Napoli: nice pizza and a lot of deformed fetuses

fetuses in formalin, napoli, italy, anatomical museum musa
Useful Info
📍 Where? MUSA – Museo Universitario delle Scienze e delle Arti – Via Luciano Armanni, 5, 80138 Napoli NA (museum is part of the Vanvitelli University)
🚌 How do I get there? Public transportation: departure from Piazza Garibaldi, take the Linea 1 towards Piscinola and stop at Duomo. Alternatively take the Linea 2 towards Pozzuoli and stop at Piazza Cavour
📌 When? Monday – Tuesday – Thursday – Friday: 10:00 – 14:00
Wednesday: 10:00 – 16:00
Saturday and Sunday closed
💵 How much? FREE!
📧 Booking: Not mandatory, but in case: click here

A WELL-HIDDEN GEM OF HORROR

When I discovered this place, I was amazed, the MUSA – University Museum of Sciences and Arts is well hidden within the complex of the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli. It is easily accessible on foot once you arrive at Piazza Cavour, as soon as I arrived at the complex, I asked the guard for directions, who let me enter the premises. Just follow the directions and you will arrive in a sort of study room (very beautiful and rustic by the way), at the end there will be a custodian, who will let you enter the macabre Museum.

As reported by the useful information, access is free and almost no reservation is required (since I was not asked for one once I arrived on site). Another point I would like to add: there was no one there. I walked in and was speechless: an ENORMOUS collection completely at my disposal without any time limits (and in fact I was there for almost 2 hours).

There is no guide, but the Museum provides a free audio guide (ITA/ENG) to download from the appstore/playstore, just search for “MUSA” – super functional, it presents all the various sections of the eerie Museum and guides inside it.

The museum is divided into various sections (each more macabre than the last) and I will try not to spoil everything I saw in order to keep the curiosity alive and maybe even encourage you to go there. I will limit myself to reporting only the things that stood out to me the most!

fetuses in formalin in MUSA museum anatomical in campania, Italy

SKULL COLLECTION – THE VICARIA SKULLS

A rather peculiar collection is that of the Vicaria skulls: these are four skulls of criminals executed in April 1800 in the Vicaria Court. The characters are Giuditta Guastamacchia, the surgeon Pietro de Sandoli, her father Nicola, and a hired killer Michele Sorbo hired to kill Giuditta’s husband.

The really curious thing is that you can still read the signs of Phrenology studies on the skulls (according to which, by the shape of the skull, it was possible to trace the development of certain areas of the brain, seats of particular psychic functions, as well as trying to deduce certain “delinquent” characteristics.)

two vicaria skulls with phrenology signs

THE PETRIFICATIONS OF EFISIO MARINI

Efisio Marino was a very peculiar character: he was born in Cagliari and was a scientist and medical researcher. Also known as “The Petrification”, because he discovered an innovative technique (which he never revealed and took with him until death) for preserving corpses and anatomical parts.

He died in Naples, led a troubled life, surrounded by a sinister aura created around him also due to his own home, scattered with anatomical relics of people and animals. He spent all his assets in research, obsessed with the fear that his secret would be discovered.

At MUSA, a very nice table is preserved, whose top is made of a mixture of blood, brain, liver, bile, lungs, and in the center, there is a beautiful hand of a young woman.

dead hand by efisio marini

TROPHIES JIVAROS – MACABRE KEYCHAINS FOR ECCENTRIC WARRIORS

Aren’t they cute? They look like a bit eccentric keychains, but they are the trophies of the Jivaros, a headhunting people of the upper Amazon. One of their characteristics was to cut off and take away the heads of defeated or killed enemies.

Immediately after taking away the head, this macabre process began that led to the creation of the actual trophy (called Tsantsas): first, all the bones of the skull and face were removed, then the skin was dried with hot pebbles, shrinking the head more and more.

The hair was kept long as long as the energy of the Tsantsas was not revealed as malevolent, at which point the hair was cut to restore positive energy.

JIVAROS heads

AND THIS IS NOT EVEN 50% OF IT

The MUSA is definitely a visual experience: there are deformed skeletons, dried and mummified bodies, and various eye and embryonic deformities, as well as numerous “particular” cases of animal origin. Below are some pictures, without putting too many: visit it, it’s an experience that will satisfy all your morbid curiosity for the deformed and the horrible!

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