In Italy there are many museums which adopt sustainable practices. Discover with us 10 unmissable eco-friendly museums to visit during your green holidays.

Museums are among the public buildings responsible for the greatest waste of energy. Environmental responsibility and attention to the use of green practices have led to the creation of many eco-friendly museums. Whether it is bioarchitecture or adherence to small precautions such as energy saving or the installation of photovoltaic panels, eco-sustainable museums allow you to integrate culture with sustainability. Let’s discover 10 eco-friendly museums to visit during your next green holidays.

1. MuSe, Trento

MuSe Trento
MuSe, Trento, photo of Roberto Nova, Archivio Muse

The MuSe, inaugurated in Trento in 2013, is an eco-sustainable museum known all over Italy and worldwide. Located in the Le Albere district, where the former factory Michelin had been requalified, the Science Museum of Trento, designed by the famous Genoese architect Renzo Piano and his studio Renzo Piano Building Workshop obtained LEED Gold certification on 13 June 2013, issued by the Green Building Certification Institute of Washington DC. The MuSe is the first Italian sustainable museum that received this certification.

Construction techniques and energy saving, as well as a wide use of renewable sources, are fundamental aspects for the museum. The choice of eco-sustainable materials and the methods of construction were also very important, as well as the design of transport services that discouraged the use of private vehicles in favor of green mobility. The structure is spread over five floors plus a basement and a tropical greenhouse that interprets planetary biodiversity.

MuSe, exhibition spaces
Museum’s exhibition spaces, photo of Matteo De Stefano, Archivio MuSe

In the museum there are photovoltaic and geothermal panels. Moreover, the system of installations for the operation of the building is centralized and mechanized. A sophisticated system of curtains controlled by temperature sensors is managed automatically to reduce irradiation in the summer hours and facilitate it during the winter days. Natural lighting and ventilation, in some spaces, allow the reduction of consumption and the creation of more comfortable environments. The plant system also makes use of measures that increase forms of energy saving. In fact, the cistern system for rainwater recovery can achieve water savings five times larger than other similar buildings.

2. Mart, Rovereto

Mart's cupola, eco-friendly museums
Mart’s cupola, the symbol of Rovereto, photo of Rachele Carloni

Near Trento, in Rovereto, it is possible to visit the Mart, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Its collection is extremely rich and varies from Futurism to Metaphysical Art, from “Arte Povera” to Conceptual Art, up to the most recent experiments. In addition, the museum organizes large thematic exhibitions every year. The Mart’s headquarters are located between two 18th century palaces, in a building designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta with the collaboration of the Rovereto engineer Giulio Andreolli.

As for sustainability, the Mart has a special lighting control software that brings savings of 25% on the electricity bill.

Mart Rovereto
Mart Rovereto, photo of Jacopo Salvi

In addition, on 24 October 2014 the Mart hosted the conference “Turismo Sostenibile & Expo 2015“. This was the first zero impact conference in the Mart museum. Since that date, both companies and public bodies have been able to organize CO2-zero events and conferences within the Mart. The emissions produced for the realization of the conferences have been totally compensated with reforestation projects that have both social and environmental value. The Mart was therefore the first museum in Italy to offer this service, with the intention of transmitting a signal of attention to environmental issues, also with regard to concrete daily choices at a meeting or an event. The Mart not only compensates for emissions but promotes suggestions of sustainable good practices. For example, one of the suggestions is to reach the museum by train.

3. Plessi Museum, Autostrada del Brennero

Plessi Museum
Plessi Museum via

After hours of driving on the highway, why not take a break in a museum? That’s right, along the Autostrada del Brennero you can stop for a cultural break! The Plessi Museum was inaugurated in 2013 and is the first example in Italy of a museum on the highway.

The architectural complex, covering a surface area of ​​13,000 square meters, represents a formal and functional experimentation for transforming a traditional rest area into a place dedicated to culture. The museum hosts videos, drawings, and installations by Fabrizio Plessi, one of the leading figures of international contemporary art. In addition to the works, Plessi has also designed the internal settings of the structure.

Plessi Museum, eco-friendly museums
Plessi Museum, photo via

The purpose of the Plessi Museum is to make the motorway stop an opportunity to live an extraordinary cultural experience. The aim is to remind us that beauty and art can also be found where less is expected. The structure therefore represents an important resource for the territory and an instrument for its enhancement.

This cultural initiative is part of a series of interventions and projects that Autobrennero is implementing to make motorway traveling an occasion for living meaningful experiences in contact with the culture of the territories along the way.

4. Explora, nonprofit children’s museum, Rome

Explora, eco-friendly museums
Explora, photo of Explora Museo dei bambini di Roma via flickr

Families with children on holiday in Rome can live an alternative and sustainable experience at Explora, a museum dedicated to children that does not receive public funding for its management, except through regional, national and, international calls in which it participates. Explora’s mission is to:

  • encourage the natural desire for learning that is in every child with stimulating and entertaining proposals for different age groups;
  • offer parents and children the opportunity to live together this particular and fascinating experience, which allows the child to grow and the adult to become a child again.

For Explora, attention to environmental sustainability is a fundamental aspect. In fact, two photovoltaic systems in the museum produce 40 thousand kWh of clean electricity every year.

Sustainable Fishing

Sustainable Fishing, Explora, eco-friendly museums
Explora, Sustainable Fishing

In collaboration with Findus, Explora made Sustainable Fishing. It is an interactive exhibit to discover and experience the preservation of the marine environment. The path stems from the desire to promote the theme of sustainable fishing by raising children’s awareness in an innovative way, through the learning-by-doing approach.

The aim is to teach children the three fundamental principles of the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), the most important organization in the field of protection of marine ecosystems and sustainable fishing. According to the three principles, fishing should:

  • leave enough fish in the sea to allow them to reproduce, so that the activity can continue over time;
  • be carried out in such a way as to minimize its impact, allowing marine flora and fauna to thrive;
  • be managed by companies responsibly and in compliance with applicable laws.

In this way, children can learn through play about the need to safeguard fish stocks, the impact on the marine ecosystem and compliance with regulations.

5. Ecomuseum Terra del Castelmagno, Grana Valley

Castelmagno, photo of Chandarfei via flickr

The Grana Valley is located in Piedmont and is the home of the famous and renowned Castelmagno cheese. In this territory we find the Ecomuseum Terra del Castelmagno, a museum born in 2007 with the desire to restore ancient connecting routes, highlight places, enhance and discover traditional activities. This territory is little known but has expertly enhanced and integrated the places of production of the cheese that have characterized the economy of the area. The Pradleves dairy is the heart of the ecomuseum, where the ancient processing areas house cheese production laboratories.

The goal was to create an integrated project, aimed not only at the world of Castelmagno, but also at all those activities that characterize the economy of the valley: architecture, woodworking, the extraction of slates, the cultivation and grinding of cereals and chestnuts, forges and the old hydroelectric plant.

Grana Valley
Grana Valley, photo of federico ulisse via flickr

The ecomuseum tells the story of the land as a soil, as a surface, but also as a place where Occitan culture, styles and lifestyle habits still live. The link with the territory therefore comes with pride and awareness.

In addition to all this, it is possible to go through various bicycle routes, which wind through the immaculate agricultural environment of the valley between orchards, pastures, chestnut woods, dandelion meadows to discover other places of memory and production, such as Cascina Rosa, traditionally linked to the silkworm and dedicated to the production of organic honey.

6. MMM Corones, Plan de Corones

MMM Corones, Plan de Corones, eco-friendly museum
MMM Corones, photo of Luca Scaramuzza via flickr

Located on the Plan de Corones (2275 m), the MMM Corones is the sixth and last of the Messner Mountain Museums and it is dedicated to traditional mountaineering.

The idea for the museum was born to use the ski lifts and infrastructures located on Plan de Corones, one of the best-known mountains in South Tyrol, all year round. The view from the building is breathtaking and the gaze sweeps in all four cardinal directions. The protagonists of this project, the incomparable architect and designer Zaha Hadid and the world-renowned mountaineer Reinhold Messner, wanted to create a unique architectural work, as well as a real attraction for the region.

MMM Corones, eco-friendly museums
MMM Corones, photo of Aydin Hassan via flickr

Plan de Corones is an intensely anthropized mountain and therefore the museum does not fit into an intact environmental context. On the contrary, it tries to make the most of the existing infrastructure throughout the year. Reinhold Messner said that: “being sustainable does not only mean preserving an unspoiled nature, but also that nature which has been shaped by human activities over the millennia, as happens in South Tyrol, a region that owes much of its charm to human activity in harmony with the landscape.

Still about sustainability, on 23 July 2016, during the museum’s opening ceremony, the architect Luca Devigili handed the ClimateHouse certification to the President of Skirama Plan de Corones, Dr. Matthias Prugger. MMM Corones is therefore the first Class-A museum in Italy.

7. Ecomuseum of Gorno Mines

Gorno from above
Gorno from above, photo via

We are now in Gorno, in an unspoiled valley in the province of Bergamo. The main activity of the Gorno community has been mining for many centuries. The mining world has always been strongly linked to the rural one, to the mountain pastures and to the management of the forest. The miners outside the tunnel looked after the beasts, made cheese for the family, went for wood and herbs.

You can explore all the facets of the valley by visiting the Ecomuseum of Gorno Mines. Its main objective is to strengthen the bond of the local community with its roots. Moreover, research, preservation, and enhancement of culture and territory are the focus of the museum.

Gorno Mines
Gorno Mines, photo of maubot1112 via flickr

There are 4 topics along the ecomuseum itineraries to enhance this rich cultural and landscape heritage:

  1. mines and miners
  2. territory and nature
  3. history, tradition and faith
  4. old villages and fountains

The Mining Museum of Gorno was set up exclusively with original materials, given by private villagers or recovered from former mining sites, thus saving it from disappearance.

8. Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, Florence

Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, eco-friendly museums
Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, photo of Merche Pérez via flickr

The last ecomuseum we suggest you visit is the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, in Florence. That’s right, even fashion can do its part for environmental sustainability. In 2016, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum became the first green company museum in Italy, obtaining the ISO 14064 certification, linked to the reporting of CO2 emissions related to its activities. In recent years, the museum has obtained other certifications for its green approaches, with the aim of addressing sustainability issues through fashion and art.

Sustainable Thinking

The Sustainable Thinking exhibition tells about sustainable fashion with a narrative journey between sculptures, clothes, shoes, and compositions, with the aim of giving an artistic touch to the theme. The exhibition was an idea of Stefania Ricci, director of the museum and of the Ferragamo Foundation. It is a set of works by artists and fashion designers in which the reference to natural fabrics is the main element. In 2019, the exhibition obtained the ISO 20121 Certification, which defines the requirements of a Management System for the sustainable organization of events. The design and construction phases were fundamental, as well as the choice of local suppliers and the integration of the concepts of environmental sustainability, recovery, and reuse.

Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, "EQUILIBRIUM"
Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, “EQUILIBRIUM”, photo of BcnCoolHunter via flickr

Rainbow Future and the collaboration between Ferragamo and Orange Fiber

In 2018, Rainbow Future, reinterpretation of the iconic 1938 Rainbow sandal, obtained the ISO 14067 Certification, by virtue of which it is possible to quantify the emissions due to its realization and compensate them through reforestation projects, thus making the sandal “carbon neutral”.

The collaboration between Salvatore Ferragamo and Orange Fiber was also of fundamental importance for the world of sustainability. In fact, there was a production of a collection of clothes and accessories with the scent of Sicily, made with the fabric obtained from the scraps of oranges.

Responsible fashion can therefore become a new artistic form to admire and to aim towards.

A green holiday to discover the best eco-friendly museums in Italy

Do you want a cultural and at the same time sustainable holiday? This is possible by visiting the eco-friendly museums that we have recommended and the cities that host them!

Book now with Ecobnb, choosing from hundreds of green accommodations in Italy to make your holiday sustainable and unforgettable!

Cover Image: MuSe, photo via pixabay

Author: Giada De Bernardis

Hi! My name is Giada and I'm 24 years old. I was born and raised in Genoa, but I currently live in Trento. Thanks to my passion for travel I started to lead a more sustainable and respectful lifestyle towards the environment around us. I think it is essential to create awareness of the importance of holidays in harmony with nature, and I would like to be able to share my ideas with as many people as possible!
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