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Directory of Sapienza Museums

Museum of Comparative Anatomy

The Museum of Comparative Anatomy, which can be traced back to the Sapienza Archiginnasio of 1805, hosts a wide range of vertebrate anatomic and osteological items, along with historical instruments that help us understand the relation between form, function and evolution.

Many of the items on display at the museum appear in a handwritten catalogue, dated ca. 1850, which is preserved in the Italian State Archive. Other museum pieces have an even older origin: they come from the famous collection that Jesuit Atanasio Kircher gathered during the first half of the seventeenth century at the Collegio Romano. Kircher’s collection was split up after the 1870 Capture of Rome. The collection is documented by the Kircher Museum Catalogues, which were handwritten by Bonanni in 1709.

The Museum of Comparative Anatomy showcases the skeletons of many large vertebrate skeletons, including those of a Fin and Sperm Whale. Another section is dedicated to a collection of microscopes and accessories, spanning from the Leeuwenhoek Microscope to modern electronic microscopes.

Museum of Pathological Anatomy

The Pathological Anatomy Museum was founded at the end of the nineteenth century and then re-inaugurated by Antonio Ascenzi. Its collection, which documents a vast range of human diseases, includes anatomical specimens, preserved mostly in formaldehyde, documenting a vast range of human diseases.

Museum of Italo-Etruscan Antiquities

The Museum of Italo-Etruscan Antiquities illustrates culture in pre-Roman Italy, with a particular focus on the Etruscan Culture. Exhibits include original artefacts, moulds, models, sculptures and graphic and photographic panels.

The Museum is organised by didactic criteria and is closely linked to Sapienza’s Etruscology, Italian Archaeology and Italian Epigraphy Programmes. The museum classroom often hosts lessons, seminars, conferences and conventions.

The Museum is currently directed by Professor M. Paola Baglione.

Museum of Anthropology

The Museum of Anthropology was founded by Giuseppe Sergi in 1884 and houses thousands of anthropological and palaeo-anthropological exhibits on the natural history of the human species and that of other primates. In particular, the Museum conserves two Neanderthal skeletons found in Saccopastore (Rome).

The Museum has a dedicated audio-visuals room and holds educational tours twice a day.

The Museum is currently directed by Professor Giorgio Manzi.

Museum of Classical Art

The Museum of Classical Art was founded in 1892 by Emanuel Löwy. Löwy set out to create a collection of plaster moulds from Greek sculptures (both originals and Roman copies) based on the model of the German gipsotheke.

Today, the Museum of Classical Art collection includes more than 1200 pieces.

Contemporary Art Museum Workshop

The Museum of Contemporary Art, which was founded in 1985, addresses both research and education via a wide range of workshop activities aiming to promote historic-critical research, higher education and artistic production.

Museum of Mineral Arts and Deposits

The Museum of Mineral Arts and Deposits was founded in 1984 with a collection of Italian ornamental rocks and minerals donated by the Assomarmi Association. Over the years, the collection has been enriched and now showcases over 150 items from regions throughout Italy that are divided into two collections: mineral arts and mineralised rock.

The Museum also displays photographic, cartographic and explanatory panels describing extraction techniques, quarries, stratigraphy and much more.

Museum of Chemistry

The Museum of Chemistry preserves and exhibits historical scientific equipment, tools for measuring radioactivity and educational instruments, as well as a collection of chemicals and documents that once belonged to Stanislao Cannizzaro (1872).


The Herbarium, which hosts over one million specimens of plants and herbs, ranks among the major Italian and European herbaria. The Museum, which was founded in 1872, includes both historical and contemporary collections.

The Sapienza Herbarium is hosted in the Department of Plant Biology on the Sapienza main campus and includes a consultation room with multimedia workstations.

Museum of Physics

The Museum of Physics preserves the tools that were used for teaching and research from the late 18th century through the 1960s, among its gems is the mechanical calculator used by Noble Prize winner and Sapienza Professor Enrico Fermi.

Museum of Geology

The Museum of Geology was founded in 1873 by Giuseppe Ponzi, who united his personal collections with a series of artefacts from the Kircher Museum Collection.

The Museum also hosts a collection of ancient marbles, as well as a vast array of educational material.

Museum of Hydraulics

Created in the 1930s, the Museum of Hydraulics hosts a range of interesting instruments, including tools that were used for measuring water velocity (both in the laboratory and on the field), tools for water level and pressure measurement, carpentry and mechanical tools used for the construction of hydraulic models, electrical and electronic instruments used with hydraulic equipment and video and photo cameras used to film water flow. 

The Museum originates in the historical tradition of the Roman Hydraulic School established by Pope Pius VII in 1817.

Museum of Commodities

The Museum of Commodities dates back to the work of Vittorio Villavecchia (1859-1937), who considered the collection of sample goods, natural products and tools to be a natural consequence of the progress of industry and commerce.

Museum of Mineralogy

Established in 1804, the Museum of Mineralogy is the oldest museum at Sapienza University. The Museum Collection preserves and hosts a collection of over 34,000 mineral specimens, including special collections of minerals from the Lazio Region, meteorites, single crystals, natural and synthetic gems and the famous Dactylioteca (388 rings donated by Pope Leo XII). Since 2009, the museum also houses a collection of giant crystals donated by Commendatore Primo Rovis.

Museum of Human Origins

The Museum of Human Origins preserves prehistoric material ranging from the Italian lower Palaeolithic to the beginning of the Iron Age. The artefacts mainly come from the Rellini Collection, the founder of the Museum, and archaeological excavations conducted in central and southern Italy.

The Museum hosts a number of important casts, including skulls illustrating human evolution from the Australopithecines to Homo, Paleolithic "Venus" statuettes and bone tools. 

The Museum includes a series of laboratories where artefacts are restored, studied and catalogued and can be viewed upon request. In particular, the archaeometric laboratory is equipped with microscopes and photographic systems and allows researchers to conduct advanced analysis of stone, bone and ceramic tool to understand their functions and technology. 

Botanical Garden

The Sapienza Botanical Gardens, which currently cover an area of about 120,000 square meters, include various collections of valuable plant species, both in greenhouses and outdoors, as well as monumental trees. Moreover, the Botanical Gardens host specific events dedicated to nature and plants throughout the year.

Museum of Palaeontology

The Palaeontology Museum was officially founded in 1928, but several collections can be traced back to the Royal University Museum of Geology (1864). Today, the museum includes both the geology and palaeontology collections with over 100’000 fossils.

History of Medicine Museum

The History of Medicine Museum, which holds a rich collection of objects of historical interest, was founded in 1938 by Adalberto Pazzini. It hosts many original artefacts that allow us to reconstruct the evolution of medical knowledge since prehistoric times.

Middle East, Egypt and Mediterranean Museum

Founded in 1962, in order to preserve the finds from excavations in the Middle East, the Middle East, Egypt and Mediterranean Museum has been enriched with collections of great scientific and educational import. It stands as a witness to more than thirty archaeological missions organised by Sapienza University in fifteen different countries in the Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa over more than fifty years.

The main purpose of the Museum is to divulge the scientific results of archaeological research, provide students with a valuable training laboratory and promote the archaeological accomplishments that have made Sapienza one of the major centres for global archaeology.

The Museum recounts the varied evolution of Mediterranean civilizations, revealing the roots of urbanisation, the invention of writing and of the alphabet and the creation of the oldest cultural institutions of human religion, power, economy, history, art and literature.

Zoology Museum

The Zoology Museum dates back to the early 19th century and includes the zoological collections of the Pontifical Archiginnasio. The Museum of Zoology hosts beautiful and rare insect collections.