If you’re tired of the glorified martyrdoms you’re seeing in all the famous artwork around Italy (why don’t those saints look more pained when they’re being burned/stabbed/crucified?), you’ll enjoy this stop on our tour of Weird and Wonderful Rome – The Criminal Museum in Rome.
The Crime Museum in Rome, run by the Ministry of Justice, is housed in what used to be a prison – so it should feel good and authentic even before you see the displays. It was built in the early 1800s for Pope Leo XIII and now several offices of Rome’s police departments call it home. This means that in order to see the museum, you’ll need to go through a security check. Don’t be alarmed.
There are three sections to the Criminal Museum – one dedicated to the main categories of crimes, one dealing with things like investigation techniques and police search methods, and one covering what’s involved in serving a criminal sentence. It’s section one, called Punishment and Crimes, which is gory and gruesome, and which attracts the most visitors. Using life-sized models, it illustrates how criminals were dealt with (some might say “tortured”) for centuries the world over, including the infamous Iron Maiden and other macabre instruments.
To get a preview of the goodies on display at the Crime Museum, you need only stop by the museum’s website and click on the circles to the left to see images of what’s housed in the museum’s three sections. If the pictures alone make you queasy, it’s probably best that you skip this one.
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Location: Via del Gonfalone 29, Roma
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 09:00-13:00; Tuesday and Thursday also 14:30-18:30; (closed Sunday and Monday)
Admission: €2 (free for children under 18 and seniors over 60)
Check out my recommendations for more weird things in Rome you can visit!