With the tag line “Antique Scientific Instruments and Old Oddities” Nautilus, an amazing little shop in Turin, Italy, feels more like an 18th century wunderkammer than a modern-day shop.
Walrus tusks and German botanical models vie for space with Phrenological collections of skulls and trepanning forceps. Dividing their collection between Medicalia, Artificialia, and Naturalia as the curio cabinets of old once did, the owners are clearly as interested in collecting and preserving as they are selling.
The store, which is open by appointment only, features some incredible specimens, including everything from preserved deformed fetuses to sideshow gaffs to antique medical anatomical models. Nautilus also has some serious fans including writer David Sederis. In his words:
“The greatest shop in the world is… called Nautilus… It’s incredible. They had actual medical photos—old, sepia medical photos. They had these things that came from a dermatological museum in Dresden that were beautiful, wax models of flesh on the tongue and a blood infection. They were beautiful, wax, life-like sized models in boxes with glass fronts with the German writing in the background. It was all for sale: a Siamese twin skeleton, they had medical Jesus, Jesus’ head in a box—it was more about what going on medically with his wounds. I got a taxidermy mole, an old one with beautiful writing on the mount.”
We couldn’t agree more.