Civic Museum of Natural History Giacomo Doria – Genoa, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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Genoa, Italy

Civic Museum of Natural History Giacomo Doria

Genoa's collection of over 4 million zoological, botanical, and geological specimens from around the world.  

Walking through this natural history museum’s 23 rooms, which house over 4 million zoological, botanical, and geological specimens from all over the world, you may recognize a familiar name. There’s Doria’s tree kangaroo, Doria’s cave beetle, and Doria’s slug, and many other species that bear the name of the prolific naturalist who founded the museum, Marquis Giacomo Doria.

An avid entomologist and herpetologist, Giacomo Doria spent the early 1860s collecting samples of various plants, insects, and animals in Persia, the Red Sea, and Tunisia. He was an influential figure in Genoa, and in 1867 the Genoa City Council unanimously approved his proposal to fund a Civic Museum of Natural History (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale), which also bears his name. Giacomo Doria served as its director until his death in 1913.

The museum’s specialized books on animals and insects represent the largest Italian library on the subjects, and the collection of insects and fauna is overwhelming. The collection is so massive it had to be moved to a specially designed building in 1912. 

Though the exhibits in the museum are not translated from Italian, the experience is an educational and charming one even if you don’t speak the language. Among the more modern items are antique taxidermic animals, and speakers pump out recordings of the sounds of birds and tigers.

Know Before You Go

The museum is about a 15-minute walk from the Piazza De Ferrari. Entry tickets are very affordable.