The Museo malacologico Malakos houses the largest private malacological collection in Europe made up of 600,000 specimens of more than 15,000 species, put together throughout his career by Professor Gianluca Bini, the biologist Florentine by birth, but “tifernates” by adoption.
The exhibiting itinerary unravels itself throughout the rooms of the ground floor of Villa Capelletti and is designed as an exploratory journey of the world via shells from all the seas. The specimens exhibited in the display cases of the museum will help us to discover not only how shells are made, but also what the shellfish that build them eat, how they move, how they reproduce and the present risks for marine life.
The section of biology introduces some molluscs to the world with their many peculiarities; the palaeontology room provides information about the past of the invertebrates, like the known ammonites, whilst the biogeography rooms depict the fauna and life habits of every sea, the mangroves and the abyssal zones, curious specimens like land snails of decidedly extra large dimensions and deadly poisonous marine predators. In the process of being set up is an ethnomalacology room, dedicated to ethnological products made with shells.
Inside, Malakos also hosts the reconstruction of a coral reef, made up of materials seized by the State Forest Body, with endemic and rare species, and species at risk of extinction. The museum, run by the non-profit Malakos Association, has a small library and hosts workshops for children and adults of all ages, dedicating special attention to the little ones, for which a “babyhabitat” area has been set up.
The museum collection is a focal point for CNR-ISMAR in Bologna and for Italy; it is available to specialised academics from the field, students and interested visitors.
Malakos museum is housed in the villa of the Marquis Gioacchino Capeletti (1876-1969), built around the second half of the sixteenth century by the Tifernate Vitelli family as a country residence close to the Tiber river.
Capelletti was born in Rieti and had amassed a vast collection of railway modelling in the villa that he decided to leave in inheritance to the Cassa di Risparmio bank of Città di Castello, together with his residency and the surrounding buildings, to be used by the public.
Museo malacologico Malakos, along with the Centro delle tradizioni popolari “Livio Dalla Ragione”, is part of the Garavelle museum complex.