World’s sh*ttiest museum opens in Italy

Italy is famed for museums filled with art and treasures from centuries ago, and now the country is hosting an exhibition dedicated entirely to the history of poo.

World's sh*ttiest museum opens in Italy
The Museo Della Merda will run from May to August. Photo: MDM

If you’re curious to learn all about human and animal excrement, then pop along to the Museum of Shit, which is being hosted at a farm in a hamlet of Castelbosco, in Piacenza province. The people behind the exhibition swear they're not just doing it for shits and giggles, but claim there's a serious purpose behind it.

We initially thought the story was nothing but a pile of crap, but a source at AR.CH.IT, an architecture firm founded by one of the curators, Luca Cipelletti, confirmed that it was true. 

The idea was inspired by Gianantonio Locatelli, who runs the farm in Castelbosco, where the animals are said to produce 100,000 kilos of dung a day

Instead of letting the poop go to waste, Locatelli transformed it into a futuristic ecological and industrial project, according to the details of a press release.

The show, which was launched at Milan's Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology on Monday, documents the history of excrement, from how it’s been used in construction in far-flung corners of the world, to the benefits that recycling it brings.

The “modern-day and yesteryear experiences” on display will teach people “what a useful and living substance crap really is”, according to the press release.

Dung beetles, which survive partly or entirely on animal dung and were considered divine by Egyptians, will also be present. The beetle also features in the museum’s logo.

“Few phenomena are so rich in material and conceptual complexity as the cultural history of shit,” the press release continues.

The Shit Museum is described as an “agency for change” and a research institute that “houses documents and information on excrement in culture, technology and history.”

The exhibition will be open on Saturday and Sunday, by appointment only, between May and August.

The museum might be a first for Italy, but it’s not the first in the world to host an exhibit of a similar nature. Last year, Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science ran a show called ‘Toilet!? Human Waste & Earth’s Future’. 

The show, which supplied visitors with poop-shaped hats, aimed to teach people about human feces and how the toilet works, as well as draw attention to the 2.5 billion people in the world who don’t have access to clean loos. Children were also able to slide down giant toilets.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]