Museum of Farneta Mo.Pa

Paleontological Exhibition of Farneta

Museo di Farneta Mo.Pa

The Mo.Pa museum, opened in July 2006, takes up the second floor of the building where there once was the primary school of Farneta and it is located a few meters from the evocative abbey of S. Maria Assunta. The old building has been completely refurbished by the municipality of Cortona in order to make the rooms designated as museum facilities available to the public.

At present the museum houses only a part of the huge collection of paleontological finds gathered over many years of study and research by Father Sante Felici, former priest of Farneta, who preserved the materials he had found little by little in the museum he liked to call "Home-made Museum", which was located next to the abbey.

Museo di Farneta Mo.Pa

All the exhibited items thus come from the collection gathered by Father Sante who, starting from the 1960s, found many fossils dating back to the Early Pleistocene (about a million years ago) in the countryside around Cortona. Most of the fossils were discovered and brought back to light during digging works to construct the A1 highway and the high-speed railway line when many sand caves were opened in Farneta. The museum arrangement was recently renovated and now a series of fossils of terrestrial vertebrates and freshwater shellfish, such as a Mammuthus meridionalis vestinus, a very big elephant generally taller than 3.5 m at the withers, a hippo (Hippopotamus antiquus), a rhino (Stephanorhinus etruscus), a deer (Pseudodama farnetensis ), a hyena (Pachycrocuta brevirostris) and equines (Equus stenonis and Equus stehlini), is displayed. These big mammals were living in the Valdichiana valley during the Quaternary Period, when it was characterised by a hot and dry climate and an environment made of savanna and woods.

There are also many fossils of sea shellfish that were found in the surroundings of Farneta and date back to the Pliocene, when most of the Tuscan territory was covered by seawater.

Museo di Farneta Mo.Pa

The exhibition is enriched with many panels describing the finds on display and the places where they were found, and tracing a geologic-paleontological framework of the area.

The fossils that were found in Farneta and are now displayed at the Mo.Pa museum thus represent a significant paleontological heritage, as it is attested by the studies carried out by many researchers. The high scientific value of this heritage is evidenced by a fauna unit called "Unità Faunistica Farneta" defined in 1977 (Azzaroli, 1977).

The "Don Sante Felici" Paleontological Route is a 5 km loop path winding amid the countryside around Farneta from the Mo.Pa museum to the Abbey of Santa Maria. Information panels and road signs lead tourists through the places where the fossils were found, bringing them back in time to feel a spirit of adventure and discovery. A branch road from the paleontological route allows reaching the so-called "Sentiero della Bonifica" which runs along canal Maestro della Chiana from Chiusi to Arezzo.

Museo di Farneta Mo.Pa

In 2016 the Mo.Pa museum will be open the first Sunday of every month 10 am-1 pm / 3 pm-6 pm. On all other days the museum will be only open upon reservation.

For further information about opening times, guided tours and educational tours to the Mo.Pa museum and the Abbey of Farneta, as well as trekking guided tours to the Paleontological Route, please contact the Association "Amici del Museo Fatto in Casa Don Sante Felici" at the following phone numbers: Mr. Moreno Bianchi c/o Hotel Farneta ph. +39 0575 610241, Mrs. Laura Gremoli ph. +39 349 4949604, Mr. Luca Rossato ph. +39 348 8026886 or send an email to: or go to