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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Egyptian Museum In Torino

It’s not what you think of when you think of Italian museums, and yet, Il Museo Egizio, The Egyptian Museum, in Torino, may be one of the best museums in Italy. It holds the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt, and it should be absolutely on the to-do list of any egyptophile. Just remember, long before there was a Roman Empire, long even before the Etruscans built their cities, the Egyptians were flourishing along the Nile. How amazing…

Why is it here then? The Italian part of this Egyptian history is this: Beginning in the early 1600s Torino’s wealthy Savoy family began hoarding every mummy and artifact they could acquire. Several kings, including Carlo Emmanuelle III and Carlo Felice, commissioned explorers to go and bring back all they could. Some personal collections were added with the others, for example the 5,268 pieces French Consul Bernardino Drovetti had collected, and the 1,200 piece private collection of Giuseppe Sossio, a wealthy Piemontese. By the late 1700s, when the public was allowed to view the massive collection, it was the first Egyptian museum in the world. It still is housed in the original building which had been built for it, at Via Accademia delle Scienze 6. Several complete renovations, such as before the 2006 Winter Olympics, have updated the museum, and the sheer size of the collections, the displays, and the bilingual information (Italian and English) makes this an almost must-see. And so much easier than going to Cairo.

The museum covers 3,000 years of Egyptian history. I recommend you give yourself the better part of a day to discover it.


The Egyptian Museum Web site, for current information - English version: www.museoegizio.it
Torino is about one hour from Stresa on major motorways.


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