Museo Ornitologico [Ornithological Museum]
The specimens in the collection were gathered between 1866 and 1911 on behalf of Marchesa Marianna Panciatichi Ximenes d'Aragona Paolucci, an illustrious Florentine malacologist and amateur ornithologist who, in 1927, donated them to the Commune of San Gimignano. A good part of these specimens came from the estate of Villa del Monte, where two bird snares had been set up with nets for capturing birds attracted by decoys.
The taxidermic preparation of the birds was entrusted to Riccardo Magnelli, taxidermist of the Specola Museum in Florence, while other specimens were stuffed by Dal Nero, the famous taxidermist from Verona who had prepared the birds belonging to the Arrigoni degli Oddi collection, one of the world's most beautiful and most complete, now found at the Zoological Civic Museum in Rome. Arrigoni, the grandson of Marchesa Paolucci, actively collaborated in arranging the collection at San Gimignano, donating numerous specimens and providing consultation in case of birds of uncertain attribution.
The original collection was formed of 1260 specimens. There have remained 696, belonging to 253 different species. The current display, composed of 371 specimens, has been housed since 1990 in the small church of San Francesco, and is managed by the University of Siena Department of Environmental Biology and the National Institute of Wildlife Biology.
Texts by Antonella Gozzoli
English translation by Catherine Frost
Last update 25/feb/2008