Housed in the Fontego dei Turchi on the Grand Canal, the Museum of Natural History welcomes the entering visitor with its small but evocative garden, open to everyone.

The Museum ensures the preservation and continuous increase of its scientific collections.

The scientific staff carries out research on a regular basis both in the natural environment and the lab, especially in the fields of biology and ecology of the Venice lagoon and the Veneto region.

The scientific library of the Museum contains a wealth of ancient and modern books, national and international journals, documents and correspondence of famous naturalists from the Venetian territory.

The Museum carries out science education activities addressed to both school classes and the general public.

On the tracks of life
Dedicated to fossils and palaeontology, this section extends along four rooms, following the ‘tracks’ of fossils in order to understand the origin and evolution of life on Earth, from the appearance of early single-cell organisms to that of Homo sapiens, ‘just’ 200,000 years ago.

The Museum’s first room, gateway to the palaeontology section with a striking theatrical effect, is dedicated to the expedition organized in the 1973 by Giancarlo Ligabue to the Ténéré desert.

Works of the devil or creations of gods? Tricks of nature or the remains of dragons and giants? Fossils have always aroused curiosity and alarm in man, nourishing myths and legends.

The paleontological section continues with the story of the evolution of life on the planet, unfolding significant examples of organisms and environments from the various geological periods.

Many fossil traces, left by organisms along the history of life, accompany the visitor on this amazing journey.

Collecting to astonish, collecting for research
This section, dedicated to past and present explorers and scholars, recounts the evolution of collecting and the rise of scientific museology. The exhibit ranges from collections organized mainly through aesthetic principles to those reflecting an authentic scientific classification, focusing especially to the history and formation of the Museum’s own collections.

GIOVANNI MIANI (1810-1872). Venetian by adoption, musicologist, poet, patriot, but illegitimate son and finally exile, he search an opportunity for personal redemption in the adventurous nineteenth-century exploration of Africa.

GIUSEPPE DE REALI (1877-1937). The last descendant of a Venetian landowners family and passionate of big game, he carried out twelve hunting expeditions mainly in the northern and equatorial Africa.

GIANCARLO LIGABUE (1931-2015). Passionate scholar of archaeology and palaeontology, he organized expeditions to the five continents, often with exceptional results, earning international recognition.

The room is inspired by the Wunderkammern, the sixteenth-century ‘chambers of wonders’, where examples of the wonders and oddities of nature were displayed.

The room, inspired to a typical nineteenth-century exhibit, displays especially the main collections of distinguished Venetian naturalists that make up the historical core of the Museum of Natural History.

The Strategies of life
These rooms offer another ‘access key’ to the complexity of nature, illustrated by the survival strategies developed by animal and plant species over the course of their evolution: today’s and extinct species, gigantic and microscopic organisms, inhabitants of the waters, land and air. It offers a journey through the complexity of living forms, marked by an enormous variability, profound differences, but also surprising similarities. The first room is a striking virtual display of the diversity of life.

WITHOUT MOVING. Not many animals are able to span their entire life cycle, or most of it, standing more or less still. Nevertheless, this specialization exists across several systematic groups.

WALKING, RUNNING, JUMPING... The ability to move is one of the most obvious characteristics of animals. On land, movement generally takes places in two dimensions, as gravitation keeps the body in contact with the ground.

MOVING IN THE WATER. Organisms that travel in water can freely move in the three dimensions, in a state of almost zero gravity.

MOVING IN THE AIR. Indeed, most animal species are able to fly, given that more than half of all living creatures are insects.

FEEDING ON LIGHT. The leaf-shaped room offers an understanding of the complex mechanisms of photosynthesis, which starts from the most abundant and easily found source of energy: the sun.

The BioGlobe. This small, spherical aquarium renders, at a simplified and smaller scale, some of the processes occurring on Earth since billions of years.

Cetacean gallery
The evocative Cetacean Gallery displays the skeletons, hanging from the ceiling, of a big common fin whale and a young sperm whale.
Tegnùe aquarium
The ‘Tegnùe’ marine aquarium houses fishes, molluscs, crustaceans and other living organisms typical of the submerged rocky outcrops found off the shore of the Venetian coastline.

Luca Mizzan

Mauro Bon


Barbara Favaretto
Earth Science - Educational Activities

Margherita Fusco
Scientific Communication - Educational Activities

Nicola Novarini
Vertebrate Zoology (Herpetology and Freshwater Ichthyology)

Raffaella Trabucco
Vertebrate Zoology (Ornithology and Theriology), Botany

Marco Uliana

Cecilia Vianello
Marine Biology, Ichthyology - Aquarium keeping

Silvia Zampieri
Archaeozoology, Anthropology, Ethnography


Silvia Lo Cascio

Giacomo Masato
Library Services

Roberto Michielotto
Maintenance Services

Paolo Reggiani
Collaborator - Biological Preparation Lab

Museum of Natural History of Venice
Credits: Story


Board of Directors

Mariacristina Gribaudi

Luigi Brugnaro

Bruno Bernardi, Barbara Nino, Roberto Zuccato

Gabriella Belli

Executive Secretary
Mattia Agnetti

Head of Area Museale 2
Chiara Squarcina

Museo di Storia Naturale
Luca Mizzan, Mauro Bon

Google Cultural Institute Exhibition curated by
Silvia Zampieri, Barbara Favaretto

with Nicola Novarini, Marco Uliana, Margherita Fusco, Raffaella Trabucco, Silvia Lo Cascio

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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