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7 of Italy’s Most Unusual Museums

Museums offer visitors the chance to learn about things they've never learned before, even if they are unusal topics.

All across Italy, tourists can find museums for just about any interest they might have. From art to automobiles, there is something for everyone. But what about those niche museums? The ones you’ve never heard of but probably wouldn’t regret visiting. Here is a list of 10 of Italy’s weirdest museums. 

1. Torture Museum 

The Iron Maiden

Located in Siena, The Museo Della Tortura is dedicated to the history of various medieval torture devices and techniques. They feature well-known devices, such as the guillotine and the rack, along with other tools people have never heard of. Overall, the collection has about 100 instruments of torture on display. The museum in Siena is not the only one. Sister museums can be found in San Gimignano, Volterra, Lucca, and Montepulciano.

 

2. Vespa Museum

Vespa Display

The Vespa Museum, aka the Piaggio Museum, was established to preserve the legacy of Italy’s oldest transportation company. The museum was built in Rome in 2000 and is housed in the tooling department of the company’s old factory. Visitors will be able to see over 250 pieces, including Vespas, Piaggio’s four-wheel collection, and pieces from the company’s racing history. The museum receives about 600,000 people annually and won Best Museum and Best Business Archive in Italy in 2003. 

3. Slingshot Museum

Wooden Slingshot

Eager tourists can find the Slingshot Museum in the Italian city of Albenga. This museum is not only to celebrate the curator’s extensive collection but also to acknowledge “those, who in life, have pulled metaphorical slings in favor of the weak and marginalized, those who fight against abuses and hypocrisy.” Every year, the museum awards a slingshot to a person who has demonstrated those ideals. 

4. Museum of Prosciutto di Parma

Front Entry

When it comes to food, Italians don’t mess around. So it’s no surprise there would be an entire museum dedicated to it. Well, the museum isn’t dedicated to all Italian food, just prosciutto. Visitors will explore the history of the food, going back to the Romans, and how butchery techniques have been perfected over time. At the end of the tour, when everyone’s stomachs are growling, the museum treats guests to a prosciutto tasting. 

5. The Pinball Museum 

Pinball Machines

Located in Bologna, The Pinball Museum, Spazio Tilt, was established by arcade game lover Fredrico Croci. His collection is located in an old factory where visitors will find 40 different pinball games, from 1830 to 2004, on display. There are also games like mini-bowling and the first coin-operated video game. The best part is anyone can play the games, free of charge.  

6. Bora Museum

The Effects of The Bora

In the coastal town of Trieste, there is a cold wind, known as the bora, that descends on the area every year. The museum’s website says they want this place, “To encourage the circulation and exchange of ideas.” Visitors will learn about the science behind the wind’s formation and the natural phenomena the wind creates. They will also be to see books that mentioned Trieste’s wind and have an opportunity to craft a pinwheel as a keepsake. 

7. Museum of the Souls in Purgatory

Sacred Heart Church of the Intercession

This museum not only has an interesting premise but an incredible backstory. Some years ago, a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary caught fire, and many people claimed to have seen a man’s face in the flames. Local priest, Father Jouet, believed it was a message from the souls in purgatory and built a church to pay tribute to those individuals. The museum can be found about ten minutes from the Vatican in a small room inside the Sacred Heart Church of the Intercession. Visitors will see sacred items such as a book belonging to a woman who’s deceased mother came to her and asked for two masses in her honor. Afterward, the mother’s handprint appeared in the book. 

 

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