Criminology Museum (Museo Criminologico) - Former Juvenile Prison (Carcere Minorile)

"Criminology Museum (Museo Criminologico) - Former Juvenile Prison (Carcere Minorile)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Sunday 5th June 2011

Criminology Museum, Former Juvenile Prison (Carcere Minorile)

The Museum of Criminology was founded in 1931 by the Minister of Justice Alfredo Rocco and was initially set up in the seventeenth century building of the Palazzo delle Carceri Nuove (New Prisons) in Via Giulia and moved to the adjacent former juvenile prison (Palazzo del Carcere Minorile) in Palazzo del Gonfalone in 1975. At present it is a seat of Museo Criminologico (Criminology Museum). It was erected by G.Valadier in 1825-1827, as a jail for minor criminals transferred here from the prison at Ospizio di S.Michele.

In 1975 the museum, which would later be known as the Criminology Museum, was set up in Palazzo del Gonfalone, an edifice dating to 1827 that was built by Pope Leo XII as a reformatory for minors who were transferred from the Clementine Prison located in the Apostolic Hospice of San Michele. (Morichini, 1870)

It originally consisted of three sections; the Museum was supposed to collect the objects of major relevance regarding criminality and make them available to scholars, from the instruments of torture to the material evidences. Therefore instruments of death, such as the imposing guillotines, and of di torture, such as the iron sarcophagi equipped with internal thorns and the cages shaped like a human body are exhibited.

Next to them are arms and pistols used for famous crimes and also the peculiar red cloak of the most legendary executioner in Rome, Mastro Titta. In the nineties the theme-separation system was replaced by a historical-cultural itinerary divided in three periods. The history of the prison institution and of the penitentiary reform are also presented in parallel with the history of the evolution of crime.

The limited capacity of the forty cells, which obliged the prison authorities to send the youths to the adjacent Palazzo delle Carceri Nuove (Building of the New Prisons), led Pope Pius IX to look for a new building to house the reformatory. Thus the one built by Pope Leo was abandoned and in 1854 the inmates were transferred to S. Balbina that had a hundred and fifty places.

After remaining empty for a few years, the building in Via del Gonfalone housed the State Archive for a period, and was finally bought by the Prison Administration in 1967. Work began on converting the edifice to a museum in 1972, which opened in 1975.

The unrest during those years led the Prison Administration to permit only authorized visitors to enter the museum, a condition which, combined with an ever dwindling interest in conserving the history of the Prison Administration, resulted in the Criminology Museum gradually being abandoned.

Criminology Museum (Museo Criminologico) - Former Juvenile Prison (Carcere Minorile)
Via del Gonfalone, 29
Near Piazza Farnese and Campo dei Fiori
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Ponte (Via Coronari-Ponte Vittorio) (Roma centro)
Criminology Museum (Museo Criminologico) - Former Juvenile Prison (Carcere Minorile) is Shown By "Map H Zone" As "29"
Bus: 23 - 116 - 116T - 280 - 870
Hours: Tue-Sat 9am-1pm. Tue and Thur 2.30pm-6.30pm. Closed Monday, Sunday and holidays.
Entrance Fee: Single ticket: €2.00 Free visit for under 18, over 60, authorized guides, employed in the Ministry of Justice, Police force and journalists. Schools accompanied by teachers have free entrance and must book the visit by fax or by email. Catalogue 10 €.
Telephone: 0039 06 68899442, 0668300234, +39 06 66591338 (Scientific Director)
Fax: 0039 06 68215347 - 06 6892870

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