La Specola is a natural history museum located in Florence, Italy and is the oldest public museum in Europe. It’s a wonderful resource, intriguing, and overall a unique experience. Not only does it have a huge and exotic taxidermy collection (which even houses some extinct species), it has the largest wax anatomical collection. It started as a personal collection of the wealthy and powerful Medici family, and was then opened later to the public in 1775. I’ve personally had the privilege to visit this museum up close and in person and it was a very unique experience. I believe the museum is completely overlooked by the many tourists who visit Florence. Their anatomical wax collection was what was the most interesting to me. What is unique about these wax interpretations of the human body is that they were based off of real cadavers in an attempt to teach medical students about the inside of the body. This wax collection served a very significant purpose in its time, and now is on display for pretty much anybody who is interested. The anatomical depictions are extremely intricate and in some cases are incredibly realistic. It’s easy to feel light-headed when your surrounded by these bodies and body parts with their impressive details. Parts of the organs were cast, and all was hand painted. The process of making, measuring, painting, and varnishing these bodies was intense. Although my interest lied mostly in the wax collection, the taxidermy collection they have is just as superb. Birds, insects, mammals, reptiles, minerals, plants, just about anything you could come up with, were separated and categorized by 24 different rooms that would very well impress Darwin. There are a variety of species included and I included a picture of one of their most unique pieces of taxidermy, which is of an unprofessionally stuffed hippo. The hippo was actually one of the Medici’s (Cosimo III) pets. The pet used to live in the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace. My personal favorites were either the room full of birds including finches and the reptile room. The variations of finches are impressive and assorted in a neat order all of various sizes, beak sizes and shapes, and of course highly saturated colors. Seeing it all up close and in person is much more spectacular, believe me, than the pictures I attached that I could find. The taxidermy collection actually has pieces from all around the world, so you’re bound to run across various species you are not familiar with. The taxidermy and wax collections are both excellent resources even for a variety of artists. You can find sometimes among the visitors people sketching whatever they find intriguing. Yet even then among Florence’s wide variety of tourist attractions, La Specola would remain one of the most empty, next to the Galileo Exhibit. However, there is some type of charm to that, a treasure that is overlooked, and that reveals its wonderful curiosities to whomever is willing to step inside. The medical oddities are relevant for those who are most morbidly curious.