To be fair, I’m not a great fan of Science Museums myself. I could definitely spend a whole day in an art museum – especially if it focused on Impressionism – or a history museum – I won’t lie, I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was 5. But science? We don’t usually get along, notably because I’m pretty damn ignorant about it, and I hate feeling ignorant. Yet, there’s this one Science Museum I can’t stop coming back for more.
The first time I visited MUSE, the brand new musuem designed by world famous Italian architect Renzo Piano in the city of Trento, I waited more than 2 hours in line before I could even get my ticket. It had just opened and thousands of people were pouring in that lovely city, just 45 minutes by car from Pinzolo, where I was staying (read all about it here), so my friends and I just had to give it a go. We were all but disappointed.
The first thing you’ll notice when visiting MUSE is the way it looks nothing like your usual museum. Sorrounded by an artificial canal and mainly made of huge windows, the building catches the eye because it’s extremely different from the rest of Trento’s architecture. As you walk in, you’re launched in a universe made of natural sounds, hanging animal skeletons and interactive displays. Ok, that “hanging animal skeletons” may not sound that pretty, but I swear i’ts incredibly impressive and not creepy at all. Unless you’re profoundly upset by stuffed animals – in this case, this might not be the place for you.
The exhibition is divided on several different floors, and each of them displays a distinct aspect of science. You’ll have a floor completely dedicated to the Dolomites and their ecosystem – after all, we’re in the heart of Trentino – with the possibility of touching glacier ice and comparing different kinds of rocks. If you’re more into anthropology, there’s a themed route dedicated to the history of mankind, and you even get to see faithful reconstructions of how our ancestors looked like, as you were in an actual time machine. For the little scientists in you, an entire floor is devoted to physics experiments: you’ll be amazed of how many concepts you can finally understand through some apparently childish games. Plus, you can sit down and admire an enormous Planet Earth as you rest your feet.
You can take a walk along the Labyrinth of Biodiversity, passing through all the different ecosystems that make up the Italian Alps – and you’ll be amazed of how many of them there are, as well as of how many different animal species call Italy their home. If you’re more into tropical forests, don’t you worry: the museum’s greenhouse is totally dedicated to recreating an equatorial atmosphere – plus, it’s great for taking awesome pictures.
The ground floor is probably my favourite part of MUSE: it displays dinosaur skeletons as well as stuffed animals, and it’s the place where I finally got to “meet” my favorite animal, the platypus. Ok, I still wish I would see one that is actually alive and moving, but it was still great to be so close to one since you don’t get to see many when you’re not living in Australia. Interesting art shows and temporary exhibitions are also usually displayed on this floor, and all the ones I’ve seen up to now have been nothing but inspiring.
Actual info about MUSE
If I convinced you into adding MUSE to your to-do list, here’s everything you need to know to plan a visit!
The museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10AM to 6PM (7PM on Sundays). In August, it’s also open on Mondays.
Full price: 10,00 € / Reduced rate : 8,00 € from 1-02-2015 / Two parents withnchildren up to 18 years old: 20,00 € / One parent with children up to 18 years old: 10,00 €
/ Guided tours: 3.00 € (plus the entrance fee)
The ticket is free for children 6 years or younger; children 14 years or younger whose birthday is on the day of the visit (or two days prior or after) + 1 accompanying adult; disabled people (bearing a certification confirming a disability over 74% including the right to be accompanied or recognized according to article 1 and 3 of law n. 104/92) + 1 accompanying adult; teachers accompanying school groups visiting the museum; Tourist guides, interpreters, mountain guides and regional guides exercising their profession (with badge); participants of the “Nanna al MUSE” – Sleepover at the museum (following day); Individual Membership MUSE Card holders (Gravity, Dolomia, Ice, Tribù); “Docenti Club” card holders; accredited cultural heritage professionals (only employees of MIBAC – Ministero dei Beni e Attività culturali); Holders of Guest Card Trentino, Museum Pass or Verona Card and every visitor on the first Sunday of every month.
How to get there:
MUSE is in Trento, Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza 3. That’s very close to the city center, just 10 minutes away from Piazza del Duomo, so if you’re staying in the city, I suggest you cycle or walk there. If you’re coming to Trento specifically for the museum, you can obviosuly reach the city by car, by train (the musuem is within walking distance from the railway station) or by bus.
You can find all further information on the official website.