Museo di Speleologia Luigi Fantini

Useful Information

Location: Piazza VII Novembre 1944, 7, 40122 Bologna BO.
(44.50229615462625, 11.333340113087555)
Open: All year Thu evening.
Due to Corona only by appointment.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaSubterranea Museum
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: only the ground floor
Address: Museo di Speleologia Luigi Fantini, Piazza VII Novembre 1944, 7, 40122 Bologna BO, Tel: +39-0, Fax: +39-0, E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1932 Speleological Library of the Association founded.
1962 start of magazine Sottoterra.
1964 start of magazine Speleologia Emiliana.
1965 GSB Historical Archive (1932-1961) donated to the Group by Luigi Fantini.
1990 collaboration with the IBACN of the Emilia-Romagna Region.
1994 Prof. Raimondi and Pisauri propose the establishment of the Luigi Fantini Museum and Library.
1995 exhibition organized at Palazzo Re Enzo on the occasion of the 100th birthday of Luigi Fantini.
2018 new rooms, museum renovated and extended.


The Museo di Speleologia "Luigi Fantini" (Luigi Fantini Speleology Museum, MuS) is a speleological exhibition at Bologna, which was created by the speleological group GSB-USB. It is intended as a point of reference for the conservation of speleological equipment used from the 1930s to today. The exhibition includes helmets, suits, belts, carbide cylinders, relief materials, and lighting systems. Many of those objects are unique, as they are self-built or modified for the purpose by generations of speleologists. Then there is a vast speleological library and an archive of the 20th century speleological activities in and around Bologna. In addition to the exhibition part there is an educational laboratory.

The MuS lent its historical caving equipment to the movie Il Buco by director Michelangelo Frammartino. It tells the story of the exploration of the Bifurto Abyss in Calabria in 1961. The movie was shown on the 78th Venice Film Festival.

The museum started as a mineralogical collection of the Unione Speleologica Bolognese (USB). a result of speleological activities between 1957 and 1970. In 1970 the Italian Speleological Society promoted a vast campaign for a drastic reduction in sampling, even for scientific use. As a result in 1979 it was decided to stop any sampling from the caves and the collection was not further extended. This mineral collection was displayed in the second floor of the Cassero di Porta Lame.

The museum was named after the caver and scientist Luigi Fantini. Between 1942 and 1961 Fantini made a census of springs in the Bolognese territory. He also wrote numerous reports on his explorations between 1932 and 1960. On the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1965 he donated his entire correspondence and the originals of his reports to the Gruppo Speleologico Bologna (GSB) Historical Archive.

The caving club GSM-USB is a non-profit organization and as such the Municipality of Bologna assigned them premises to them for use as a club headquarter. This was a part of the historic Cassero di Porta Lame, which is owned by the municipality. It's the place where they store material and make their meetings. It was quite obvious to create the Speleology Museum in 1995 at this location, in the second floor with the mineral collection. But the Museum was opened to the public only by appointment, which was the reason that there were only 100 visitors per year. But at some point the GSB-USB have multiplied their public initiatives, especially conferences and projections on environmental and speleological issues. As a result they were frequently listed in the annual reports communicated to the Municipality of Bologna. Finally, the Municipality of Bologna granted the USB new space on the ground floor, on the other side of the gate, which is accessible by wheelchair. The opportunity was used to reorganize and renovate the museum, and in 2018 the new museum was opened to the public. A lot of the archive was digitized and is available online, and included in the national Speleoteca platform. The museum has been recognized by the IBC (sistema informativo partecipato degli Archivi storici in Emilia-Romagna) and is registered in the list of museums of Bologna. It is now open once per week and visitor numbers have increased substantially.

The Porta delle Lame or simply Porta Lame was a gate of the outer medieval walls of the city of Bologna. The gate was built together with the medieval walls in 1334, and had two drawbridges, one for carriages, and the other for pedestrians. It was rebuilt in 1677 in a Baroque style by the architect Agostino Barelli. The most recent restoration was between 2007 and 2009. The mediaval city wall has been demolished long ago, but the gate remains and is today located in the center of a roundabout on the Piazza VII November 1944 at the end of Via Lame, where it meets via Zanardi. The entrance to the museum is inside the gate, on both sides of the passage. The director of the museum is Paolo Forti, the person responsible for the year 2020 is Nevio Preti.