Our trip to Turin Italy in May of 2006 was amazing. Even though we didn’t have much time there, we tried to see and do as much as we could. The main reason we went was to see the Museo de Egizio and try some local food 🙂 Today’s post is about the museum, but I also wanted to share a few things that left some lasting impressions.
First was the incredible Italian Alps. We were in the south of France and drove through these to get to Turin. It was one of the most gorgeous things I had seen in quite a while. So glad we decided to drive to Turn. The next thing was the mouthwatering Gnocchi I had for dinner. Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was delicious. However, the thing that left the biggest impression was driving. Oh my goodness, it was insane. We lived in LA for over 40 years and have visited New York a few times, but I have to say Turin was even worse, lol. I literally put my life in Gene’s hands. Even with the scary driving, we had a very nice time in Turin.
Other than the Cairo Museum in Egypt, the Museo de Egizio is the only museum dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture. Today the museum’s collections were enlarged by the excavations conducted in Egypt by the Museum’s archaeological mission between 1900 and 1935 (a period when finds were divided between the excavators and Egypt). With that said, here is a little more history on the museum and its artifacts.
The first object having an association with Egypt to arrive in Turin was the Mensa Isiaca in 1630, an altar table in imitation of Egyptian style. This exotic piece inspired King Charles Emmanuel III to commission botanist Vitaliano Donati to travel to Egypt in 1753 and acquire items from its past. Donati returned with 300 pieces recovered from Karnak and Coptos, which became the nucleus of the Turin collection.
In 1824, King Charles Felix acquired the material from the Drovetti collection (5,268 pieces, including 100 statues, 170 papyri, stelae, mummies, and other items), that the French General Consul, Bernardino Drovetti, had built during his stay in Egypt. In the same year, Jean-François Champollion used the huge Turin collection of papyri to test his breakthroughs in deciphering hieroglyphic writing. The time Champollion spent in Turin studying the texts is also the origin of a legend about the mysterious disappearance of the “Papiro Regio”, which was only later found and of which some portions are still unavailable. In 1950 a parapsychologist was contacted to pinpoint them, to no avail.
In 1833, the collection of Piedmontese Giuseppe Sossio (over 1,200 pieces) was added to the Egyptian Museum. The collection was complemented and completed by the finds of Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli, during his excavation campaigns between 1900 and 1920, further filled out the collection. Its last major acquisition was the small temple of Ellesiya, which the Egyptian government presented to Italy for her assistance during the Nubian monument salvage campaign in the 1960s.
Through all these years, the Egyptian collection has always been in Turin, in the building designed for the purpose of housing it, in Via Accademia delle Scienze 6. Only during the Second World War was some of the material moved to the town of Agliè. The museum became an experiment of the Italian government in the privatization of the nation’s museums when the Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizie was officially established at the end of 2004.
Here is a list of some of the more notable items of interest in the Museo de Egizio:
- Assemblea dei Re(Kings Assembly) a term originally indicating a collection of statues representing all the kings of the New Kingdom.
- Temple of Tuthmosi III
- Sarcophagi, mummies and books of the dead originally belonging to the Drovetti collection.
- A painting on canvasdated at about 3500 BC (found in 1931)
- Funerary paraphernalia from the Tomba di Ignoti(Tomb of Unknown) from the Old Kingdom
- Tomb of Kha and of Merit, found intact by Schiaparelli and transferred in toto in the museum
- Papyrus collection room, originally collected by Drovetti and later used by Champollion during his studies for the decoding of the hieroglyphics.
- Mensa Isiaca(The Table of Isis)
- Tomba Dipinta(The Painted Tomb) usually closed to the public.
- The Turin King List(or Turin Royal Canon)
The Museo de Egizio is truly an amazing museum and I was shocked at what a marvel we found. We hadn’t even heard of it until some people mentioned it while we were sharing a few drinks in Monaco. We had talked about taking a few days to go to Italy but had not decided where in Italy. This museum was what pushed Turin to the top of the list. If you are in the area, it is definitely a jewel that you wouldn’t want to miss. Here is some basic information and a link to their website if you do plan to visit one day. I hope you can!
Museo de Egizio Visitor Information
Via Accademia delle Scienze 6 10123 Torino
+39 011 5617776
Mon -9 am – 2 pm
Tues – Sat 9 am – 6:30 pm
Adult 9 – Euro
Student 15-18 2 – Euro
Junior 6 -14 1 – Euro
Family Ticket 2 adults + 2 under 18 – 18 Euro
Over Seniors over 60 – 4.50 Euro
Guided 90 min Tour with 12 Max – 70 Euro
Guided Tour 50 with 5 Max – 40 Euro
Included in the admission charge, a video guide is given to each visitor (aged 6 and over), containing various routes through the museum. The video guide comes with headphones and can be connected to your own earpieces.
The video guide includes two tours, differing by route and duration: one lasting 60 minutes (which focuses on the main aspects of the collection), the other lasting 150 minutes (offering more detailed insights). Visitors are guided through the rooms of the Museum, where the exhibits discussed in the video guide are indicated by a number (white on an orange ground) and the headphone symbol.
The “Family Tour” is a route designed for younger visitors and their families and lasts 90 minutes. Young people can admire the Museum’s most important masterpieces, accompanied by the voices of four characters: Kha, chief architect of the works at Deir el-Medina, his wife Merit, Schiapp, a super fan of Ancient Egypt, Cody, a promising archaeologist. They go in search of the cat Miu, a deity living incognito, hidden in the rooms of the Museum. A guide map is given to the young visitors. The exhibits discussed are shown by a black paw on a yellow field, with the matching number.
Lines 4 e 15; BERTOLA-247 stop
Lines 58, 58B, 11, 55, 57; BERTOLA-1642 stop
Lines 72 e 72B; BERTOLA-2179 stop
Lines 13, 56, 51; BERTOLA-469 stop
Line 27; BERTOLA-1632 stop (terminus)
Lines 13, 15, 55, 56; CASTELLO-471 stop
Lines 7; CASTELLO-409 (Saturday, Sunday and public holidays) stop (terminus).
Linea 1 – PORTA NUOVA stop. From Porta Nuova, by Via Roma or Via Lagrange (which becomes Via Accademia delle Scienze), the Museo Egizio can be reached in 10-15 minutes on foot. Otherwise, take bus 58 or bus 58B and get off at the BERTOLA-1642 stop, or tram 4 and get off at the BERTOLA-247 stop.
From Porta Nuova station
On Foot: taking Via Lagrange (which then becomes Via Academia delle Scienze) you reach the Museo Egizio in 10-15 minutes.
By public transport: from Porta Nuova station to the Museo Egizio, take buses number 58 or 58b (for both, BERTOLA-162 stop). The number 4 tram from Porta Nuova station passes close to the Museo Egizio (BERTOLA – 247 stop).
From Porta Susa station
On Foot: from Porta Susa Station, the Museum can be reached in about 20-25 minutes.
By public transport: from Porta Susa station to the Museo Egizio, take buses number 5 (BERTOLA – 469 stop), 56 (CASTELLO-47 stop), 57 (BERTOLA-1642 stop), 72 or 72B (for bothe BERTOLA-2179 stop). Tram number 13 from Porta Susa station to the Museo Egizio (CASTELLO-471 stop). Also, the Star 1 and Star 2 lines pass near the Museum (ROMA – 4058 stop).
The nearest car park to the Museo Egizio is the Roma-San Carlo-Castello car park, which has vehicle entrances from: Piazza Castello (corner of Via Viotti); Piazza Carlo Felice; Via Lagrange. It is open 24/7.
The Musem provides 2 wheelchairs free of charge for visitors. They are available at the cloakroom, but cannot be booked.
Blind and partially sighted
The Museum provides tactile routes accompanied by Egyptologists with specific experience.
For security reasons, the only animals allowed in the museum are guide dogs for people with disabilities. For more information, call 011 4406903 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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