Museo Egizio

Turin, Italy

The Museo Egizio (Italian for Egyptian Museum) is an archaeological museum in Turin, Piedmont, Italy, specializing in Egyptian archaeology and anthropology. It houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian antiquities, with more than 30,000 artifacts, and is considered the second most important Egyptology collection in the world, after the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.

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, which Dulu Jones suggests had been created for a temple to Isis in Rome. This exotic piece spurred 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 the 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 dei Re', that 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, which 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 privatization of the nation's museums when the Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizie was officially established at the end of 2004.

Collection

There are more than 37,000 items in the museum, covering a period from the Paleolithic to the Coptic era. The most important are:

the 'Assemblea dei Re' (Kings Assembly), a term originally indicating a collection of statues representing all the kings of the New Kingdomthe Temple of Ellesyiasarcophagi, mummies and books of the dead originally belonging to the 'Drovetti collection'a painted fabric from Gebelein dated at about 3500 BC, discovered in 1930 by Giulio Farinaan ostracon of Prince Sethherkhepsheffunerary paraphernalia from the Tomba di Ignoti (Tomb of Unknown) from the Old Kingdomthe Tomb of Kha and Merit, found intact by Schiaparelli and transferred as a whole to the museumthe Bembine Tabletthe 'Tomba dipinta' (Painted Tomb) usually closed to the publicthe papyrus collection room, originally collected by Drovetti and later used by Champollion during his studies for the decoding of the hieroglyphicsthe Turin King List (or Turin Royal Canon)the Turin Papyrus Mapthe Turin Erotic Papyrusthe Judicial Papyrus of Turin

The Egyptian Museum owns three different versions of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, including the most ancient copy known. An integral illustrated version and the personal copy of the First Royal Architect Kha, found by Schiaparelli in 1906 are normally shown to the public.

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Details

Founded: 1824
Category: Museums in Italy

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alessio di Sanzio (2 years ago)
A must in Torino. Well-shown exhibitions, amazing objects. Clear and instructive explanations, with sound guide or app. Plan to book well in advance and allow 2-4 hours for the discovery. Small snack area inside and guaranteed access for people with reduced mobility. More than 4,000 years of history are watching you!
Morag Walker (2 years ago)
Mind blowing collection. Would take multiple visits to take it all in and fully appreciate all on offer. Go early so you have plenty of time to experience it all. Slots for entry are timed so best to purchase tickets in advance. Excellent student discounts so remember your card if you have one!
Markus Schertler (2 years ago)
The Egyptian museum is amazing. We spent a little bit more than tree hours and have not seen all the rooms in detail. Descriptions and explanations are good and easy to follow. Everything is described in Italian and English. For an audio guide you can use your own phone, also available in English (don’t forget your headphones ?). Highly recommended.
Karina Jouravleva (2 years ago)
Museum was really amazing! We spent 6 hours there and didn’t notice time flying by. The museum displays mummies (people and animals - even a crocodile!), graves, papyrus and much more. There are information spots describing (in Italian and English) everything one would like to learn about Egyptian culture. There is a small cafeteria for those who want to have a snack (food is good and not overpriced). There is also a gift shop which is surprisingly small - we bought our souvenirs elsewhere in downtown.
ALEXANDRA ANDRIES (2 years ago)
If you like Egyptian history, you will love this place. There are a lot of things to see and visit in the museum. You have all their rituals and you can even enter the tomb of a pharaoh. It took us about 3 hours to go through the whole museum, but even so we didn't have enough time to read all the explanations for all the exhibits
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