A trip to Roma is better. . .Museo Criminologico

One nice thing about cruising the net is you get all these little asides you might not have gotten from straight text. Somewhere I found Jessica and her great little column, which led to the trip to the Museo Criminologica.


I’m for anything goofy and considering some of the museums I have been witness to, this involved a nice jaunt to an interesting neighborhood, still close to the ancient part of the city and a funky visit as well. The guards did not speak English, but could have come right out of Brooklyn or the Bronx. The building design allowed for you to actually hear them from two flights up. One sang, while the other one laughed counterpointing this dead serious hommage to the criminal world.

Now a museum, white wall and fluorescent,  served as a jail at one time. Has what you would expect from a museum, and then some not. There are a few guillotines, some costumes worn by executioners, some weapons and mangles. There is some realia, like the suitcase designed to kidnap and export the double agent. Photos of prisoners from the 19th and early twentieth century. A skull of a criminal, and lots of theory. Collected art contraband. It is cheap to go, and nice to be off the beaten path.

Above photo is a criminal youth, looks no more than 10 to 12. Below are models of ancient justice made by criminal minors in need of a trade, I guess.

There is all kinds of things that are interesting a vintage sign or two, and then the contraband.

Wow, a little Miro, you could stay all day and look at, because there are very few people visiting, and those that are visiting are not exactly looking for a Miro to begin with.

The area is extremely interesting. There was a strange old church which some nuns were having their own service in, which I immediately left. There was a protest on a billboard against the gentrification going on.

There was also a bridge near Via Giulia, and I wondered if this was the bridges from building to building designed by Michelangelo, as I have seen pictures before. The side of the building had that rusticated stone and iron grillwork we identfiy with his late style.

Go east and you come out around the Campo dei Fiori, and there stands the famous statue of the first man to publicly prophesize that the world was round, Giordano Bruno. For his troubles, he was declared a heretic, arrested, tortured and jailed for seven years, before being burned at the stake. Criminals Italian style, I guess?


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8 Responses to “A trip to Roma is better. . .Museo Criminologico”

  1. dweebcentric Says:

    the hooded sculpture overlooking the visitors is tops!

    any idea what the little piece of paper taped to the black and white photo says?

  2. thinkvisual Says:

    That is Bruno, and if not mistaken, he was executed in that square. Also did you check out the little model, the kids did, of the execution by fire!

    Basta, like spanish, means enough! I think it is a plea for them to stop the gentrification and give them back their neighborhood. I will feed it in on SDL for a translation.

  3. luca grassi Says:

    Actually gentrification is not the issue as “speculare” is a verb for “speculazione”, english “speculation”, so the translation is: stop speculating on our skin. Basta does not mean “enough”, but “stop”, in italian “abbastanza” means “enough”.
    Were you there to study italian protests or to visit a museum?

    • thinkvisual/thinkMuseum Says:

      i was on my way from visiting the museum. the sign caught my eye, thank you for the translation. it looked like a lovely neighborhood, and i assumed, wrongly, it was the same issue we often face in cities in the US. thank you. La ringrazio.

  4. Davide C Says:

    Just a clarification: Giordano Bruno wasn’t burnt because he believed the Earth was round. The Earth is believed as round since more than 2000 years (even before Eratosthenes misured quite well its circumference), and almost nobody in the Middle Ages believed the Earh was flat, nor even Columbus of course when he traveled west to reach what he believed was India. The legend the Middle Ages world believed the Earth was flet came from the fantasy of an American writer of 19th century, a pity this legend is still believed as true.

    Giordano Bruno was a controversial philosopher/heretic persecuted by all Europe at the end of 16th century: he had to escape and change continuously his location (from Italy, to Switzerland, to England, to France, to Germany, to Venice, and in the end, to Rome), because his texts and aggressive behavior weren’t accepted by any of the different “Christian branches” of the time (Catholics, Calvinists, Anglicans, Lutherans). In the end, he was burnt as heretic in Rome, but he could have been killed even by the other kingdoms of his time, had he been caught before escaping. The statue we see today was built in 1889 by the Masonic Italian government of the time, to remind the crimes of the Catholic Church (the Italian government had just conquered the Papal State in 1870, and the Pope considered himself a prisoner in Rome). The Giordano Bruno statue in fact was the reason for a big fight between the Bruniani and the Anti-bruniani, the first supporting the statue, the latter considering that Giordano Bruno was considered a criminal by almost any country in Europe at the time, and it was offensive to put his statue in the center of Rome!

    Anyway how many interesting stories for just a single statue!

  5. thinkvisual/thinkMuseum Says:

    Thank you. Remember with Americans it is astounding we even know who Bruno is!. Thanks, again, for the clarification.

  6. Davide C Says:

    You’re very welcome! If you are interested in the myth of flat Earth, even the wikipedia page gives you some ideas to go for deeper researches. And don’t worry, even in Italy many people would almost ignore the true story of Giordano Bruno! 😉


    Anyway congratulations for your interesting blog.

  7. Davide C Says:

    Last, just to remark one interesting point, the statue is looking with disapproval, and is looking in the exact direction of Saint Peter in the Vatican!

    Now that you now the history behind the building of this statue, you should imagine why Giordano (and with him, the Masonic Italian government of the 19th century) is “disapproving” or better condemning the government of the Popes, now ended with the Kingdom of Italy!

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