Pasta Museum, Rome
This is an archived page - the Pasta Museum is, at the time of writing, closed and may open in a new location. check the website (link on the right) for the latest information.
One of Rome's more obscure tourist destinations, this museum is for visitors with a devouring interest in Italy's most important foodstuff.
The Pasta Museum (Museo Nazionale delle Paste Alimentari or Museo della Pasta) is entirely devoted to pasta: its history, production, nutritional values and consumption. Display boards are in Italian, but a good English audio-guide takes visitors through the museum's displays, which are spread through several rooms over two floors.
As well as copious amounts of information about everything from types of wheat to optimum cooking times, the exhibits here also include pasta-making machines from different eras and pasta-related artwork, both historic and modern. Much of the information is more detailed and technical than the average punter requires, though doubtless fascinating to serious pasta buffs. However, the basics of pasta production are interesting enough, and some of the materials on display
Highlights of the museum include many Neapolitan scenes of humble 'maccheroni-eaters' stuffing pasta into their mouths at roadside stalls, always without cutlery. There are also some interesting mentions of pasta from historic writings, although sadly these aren't all translated into English. Collections of early photographs show pasta hanging out to dry in the streets, and after some detailed diagrams and drawings (such as a cross-section of spaghetti during the cooking process), the visitor reaches
sections of modern artwork and theorising, for real pasta aficionados. There is an ornamental 'pasta theatre', as well as political pasta propoganda insisting 'hope lies in pasta', alongside praise for pasta suggesting a pasta-based diet could cure the world's ills. And even a poster of a philanthropic pasta cannon.
The museum is open every day of the week, from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Entrance costs a rather steep €10, with reductions for children. The address is Piazza Scanderbeg 117, in the little lanes in the centre of Rome, not far from the Trevi Fountain.