Cesare Lombroso founded the Italian school of criminology, which believed criminality was inherited, and that someone “born criminal” could be identified by physical defects. This theory was rejected throughout most of Europe but accepted in the United States during the 19th century. Even though Lombroso’s ideas are now viewed as outdated, Italy’s contribution to the world of criminology (the scientific study of the nature, extent and causes of criminal behavior in both the individual and in society) is recognized at the Museo Criminologico in Rome.
The tiny but gruesome three-story museum is packed with different facets of Italian crime and punishment from 16th century implements of torture to modern-day counterfeits, like fake Picassos. And even Criminologist Lombroso lives on at the museum, but not exactly how you’d expect. His head is perfectly preserved in a bottle of formaldehyde for all to see. If that’s not enough for you, there are also images and dioramas of crimes and torture; weapons used to slaughter humans; imposing guillotines; the iron sarcophagi equipped with internal thorns; and the famous Milazzo Cage, a body-shaped iron cage, that used to be hung on the outside of a castle with the body of a mutilated criminal inside of it. Humans are savages, I tell ya…savages!!!