The Egyptian Museum of Turin is the only museum other than the Cairo Museum that is dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture. Many international scholars, since the decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphs Jean-François Champollion, who came to Turin in 1824, spend much time pouring over the collections. It was Champollion who famously wrote, “The road to Memphis and Thebes passes through Turin”.
Placed (strangely enough) in Turin, Italy, the Museo Egizio is the sort of attraction one could easily lose a whole day in. Mummies, statues, sphinxes, ancient papyrus, funerary ornaments, painted linen, three separate copies of the Book of the Dead.
The first object to come to Turin, purchased by the Savoy King Carlo Emanuele I in 1630, was the Mensa Isiaca, a Roman production of an altar table in the Egyptianising style for an Isis temple cult outside of Egypt. It was probably produced in Rome. In 1724 King Vittorio Amedeo II founded the Museo della Regia Università di Torino in a palace of the University for the small Piedmontese antiquities collection. The altar table was the object that spurred King Carlo Emanuele III to commission the professor of botany, Vitaliano Donati in 1757 to acquire objects from Egypt that might explain the significance of the table. These subsequent additions, along with a small collection donated by Vittorio Amedeo II in 1723, were housed first in the university.
Six and half thousand objects are on display, whereas a further 26,000 objects are in storage. Much of this material is not on view because of the lack of display space, the conservation needs, and some objects are really only of interest to scholars and not to the general public (for example undecorated pottery, fragments of inscribed papyrus etc). However, we should take comfort in the fact much of the material not displayed is being studied by scholars from a number of disciplines and will be published eventually.
V. Accademia delle Scienze, 6
Telephon: +35 011 561 7776
From Tuesday to Sunday
8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
(last admission 6:30 p.m.)
Special openings: Monday, 9th April 2012; Monday, 16th April 2012; Monday, 30th April 2012.