An ancient monastery founded in 1366, is the home to the impressive collection of the Pisa University Natural History Museum. Grand Duke Ferdinando I De Medici started the collection in the 16th century. Today, Calci Charterhouse features one of the largest collections of cetacean skeletons in Europe. In 2008 the museum opened the Aquarium section in its cellars. Following its renovations in 2016, now it hosts the largest freshwater aquarium in Italy, featuring many rare species from all around the world.
How to arrive and Ticket Prices
Calci Charterhouse is 10 kilometers outside Pisa. If you’re coming from the highway, the exit is Pisa Nord. Then follow the provincial road towards Calci. The directions lead directly to the Charterhouse parking a few meters from the entrance.
The museum is divided into 3 different sections: the Natural History Museum, the Aquarium, and the temporary exhibitions. The full ticket gives you access to the three for 14,00 €. Otherwise, you can book separate entries for 8,00 €. For more info check the museum’s ticket office.
Calci Charterhouse Natural History Museum
In the frame of beautiful historical buildings, the Natural History Museum is an inspiring immersion through minerals, animals, and archaeological finds. The historical gallery showcases the museum as it was at its beginnings. Antique furniture, documents, and even a Wunderkammer (Chamber of Wonders). The historical gallery has also one of the largest collections of stuffed animals, divided into three levels. The upper floor hosts the extraordinary cetaceans collection.
Next to the historical gallery, the Mythos and Fantastic Creatures temporary exhibition is a walk through the ancestral beliefs and myths from all around the world. It’s also a very fun area to take pictures with the creature’s mock-ups. From the Egyptian Gods to Dracula and werewolves there are monsters for everyone!
The freshwater aquarium section has more than 100 species, many very rare coming from all around the world. Situated in the cellar of the charterhouse the aquarium is divided into 5 areas. The first is home to the species coming from Lake Tanganyika, in Africa. The habitat of this lake is almost entirely endemic 98%, making it very important for studies on biological speciation. The second area runs along the evolution of fishes, from rays (cartilaginous) to polypterous which are living fossils. In the third area, we find koi carps, in all varieties and colors. To conclude, the fourth and fifth rooms are a showcase of the world’s biodiversity.
Want to see the Natural History Museum more in-depth? Check our virtual tour ↓
Calci Charterhouse National Museum
The Charterhouse was founded in 1366 by Carthusian monks. But its appearance changed through the centuries, especially in the XVII and XVIII centuries, achieving a baroque aspect. The last monks left the monastery in 1972. Since then, the buildings have been renovated and most recently they opened to the public.
If you want to visit the Charterhouse interiors, remember to ask to join a guided tour when booking the ticket for the Natural History Museum.
To conclude, you should visit Calci Charterhouse…
…If you are willing to spend a kid-friendly afternoon while visiting Pisa and its surroundings.
Are you looking for more inspiration while traveling in Tuscany? Did you know that two of the most colored villages in Tuscany are a few kilometers from Calci? And for your daily dose of travel don’t forget to follow @anitabeyondthesea on Instagram.
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