Today 'La Specola' hosts only the Zoology Section of the Museum of Natural History, including the collection of anatomical wax models. It also contains the beautiful Galileo Tribune, in neoclassic style and inaugurated in 1841 during the Third Meeting of Italian Scientists, and the Hall of Skeletons, a large, impressive hall in which the osteology collections are conserved and displayed.

The second floor of La Specola contains the zoology exhibition and that of the anatomical wax models, which are open to the public. The various floors of the building also house the scientific study collections, consisting of millions of specimens collected in over two centuries of the Museum’s history. Thanks to its enlightened directors, such as Vincenzo Antinori (1792-1865), Adolfo Targioni Tozzetti (1823-1902) and Enrico Hillyer Giglioli (1845-1909), the Museum has always been one of the most important Italian references for zoological research. Its extremely valuable collections have resulted from study campaigns and research expeditions in Italy and throughout the world (particularly those carried out in East Africa in recent decades), as well as from donations and purchases. The Italian Entomological Society was also founded within La Specola in 1869 thanks to the efforts of Targioni Tozzetti, although it is presently based in Genoa.

Each year, dozens of Italian and foreign scholars come to conduct their research on the Museum’s collections, while thousands of specimens are loaned for studies by specialists in every country in the world. Thousands of type specimens of new species are included in the collections and the number is growing every year. La Specola also conserves very rare specimens of extinct animals, such as the thylacine from Tasmania.

Zoological collections database (Italian)

Heads of collections:

Vertebrate collections:
Paolo Agnelli | Mammals
Annamaria Nistri | Amphibians, Reptiles
Annamaria Nocita | Fish
Fausto Barbagli | Birds

Invertebrate collections:
Gianna Innocenti | Crustaceans, Echinoderms
Simone Cianfanelli | Annelids, Platyhelminths, Nemathelminths, Ketognaths, Sipunculids, Molluscs, Tunicates
Cecilia Volpi | Poriferous, Cnidarians, Marine Molluscs

Info to plan your visit to the 'La Specola' Museum

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