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Ten Unusual Museums in Italy - Strange Places to Visit in Umbria

Updated on April 21, 2012
Wine Museum
Wine Museum

Collections, Exhibitions and Shows in Umbria

The central province of the Italian peninsula, Umbria has so much to offer in the way of excellent museums, exhibitions and galleries. Just about every village and town has a Pinacoteca Comunale, Museo or Galleria for you to look around. What always defines an area are those small, unique collections that have been assembled and are quite often particular to a specific location.

The communities around Umbria have amassed great compilations of Renaissance artworks, frescoes and paintings; they have a prodigious amount of religious relics and collections of Roman and Etruscan artefacts in every hill town. There are also a number of interesting, unique, unusual and sometimes-wierd local museums around Umbria that are worth a visit if you are looking for things to. 

Miniature Museum
Miniature Museum

10 Things to do in Umbria, Italy

1) Museo dell’Olio, the Oil Museum in Torgiano. Opened in 2000 this collection in the south of Umbria explains and demonstrates the processes and botany associated with the production of the regions famous golden olive oils. The museum has a number of antiques oil presses and equipment related to oil production.

2) Mummies of Ferentillo, a macabre exhibition of bodies buried beneath the Church of Santo Stefano in the village. The bodies date back to the 1500’s when they were intruded, during the Napoleonic reign of the area it was decreed that burials were forbidden within the boundaries of towns and villages and so the mummies of Ferentillo were discovered. After all the years the grim finds included adults, children, priests and pilgrims, many were still clothed, with hair, beards, skin and teeth.

3) Botteghe Artigiane in Miniatura, Museum of Miniatures in the old town centre of Citta di Castello is a wonderful collection of precepi, nativity scenes and townscapes crafted in perfect miniature detail. The displays recreate the people, occupations and trades prevalent in the Upper Tiber Valley over the centuries in splendid tiny models.

4) Historical Museum of Chocolate, Perugia. The town is famous for its festival of chocolate, Eurochoc every October and the museum acts as a permanent feature dedicated to the sweet treat. The museum is part of the Perugina chocolate factory, who make Baci chocolates, you can also have guided tours of the works and see chocolate being produced.

5) Battle of Lake Trasimeno Museum, Tuoro sul Trasimeno houses an exhibition dedicated to the famous battle in 217 BC, between Hannibal and the Roman consul Cauis Flaminius. The museum fully explains the battle and includes some fine archaeological finds from period. Heavily outnumbered on the shores of the Lake Trasimeno, Hannibal carried out one of the greatest ambushes in history.

6) Museo de Archeologia Arborea, in San Lorenzo, Lerchi in the Upper Tiber Valley. Here there is a living tree museum, which promotes and preserves a large number of native Italian trees. Many breeds that have fallen out of favour are often forgotten and in danger of becoming extinct. The museum dutifully tends and cares for 150 rare local fruit trees ensuring their survival.

7) Museo del Tulle, The Lace making Museum in Panicale, near Lake Trasimeno. Dedicated to the life, designs and works of a remarkable woman, Anita Bellischi and the local school she established nearby that taught many local women the delicate craft of lace work and gain financial independence and security for themselves.

8) World of Model Soldiers Museum, La Preghiera, Calzolaro. On the plains of the luscious Seano valley north of Umbertide is the restored medieval monastic estate, La Preghiera. Now a B&B hotel it houses an interesting collection of over 30,000 toy lead soldiers and militaria, prints, uniforms and flags.

9) Museo del Vino, Wine Museum of Torgiano. Established by the Lungarotti family who have produced wine in the region for decades, this exhibition explains and demonstrates the history and equipment have been used over the centuries in bringing a bottle of the good stuff to our dinner tables.

10) Museum of Emigration examines the stories behind the thousands of Italians that left their homeland between 1800 and 1950 and travelled around all four corners of the world. Located on the foothills of the Apennine Mountains, in the Palazzo Podesta in Gualdo Tadino the museum provides an interesting piece of Italian social history.

Other Umbrian Hubs

Eurochoc Festival in Perugia

Ten Ususual Festivals in Umbria

Five Christmas Festivals in Umbria

Eat your Way Around Umbria

Carsulae, the Pompeii of Umbria


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    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Love that tree museum. Actually I love all of them. How great it would be to come to Italy - to eat of course but to make a list of Italy's amazing museums and then visit.

      Great hub. Rated up - and so nice to meet you!

    • CMHypno profile image


      8 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Great collections of museums in Umbria, knell63, I would love to visit them all. My favourite museum in Italy to date is the Egyptian Museum in Turin, and the Vatican Museum is really cool as well.

    • knell63 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      I am not sure Shinkicker whether its unique but definitely a different take on the movement of people and the story is normally told the other way around.

    • Shinkicker profile image


      8 years ago from Scotland

      Great Hub knell63

      Sounds like an interesting place. A Museum of Emigration is a fascinating idea. I wonder if it's unique.

      Normally museums house exhibitions about immigration TO a city rather than the other way round

    • knell63 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Thanks for the support, I am pleased it was of interest. My favourite has to be the strange little mummy museum in Ferentillo, you just don't expect to find that sort of thing outside of Egypt, and definitely not on your doorstep.

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 

      8 years ago from Canada

      this is awesome thanks for this hub, I am stumbling it in hopes that traffic blessings will come your way. Museum de vino sounds very unique!

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 

      8 years ago

      Wow, what great places to visit! I love miniatures, love olive oil, and enjoy the occasional glass of wine.............. but of all the museums you mentioned............ well, it would have to be the chocolate museum. Hands down, my favorite food! Kaie

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      I have learned a lot from your hub. Thank you very much.


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