The Museum of Earth Sciences gathers together cartographic, geological, mineralogical, petrographic, paleontological and anthropological collections that have been present since the 1960s in the Institute of Geology and Paleontology (now known as the Department of Physical, Earth, and Environmental Sciences). Over the course of the years, the collections have been organized and integrated with educational and museum samples of fossils, minerals and rocks, amounting now to several thousand items, including an ample collection of ornamental rocks, with large rock slabs and numerous educational and interactive tools.
Among the peculiarities of the Museum are several large samples contained within the mineralogical section: a barite crystal measuring more than 50 cm. in length, a world record for the museum, as it is the largest of its kind found to date. What’s more, there are two large samples of sulphur mined in Sicily, a sample of botryoidal malachite from the former Congo, and a quartz crystal inside of which there are crystals of shorlite, from Brazil.
Development over recent years has enabled the Museum to take on, beyond its institutional significance, the additional role of reaching out to educate external users. Important themes underlying its activities are a commitment to enhancing and promoting noteworthy geo-mineralogical sites, and an emphasis on researching and preserving the mineralogical heritage of Tuscany, with special attention paid to the province of Siena.
The Museum System of the University of Siena (Sistema Museale dell’Università di Siena—SIMUS) is the tangible result of centuries of study and research carried out in and around Siena. The System constitutes a summa on the evolution of thought, scientific or otherwise, through collections of tools, finds, educational models, memorabilia and archival documents. Thanks to the passionate commitment of researchers and university staff, museum resources of this sort continue in the present day to provide an effective educational tool to be used in teaching and disseminating knowledge.
Barite crystal (Bou Azzer mine, Morocco): measuring more than 50 cm. in length, this crystal stands as a world record for the museum, as it is the largest of its kind found to date.
Paleontology collection: a fascinating journey through the ancient history of Planet Earth, with fossils of animals and plants.
Museum of Earth Sciences (Museum System of the University of Siena)
Università di Siena
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche della Terra e dell’Ambiente
Via del Laterino, 8
from 3rd May 2021
open by reservation within the day before: email@example.com.
“In the fiery and concentrated beauty of Siena there is an artificial note that recalls a city perched atop a hill in an old painting. From the fortifications one views the entire city, the white and brown houses, with brown-hued roofs and smooth façades pierced by multiple windows. […] All around reigns the peace of a green world, now sloping down into valleys strewn with red earth and veiled by the gray mist of the olive trees, with cypresses reaching darkly into the sky, now rising into hills”. (A. Symons, 1907)
In Siena, the flavor, the taste, the view of the city are still the same as those evoked by the words of the English poet who visited and certainly fell in love with the place more than a century ago. Siena sits composedly, perched on its hills. Move away just a little, and you can take it in all at once, the unmistakable skyline of its elongated silhouette, its walls, the Torre del Mangia and the dome of the Cathedral. And it is not even so different, in certain glimpses, from the way its most beloved painters depicted it in the 1300s and 1400s, from Lorenzetti to Simone Martini, from Sano di Pietro to Vecchietta.
The city’s sensual and harmonious relationship with the landscape that surrounds and protects it is also fundamentally unchanged. The hills, cypresses, red earth and olive trees can be reached on foot by walking out through the ancient gates, or else still inside the city, in the protected and precious green valleys that have remained within the walls.
With its slow, almost dreamlike way of life, Siena should be visited calmly, for it needs to be savoured unhurriedly. Stroll through Siena and let yourself be guided by curiosity. Slip into the alleys, look for quiet hidden places, explore a museum, a church or a beautiful palazzo.