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Small is great: the smaller museums in Palermo

Not only large collections but also small museums make up the cultural heritage of Palermo. Precious realities that present rare and beautiful things to the public. Here are some.

Le Stanze al Genio

An original private museum stemming from Pio Mellina’s passion for collecting. The core of the exhibition is the collection of thousands of majolica from different ages. One room after another one can admire the colorful treasures that make up the richest collection of this kind in the world. The pieces, just under five thousand, cover the walls, the floors, some pieces of furniture, for a really amazing glimpse. Also there are old cans and ink bowls, vintage toys, advertising labels and stationery.
Via Garibaldi 11, visits by reservation (tel. 340 0971561)

A journey through technology

The Museum of Motors and Mechanisms, which a part of the Museum System of the University of Palermo, houses an important collection of engines, mechanisms, industrial, scientific and didactic equipment, the result of acquisitions of the faculty of engineering since the times when it was called the Royal School of Application for Engineers (second half of the nineteenth century). For a long time these objects have been modern and innovative supports for research and teaching. Today new technologies has overcome them, still they remain a valuable asset that describes the evolution of science and technology in the field of machines over more than one century.
The Museum is headquartered in the Department of Chemical, Managerial, Computer and Mechanics Engineering.
Viale delle Scienze, ed. 8 visits by reservation (tel. 091 23897261 or FB page Museo Storico dei Motori e dei Meccanismi

Nature in a showcase

The “Pietro Doderlein” Zoological Museum is also part of the University of Palermo, and it was made with eighteenth-century collections as well, although in a totally different context. The collections, consisting of thousands of specimens, are an inexhaustible source of knowledge and information about the wildlife and natural habitats of the past. Among the curiosities, note that the museum has one of the largest fish collections in Europe: about 1,200 fish specimens that, thanks to a special (and still secret) treatment of taxidermy, have kept intact their physical and aesthetic characteristics, showing great realism.
Via Archirafi 16, visits from Monday to Friday 9-13, Saturday 10-17

The plaster works of the masters of Sicilian sculpture

The Gipsoteca Comunale is housed in a 19th century building just a few steps from Palermo’s main square. Here are works and sketches made in the period from the second half of the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, almost exclusively by Sicilian artists such as Mario Rutelli, Benedetto Civiletti and Ettore Ximenes. There are about seventy celebratory, commemorative or religious works of art.
During the visit, take a look also at the beautiful rooms of the building, once a private residence, decorated with frescoes with Pompeian, mythological, archaeological and naturalistic motifs.
Via Dante Alighieri 53, visits from Tuesday to Sunday 9.30 – 19.30

The Risorgimento and the Unity of Italy

The Risorgimento Museum is housed in the former convent of the Dominican Fathers, next to the great church of San Domenico, the Sicilian Pantheon. Opened in 1918, it houses a precious collection of vintage weapons (including Garibaldi’s art swords), garibaldine and National Guard uniforms, marble and bronze busts, clandestine prints, newspaper articles and much more. Among the curiosities we find the flag flying over the Lombardo during the trip of the Mille from Quarto to Marsala. An entire room is dedicated to Francesco Crispi, with his parliamentary bench, his desk, photographs etc. All objects that tell the epic of the Risorgimento and the early years of the Kingdom of Italy.
Piazza San Domenico, visits from Monday to Friday 9 – 13

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