Visiting the Rome Zoology Museum is like taking a trip back in time. The the Victorian-style display cases, stuffed birds and sometimes extinct creatures, and a background soundtrack of wildlife noises, all make this a bizarre and mysterious place.
My son, the 4 year-old animal lover, loves coming here on Sunday afternoons and staring in awe at the many items on display in the old permanent exhibit. With its five million specimens in total (molluscs, insects, birds, mammals and fossils) this place is always a hit with children. At the end of the tour, two dozen skeletons haunt the large and sunny salon-like room. There are giant towering frames–like the giraffe and the elephant–and smaller skeletons of ancient residents of the Rome conservation zoo.
The yellowed catalog nametags below each case are handwritten in that typical pointy turn of the century hand. There are roomfuls of taxidermically preserved fauna, so lifelike that my child sometimes asks me, "È vero?"
The tall windows have drapes that sometimes billow in the draft, adding to the mystery.
I personally like animals free and wild, but something darkly romantic makes me like this place. Despite the bones.
Zoology Museum | Museo Civico di Zoologia
Via Ulisse Aldrovandi 18 | Tel. +39 06 6710 9270 | www.museodizoologia.it | Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Closed Monday | Entrance fee: €6,00 ~ free admission for kids under 18 and over 65!