Dave and I spent the majority of our honeymoon weaving through halls of dusty taxidermy, peering into Victorian cabinets full of centuries old creatures. My mom was pretty annoyed that after coming home from our trip, all I had to show were pictures of dead animals. But Italy has some of the most extraordinary and historically significant naturalist collections, with pieces dating back to the 18 and 1900’s.
We took the train to Bologna, a city home to the oldest university in the world. There we stumbled into a seemingly deserted museum filled to the brim with old zoological specimen. Rows and rows of glass cases housed fading birds from all over the globe, haphazard piles of weasels and rodents, and lumpy beasts with bared teeth and hazy eyes.
But what makes this collection really unique is it’s origin. Many of the creatures were collected by Ulisse Aldrovandi, Ferdinando Cospi, and Luigi Ferdinando Marsili – Renaissance naturalists who played a major part in establishing natural history as a systematic study and formed one of the first great curiosity cabinets.