Venice / Points of interest

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Santa Croce 1730, Venice

Among the museums - civic in Venice to visit, the Natural History Museum in Venice offers an interactive and engaging guided tour, designed to blend harmoniously with the refined atmosphere of one of the oldest buildings of Venice, the Fontego dei Turchi.

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Here, you will find the information to plan your visit to the Natural History Museum of Venice: opening times and prices, closures, description of the types of exhibitions and museum pass to all Venice civic museums including the Venice Museum of Natural History. Thanks to, you can buy the Museum Pass in Venice or a single ticket for the Museum of Natural History in Venice, Italy online!

Built in the first half of the 12thcentury, the Fontego dei Turchi is considered one of the most distinctive buildings overlooking the Grand Canal. The Fontego dei Turchi became a famous place of business for the Turkish merchants in Venice, a function which it held for nearly two centuries after being the representative office of the Republic of Venice and the home of the local noble families. In the 18th century, after a restoration in order to recover the original building, the Fontego dei Turchi housed the Correr Museum. Since 1923 it has included the Natural History Museum of Venice.

Its display is one of the spearheads of the museums in Venice: the Natural History Museum boasts a modern and attractive layout which enables visitors to interact with the exhibits.

On the ground floor of the Natural History Museum in Venice, Italy the entrance leads visitors into the first two rooms of the exhibition:

  • The Gallery of Cetaceans boasts two of the major attractions of the museum, the skeleton of a fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) approximately 20m long and that of a young sperm whale (Physeter catodon). The Cetaceans are suspended from the ceiling thanks to steel structures that allow you to travel through the space provided below, together with information and facts, as well as a device for playing whale songs.
  • In the Aquarium of Tegnùe you can admire one of the most peculiar natural environments of the Northern Adriatic Sea, recreated in a 5 m long tank. The tegnùe are restricted areas where the seabed of the Adriatic, usually sandy or muddy, becomes hard and rocky, giving rise to an oasis of great and unusual biological diversity. The Venice, Italy Natural History Museum has focused for years on these fascinating areas, both from an environmental point of view and to study the species that live there. To encourage the involvement of visitors to the Natural Museum of Venice, families and especially children and students, the hall has also prepared a 'Virtual Aquarium' which promotes interaction with the various species that are housed inside it.

The first floor of the Civic Museum of Natural History at the Venice Fontego Dei Turchi is divided into three clearly defined sections:

  • The trail of life. From the appearance of the first living organisms to humans, a ‘guided’ visit from fossils - the fundamental key to understanding the formation and history of life on Earth - through a succession of rooms that combine artefacts, images, reproductions and multimedia devices to help the visitor to enter in contact with the testimony of our more distant past. In this section the most famous exhibits of the Venice Museum of Natural History are kept - dinosaurs: the skeleton of Ouranosaurus nigeriensis more than 7m long and the skull of Sarchosuchus imperator discovered by the famous palaeontologist Giancarlo Ligabue during his expeditions in Africa.
  • Collecting to astonish, collecting to study: evolution of nature collecting and the birth of scientific museology. The Venice Science Museum presents nature collecting inside six rooms and two subsections: 'Venetian Explorers’, with the exceptional collections of Giovanni Miani and Giuseppe De Reali – who during the 19th and early 20th century travelled to North Africa and Saharan and Equatorial Africa - plus a room dedicated to Giancarlo Ligabue. The second subsection is devoted to naturalistic museology. From the 16th century Wunderkammer which houses all sorts of objects collected with the sole purpose to entertain, until the advent of the scientific method that encourages the creation of collections for studying purposes, the interpretation and classification of materials. This section ends in a large room overlooking the Grand Canal, where the most important collections of the Museo di Storia Naturale in Venice are exhibited in an impressive cabinet together with scientific instruments and publications by many students who helped to enrich the heritage of the museum of natural history in Venice.
  • The strategies of life. A journey to discover the differences and similarities between the different forms of life, both current and extinct, explaining: 'form and function' (biodiversity and life strategies on earth), 'Nutrition' (strategies for food, energy, types of nutrition and the cycle of life); 'Movement' (movement in space and in different situations).

The Lagoon Floor

A section devoted entirely to the Venice Lagoon and the relationship between man and environment: organisms, animals, plants and studies tell the evolution of the territory in which the Civic Museum of Natural History stands. Visitors will have access to a surprising interpretation to understand the unique and special relationship that binds Venice to its Lagoon: an in-depth sensory and symbolic visit inside the microcosm of the lagoon, an extraordinary environment for both its geomorphologic features and the traditions related to its natural and environmental features and its landscape.

In addition to the exhibition, the Museo di Storia Naturale in Venice, Italy has a vast storage with examples of more than two million pieces. However, these areas are only accessible on demand by researchers and scholars as the proper preservation of the precious artefacts housed in them must be ensured. The storage rooms of the Venice, Italy Science Museum contain: botanical and zoological collections, minerals, rocks, fossils, antique scientific instruments, collections of anatomy, anthropology, archaeology, Venetian ethnography and African artefacts.

Venice Natural History Museum Hours:

  • From 1.06 to 31.10
    10am – 6pm (last entrance at 5pm)
  • From 1.11 to 31.05
    Tuesday to Friday 9am – 5pm (last entrance at 4pm)
    Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm (last entrance at 5pm)
  • Closed: Mondays, 25.12, 1.01, 1.05