The Museum of Natural History is a perfect place to visit if you travel to Venice with your family. This modern interactive venue will captivate both children and adults. Named after the Venetian paleontologist Giancarlo Ligabue, this museum is a must for any science fan. It has everything - from a dinosaur's skeleton to a massive aquarium. Housed in the majestic palace, it's one of the most thrilling Venice museums.
Getting to the museum
According to the Venice map, the museum is located in beautiful Santa Croce, close to the railway station. The Museum of Natural History overlooks the Grand Canal and is accessible by vaporetto. The closest stops would be San Stae and Riva de Biasio. The museum is perfect for visiting with the family. In addition to fascinating exhibits, there is also a shop, a cafe, and a small garden, ideal for picnics. If you have yet to learn Italian, buying an English audio tour will be a fantastic help on your visit.
History of the museum
The palace, housing the Museum of Natural History, emerged in 1225, designed by Giacomo Palmieri for the Pesaro family. In 1381, the building was in the hands of the Republic of Venice. Because of its architectural elegance, it served as a hosting place for nobility and royalty arriving in Venice. Its Venetian-Byzantine style and the marble facade couldn't leave anyone indifferent.
At the end of the 16th century, Antonio Priuli became the palace owner and rented it to the Ottoman merchants. It became known as Fondaco dei Turchi or the Turkish Trading House. It functioned as a residence, a warehouse, and a business center. From 1898 until 1922, it was the seat of the well-known Museo Correr, which is now in the neighborhood of San Marco. After ten years of restoration, the new and upgraded museum reopened to the public in 2010. Since then, it's been one of the most interactive and engaging Venice museums.
Why you should visit
The collection of the Natural History Museum is robust. There are more than two million pieces on display. All items come from the collections of the Correr Museum and the Veneto Institute of Science, Literature and Arts. Some objects also come from the private collection of count Alessandro Pericle Ninni. The exhibition consists of three main sections. There are zoological and botanical collections and rooms covering the natural history of Venice. It covers everything you need to know about the Lagoon area.
Don't miss the chance to see the relics and the aquarium. There is a 20-meter skeleton of a long finback whale and a 7-meter skeleton of a dinosaur. They hang from the ceiling, and you can walk right under and admire them from every angle. There is also a 5-meter-long Tegnue aquarium with almost 50 species of fish in 5000 liters of water. You won't find that in any of the other Venice museums. Inside is also a laboratory and a library with over 40 000 books.
Things to do in the area
The neighborhood of Santa Croce may be busy, but there are plenty of attractions. You can use our Venice map to plan each stop and create a tailor-made Venice itinerary. To explore the art, head to Ca' Pesaro Gallery, which also includes the Oriental Art Museum. Then, continue your tour at the stunning Palazzo Mocenigo. If you want to explore more Venice museums, visit the Leonardo da Vinci Museum and Carlo Goldoni's House. If not, go straight to Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. This magnificent Gothic church is the largest among Venice churches. You'll find the Rialto area about 10 minutes from the Museum of Natural History. There is a market and a popular bridge of the same name.