Can you skip Louvre in Paris, Prado in Madrid or MoMa in NYC? No, but sometimes I've found myself lost and looking for the exit.
These hidden museums around Emilia Romagna aren't landmarks, but deserve all your attention.
1. Museo Pelagalli - Mille suoni, mille luci (Bologna)
Like an old photo hidden in a book, Museo Pelagalli is a place to relive the past and bring back forgotten emotions.
A visit to this museum is a dive into the past, accompanied by sound, images and objects that have made the history of music, cinema, TV and radio. Inside you can find over 2000 original and working items ready to amaze those who enter into this temple of communication.
Everything is described in a unique way by Gianni Pelagalli, founder and owner of the museum. He entertains with all his passion for the exhibit, making the visit interactive and fun.
An exceptional and exciting heritage between colorful jukeboxes, radio stations by Guglielmo Marconi, the first models of black and white TV, the computer's evolution, several gramophones and much more.
Via Col di Lana, 7/N, 40131 Bologna
Tel +39 338 8609111 / +39 051 6491008
Guided tours on request
2. Museo di Palazzo Poggi (Bologna)
Known as the set of oddities, exotic beauties, animals and tools of various kind, Palazzo Poggi museum is born from the recreation of several laboratories of the ancient Institute of Sciences.
Palazzo Poggi is set in the heart of the university area of Bologna and hides many treasures: the Aldrovandi collection, the wunderkammer by Ferdinando Cospi, the naval models, the fortified city plans, the anatomical waxes.
In addition, over the years, it has also collected pictorial collections and it boasts numerous frescoes on the ceiling.
Each room is dedicated to different branches of human knowledge: from naturalistic collections to oriental ones, from modern age's geography to collections of anatomy and medicine.
Consider also a visit to Specola: the old astronomical observatory of Bologna. Not only for the stunning view you get from the roof.
Via Zamboni, 33, 40126 Bologna
Tel: +39 051 2099 610
3. Gelato Museum Carpigiani (Bologna)
Any gelato lovers out there?
This very sweet museum is your place. Here you can follow the stages of gelato in time and space, from the Egyptians to the present day, with a final surprise.
The large open space location exhibit original machines that have made the history of the Carpigiani company along with photos, historical documents, multimedia workstations and precious tools used to produce and preserve the authenticity of gelato.
If you are looking for an activity to do in Bologna with kids this is the first place on your list.
Via Emilia, 45, 40011 Anzola Emilia (BO)
Tel +39 051 6505306
4. Museo dell'Ocarina (Bologna)
Ocarina is a ten-hole terracotta flute with a typical goose shape, invented in Budrio in 1853 by a boy named Giuseppe Donati.
Ocarina museum tells the story of this curious instrument through photos, records, scores and lots of musical instruments.
Lots of rarities and strange pieces like the first handmade creations or the giant Korean ocarina.
In the same street, you find also the small and interesting puppets museum, a 18th-century amazing theatre, and a very good restaurant (Centro Storico).
Via Garibaldi, 35, 40054 Budrio BO
Tel. +39 051 692 8306
5. Museo delle figurine (Modena)
Museo delle Figurine was born within Panini Company in Modena, thanks to the passionate collecting work of the founder Giuseppe Panini.
Since 2006, the Museum offers an original exhibition, aimed at recreating a sort of great album of wonders.
Not only 500.000 modern figurines but also matchboxes, letterboxes, menus, small calendars and more from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present day.
A must for young and grown-up kids.
Corso Canalgrande, 103, 41121 Modena MO
Tel. +39 059 203 2919
6. Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano (Parma)
Everyone knows Parmigiano Reggiano, the eminent cheese mentioned in Boccaccio's Decameron to flavor maccheroni and ravioli. But do you know that exist a dedicated museum?
Its history is presented in a former cheese factory where are exhibit the ancient tools used for the production of milk such as the large copper bell boiler, the steam engine or the butter churn, instruments collected in the production area of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantua.
A hundred images and vintage photos illustrate the different aging of Parmigiano that you can also taste at the end of your visit.
Via Volta 5, 43019 Soragna (PR)
Tel: +39 0521 931800
7. Fondazione Magnani Rocca (Parma)
For art lovers is a magic place, an almost unknown museum that should be a must. The Magnani Rocca Foundation is a private collection of ancient and modern art founded in 1978 by Luigi Magnani, an art critic and collector.
It is housed in the Villa dei Capolavori, a neo-baroque building set in a beautiful century-old park populated by animals, together with paintings from Middle Age to 20th-century.
The best of nine centuries of art perfectly is presented by Tiziano, Van Dyck, Goya, Monet, Cézanne, De Chirico, Morandi and many others.
After the visit, you can stop there for lunch. Fattorie Canossa offers a great local cuisine in the old court of the Villa.
Via Fondazione Magnani Rocca, 4, 43029 Mamiano (PR)
Tel. +39 0521 848327
8. Museo Guatelli (Parma)
Common objects, even broken or damaged, can be art?
This hidden museum in Parma countryside answers the question.
Modest and recovered objects like hammers, scissors and tweezers cover the walls with geometric patterns and create a cinematic effect full of visual suggestions.
For years Ettore Guatelli collected these objects related to peasant life. Now they speak, silently, telling the stories of the peasants and their occupations, witnesses of an life almost disappeared.
Via Nazionale, 130, 43044 Ozzano Taro Collecchio (PR)
Tel. +39 0521 333601
9. Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche (Ravenna)
An evocative place, full of history and traditions, a unique museum of its kind.
Founded in 1908, it shows the art of ceramics in different ages and works coming from all over the world.
Important sections are dedicated to pre-Columbian America, classical Greece, Roman age, Middle East and Islamic ceramics. Contemporary art is represented by artists like Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Fontana.
This collection of rare and refined beauty has an academic facility for the ceramic sector with an exceptional library.
Moreover, you can join courses and workshops in which clay is worked, suitable for children too.
Viale Alfredo Baccarini, 19, 48018 Faenza (RA)
Tel: +39 0546697311
10. Museo del disco d'epoca (Forlì-Cesena)
Now that vinyl has a new life, it's good to know where it all began.
A young boy welcomes you in this unexplored museum full of rarities, set in Palazzo Ripa Marcosanti, a 17th-century house in Sogliano sul Rubicone.
Through your walk, you meet old but alive creatures like an ancient phonograph with cylindrical disks, a gramophone for 120RPM records, vintage turntables and old jukeboxes.
In this enchanting place, you find memorabilia like an autographed guitar belonging to Bruce Springsteen, extraordinary picture discs and a lot of archival material, like scores and librettos.
A place to get lost in time.
Piazza Garibaldi , 47030 Sogliano al Rubicone (FC)
Tel +39 366 3023594 / +39 388 1667113
Free entrance Open only on Sunday or on request.