The Natural History Museum of the Accademia dei Fisiocritici

Accademia Fisiocritici

One of the most influential academies in Europe

The Accademia dei Fisiocritici is one of the oldest scientific institutions in Italy. It was founded in 1691 by Pirro Maria Gabbrielli, a professor of Theoretical Medicine and Botany at the University of Siena. Inside is a museum of natural history, a library and a historical archive.

The Museum occupies the two floors of the Camaldolese monastery and is built around the central courtyard where the artefact that has become the Museum’s emblem is located: a 15-metre long skeleton of a whale.

The result of two centuries of acquisitions and donations, the museum is divided into four sections: geological, zoological, anatomical and botanical.

There are also original collections of measuring instruments, archaeological findings and some unusual objects such as the half coconut from which Napoleon Bonaparte drank.

The geological section houses fascinating collections of rocks, minerals and fossils, partly of local origin and partly from other regions or countries.

The zoological section displays skeletons and stuffed animals from all over the world.

The anatomical section boasts precious items of the Sienese Paolo Mascagni. Highlights of this collection are a valuable library, the first life-size human anatomical atlas and the ‘Francesco Spirito’ collection, which includes anatomical preparations treated with the petrification process and anatomical preparations with which Mascagni highlighted the lymphatic vessels by using the technique of injecting mercury.

Finally, in the botany section, you can find the special ‘Francesco Valentini-Serini’ collection of terracotta models of mushrooms.

The Academy also houses a wealth of documents housed in the historical-scientific library with rare and antique books and an extremely valuable historical archive. It contains around 36,000 volumes. Most of the library’s collections are located in the five library rooms on the first floor.


Contact details

Piazzetta Silvio Gigli, Siena



Tel: 0577 47002



April – October

9:00 am – 7:00 pm | Monday and Friday

9:00 am – 3:00 pm | Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

2:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Saturday

November – March

9:00 am – 6:00 pm | Monday and Friday

9:00 am – 3:00 pm | Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

1:00 pm – 6:00 pm | Saturday


Sunday and Public holidays



9.15 – 13.15


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