Read more

Silvio Zavatti Polar Museum

Silvio Zavatti (Forlì 1917 – Ancona 1985) was an Italian explorer, politician and anthropologist. During the war, in his position as a naval officer, he was assigned to the Marche region where he was assistant professor of Geography at the University of Urbino and became director of Civitanova Marche Civic Library. It was in this city that in 1969 he set up the first, and to this day, the only museum in Italy dedicated to polar environments and people and Italian polar Arctic research. The exhibition features all the scientific material he collected during his expeditions. Zavatti had already founded the Polar Geographical Institute in Forlì in 1944, of which the museum itself, bridging the regions of Emilia-Romagna and the Marche, is an integral part. In 1985, the year of his death, the collection was donated to the municipality of Fermo, and in 1993 the new museum was inaugurated in Villa Vitali, which housed the city’s Scientific Museums. Following the earthquake that struck the Marche and Umbria in 2016, the museum was relocated to Palazzo Paccaroni.

The Polar Museum is the only one in Italy and the third in the world that presents the Arctic from both a geo-morphological and a purely anthropological point of view, showing the peculiarities of the people that inhabited those lands at the time of its explorations.

The Rooms

The museum spans six exhibition rooms:

Room I welcomes visitors with the fascinating reconstruction of an Arctic camp and the system of crates and objects that constituted the equipment which Zavatti used to tackle his journeys to the Poles.

After Room I, where organisation of a polar expedition and the great feat of the Duke of the Abruzzi and his “Stella Polare” are presented, Room II continues to tell the story of great polar explorations, with the feats of General Umberto Nobile and the scientific expeditions of Silvio Zavatti.

In Room III, a life-size polar bear fur (measuring 3.2 x 2.8 metres), purchased by the Friends of the Polar Museum Association, can be admired. The two display cabinets contain the remains of various Arctic and Antarctic animals and several geological finds, including narwhal teeth, beluga, wolverine, husky dog and Arctic fox skulls, sperm whale teeth and baleen whalebones, as well as various seal and Arctic fox skins.

Room IV of the Polar Museum houses the maps that Zavatti used in his explorations, as well as collections donated by illustrious figures, including polar explorer Jean Malaurie, philatelist Lino Brillarelli and ethnologist Luciana Gabbrielli.

Room V presents the Inuit, inhabitants of the North Pole, the natives of the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia with whom Zavatti came into contact. Descended from ancient Central Asian populations, around thirty thousand years ago they migrated throughout the Arctic and sub-Arctic area until they reached Greenland in the east, present-day Quebec in the north and Labrador.

Room VI contains other objects that testify to the culture, traditions, worship and art forms of the Inuit. Zavatti was deeply impressed by this people, who lived under the principles of equality and solidarity between villages. Their society had no particular hierarchies: at the heart of their social organisation was freedom of choice, but always with respect for other members of the group.

An important entry in the world’s great encyclopaedia

In collecting and bearing witness to their history, Silvio Zavatti helped to write a very important page in the world’s great encyclopaedia, a task to which all men of courage and passion for knowledge are called.