestiere. It houses a collection of The Museum is part of the circuit of the Venetian Civic Museums and also organizes exhibitions during the calendar year.

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The itinerary includes, after the entrance to the ground floor where there is also the scientific library available to scholars who always attend the museum, the passage in the Gallery of Cetaceans where you can admire the skeleton of a sperm whale and that of a whale about 20 meters. Also on the ground floor is the Aquarium of Tegn�e, a 5-meter pool that faithfully reconstructs this typical environment of the Upper Adriatic.

Moving to the first floor, the Museum offers first a rich palaeontological section that illustrates the birth and evolution of life on earth; starting from the first precambrian multicellular organisms, passing from the Cambrian and Ordovician to the Triassic and the appearance of large reptiles on the Earth. On this floor is the room with the exhibits of the African expedition of Ligabue who in 1973 brought back to the lagoon an almost whole skeleton of dinosaur Ouranosaurus nigeriensis. The exhibition continues chronologically until the date of appearance of the Homo Sapiens on the earth and explains the climatic changes that occurred during the geological eras up to the present.

A section of the museum is also dedicated to the history of naturalistic collecting, starting from the formation of the first important collections in the eighteenth century up to the museum and university collections of the twentieth century.

Soon a section entirely dedicated to the lagoon will also appear at the Museum of Natural History of Venice; to make all visitors understand the landscape evolution of the territory on which the city rests and its fragile balance, as a term of passage between sea and mainland.

The collection held by the museum is the result of a constant enlargement by numerous scholars starting from the original nucleus consisting of the collections once at the Correr Museum and at the Veneto Institute of Literature and Arts Sciences; over the years the Contarini collection, the Olivii and the Nardo, the Spinelli and others like the Zanardini, the Giordani Soika entomological collection (1983), the Palazzi collection; for the mushrooms the Cesari collection; finally the Ligabue collection and the Perale ornithological collection. The legacies represented by the De Reali, Miani and Forin collections were important for the African ethnographic part.

The collection of the Museum of Natural History, including all the finds stored in the deposits of the Fontego dei Turchi, comes to count two million specimens.
The original collection, formed by the nucleus comprising the Correr Collection and that of the Istituto Veneto di Arti e Lettere, has been enriched over time through important donations (Olivi, Nardo, Trois, Contarini, Spinelli, Innocente, Nini, Zanardini) decades have included the Giordani Souka collection (1983), Bisacco Palazzi (1986), Cesari, Ligabue, Perale.


There are historical collections of exsiccata of phanerogamous plants, that is collections of sheets that conserve dried plants and which together form an herbarium; among these the Patarol (1717-1719), the Olivi (1750), the Zanardini (1840).
The collection of botany includes collections of algae, mushrooms, lichens, mosses; more historical collections among which stand out the Algario Zanardini (with more than 2,000 specimens) and the Zanon Diatom Collection.


The Geological Collection includes a series of petrographic, mineralogical and paleontological collections. The latter include important historical collections such as that formed with the fossils of the famous Pesciaia of Bolca on the Lessini Mountains which are included in the Massalongo Collection (XVIII century); of the same period is the Spinelli Collection and the Istituto Veneto Collection. Also worth mentioning is the Beschin-De Angeli Collection and the Ligabue Collection, which is composed of fossils collected in different continents of the planet during the expeditions of the well-known paleontologist and archaeologist Giancarlo Ligabue: among the samples one of the stars of the Natural History Museum in Venice: the dinosaur skeleton Ouranosauros nigeriensis exhibited in the museum. So far 15 thousand finds have been counted.

Among the mineralogy collections stand out the Innocente, dating back to the nineteenth century and consisting of 2385 minerals, and the Albonetti Collection, which includes more than 600 samples of minerals from around the globe.

For the rocks it is important the Petrini Pasini Collection, which includes rocks collected in the Vicenza area, and the Marco Corniani Algarotti Collection (1768 - 1845) which includes marble from the Euganean Hills.


With about 28 thousand sampese representing more than 6 thousand species, the Mycological Collection of the museum is the largest in Italy. It was started in 1988 and in 1994 it was recognized by the Index Herbarorium from the New York Botanical Garden. Although the collection is formed with findings from all over the world, it mainly represents the mushrooms that exist in northeastern Italy.

Scientific instruments

The collection includes instruments belonging to famous naturalists such as Giandomenico Nardo (1802 - 1877), an expert on fish from the Adriatic, and Giovanni Zanardini (1804 - 1878) who was an expert in Adriatic seaweed and flora of the region, who was the author of the News around the marine cellars of the lagoons and littoral of Venice (Venice 1847).


Here stands the Lyoi Collection, put together by the Italian naturalist, patriot and politician Paolo Lyoi (1834 - 1911) in the valleys of Fimon from 1864; collects ceramic and stone finds and animal and plant samples.
In the collection of archeology of the Museum of Natural History you can also appreciate an Egyptian moth of falcon and a Venetian pirogue of the eleventh century. A.D.


A collection of collections dating back to the nineteenth century including the Querini Stampalia Collection with human models made of papier-mache and a collection of uteri accompanied by different phases of embryonic development.

Library of the Museum of Natural History

The Museum has a library that has a collection of naturalistic texts of national and international importance. Among the books there are ancient and modern texts, specialized magazines and also documents and papers belonging to the Venetian Naturalists such as Nicol� Contarini, Giovanni Miani, Giovanni Domenico Nardo and Antonio Carlo Dondi Dall'Orologio.
Scholars, professors, researchers and students are the usual visitors but access is allowed to anyone who requests it having the need for study reasons.
The Library does not provide a loan service and allows consultation of texts only in the study room. Photocopies can be made in compliance with the law in force.


The Palace dates back to the 13th century when it was built by Giacomo Palmieri, consul in Venice of the Pesaro municipality in the Marches, and founder in the lagoon of the important Pesaro family. A few years later, in 1381, it was bought by the Serenissima who gave it to the Marquis of Ferrara Nicol� V D'Este to thank him for the support received from the same during the war with Chioggia, the last clash between Genoa and Venice for dominance over the commercial routes of Eastern Mediterranean.

The Palace soon entered the list of places in the city appointed to host worldly events and important festivals on the occasion of visits by sovereigns and ambassadors: here, among others, the emperor of Constantinople Giovanni Paleologo (1438) and Alfonso D'Este (1562) ). After a period in which the palace was part of the papal possessions in the lagoon, in 1527 it returned to the Este family, then fun sold to the Aldobrandini and the Priuli.

It was in the seventeenth century that the Serenissima decided to entrust the building to the Turkish commercial community; from Anatolia, in fact, wax, leather, tobacco and oil arrived in Venice. As for the Fontego dei Tedeschi and others present in the city, this palace on the Grand Canal was destined for the Turkish community and this exercised its commerce for centuries; at least as long as with the Guerra di Candia there was no collapse of the commercial exchanges between Venice and the

Subsequently the Fontego dei Turchi was sold to various Venetian patrician families including the Manin and the Pesaro who had it until the time of the last branch of the family in 1830.

A few decades later the Fontego dei Turchi was the first venue to host the art collection of the Venetian noble Correr (1880) before it found its definitive location in the Napoleonic Wing in Piazza San Marco. It remained so without destination for years until or at the time, on the proposal of the engineer Giorgio Silvio Coen, the Natural History Museum was not organized starting from 1923.

In the last decade the Museum has experienced a prolonged closure to reappear with a renewed and expanded route of 16 rooms to the public of enthusiasts.


The Fontego dei Turchi, known as the Palazzo by the Venetians of today, is unique in the Venetian architectural panorama overlooking the Grand Canal. The restoration carried out in 1869 by Federico Berchet was carried out with the intention of giving back to the building its medieval connotation. For some parts of the building the image on the 16th century map of Venice by Jacopo de 'Barbari was used.

The building has a first order of 10 openings with a round arch topped above by a loggia with 18 round-shaped openings of smaller dimensions. Later the two crenellated towers rise up on three orders with the number of windows rising upwards, thus reconstructed according to vintage prints. The building is externally decorated with paters and tiles of Byzantine taste.

How to reach the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is located in Santa Croce overlooking the Grand Canal. The nearest boat stops are Riva de Biasio or San Stae.
From Piazza San Marco, from Rialto, from the Railway Station and from Piazzale Roma, take line 1 with San Stae or Riva de Biasio boat stop.

Watch the Video by Venice Civic Museums of Natural History Museum

Hours: from November 1st to March 31st from 10.00am to 5.00pm (ticket office from 10.00am to 4.30pm). From 1 April to 31 October from 10.00 to 18.00 (ticket office from 10.00 to 17.30). Closed on Monday, December 25th, January 1st and May 1st.
Tickets: full � 5 euros; reduced � 3.50 (children from 6 to 14 years, students from 15 to 25 years, chaperones of groups of boys or students (up to 2), citizens over 65, staff of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT); Rolling Venice Card holders, FAI members).
Free for residents and born in the City of Venice; children from 0 to 5 years; I.C.O.M. members; handicapped people with a companion; licensed guides and tourist interpreters accompanying groups or individual visitors; for each group of at least 15 people, 1 free entry (only with reservation); ordinary MUVE partners; MUVE Friend Card holders.
Accessibility: completely accessible to the disabled.
Web site: Natural History Museum

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