UK and Italy skull travel tips!

May 24, 2012

This post is inspired by (and in answer to) a question we recently received on facebook.  If you havent followed us on there yet you can find us here… and the question thanks to fellow Craniophile Melissa (identity partly protected!)…

Of course we can Melissa!  There is freaking heaps!   Our list is by no means exhaustive, just a taste- so here goes:


1)  Wellcome Collection- Head here to see an engraved human phrenology skull, pictures of skulls, Roman skulls and trepanned skulls…  and it is free!  WIN!

2)  British musuem- Here you can see a crystal skull, skull fossils, pictures of skulls, animal skulls, human skulls, squished skulls- and our buddy down here… our close personal friend Tezcatlipoca, an Aztec God, complete with teeth!  WOO.

3)  Hunterian Museum- You’ll find this one at the Royal College of Surgeons (a cool place in itself).  It is essentially a surgical/medical museum so you will see a variety of historical medical bits and bobs, and of course- plenty of bones and skulls, including this guy who has crossed the boundry between creepy into pure awesome!  He did the reddit rounds not long ago so redditers might recognise him!

4)  Camden Markets- If you are getting sick of museums (surely not possible but just in case) check out the Camden Markets.  You might not find any genuine human skulls, but you will find plenty of cool clothes and accessories adorned with our favourite emblem!


1)  Any of the cemeteries… particularly Greyfriars Kirkyard.  The headstones are all adorned with awesome imagery, from memory the skulls represent something to do with the plague….

2)  National museum Scotland- a general museum but with some really awesome bits and pieces, including (not skull related but very cool) Dolly the sheep.

3)  Ghost Tour- not a place to see but a thing to do, Edinburgh has a heap of really fascinating ghost tours.  They will take you to see all the good skulls on tombs/stones which we mentioned earlier, as well as a few other ghostly and gruesome sights.  There are a few and they are easy to find as they generally have spruikers along the Royal Mile.


1)  Capuchin Crypt- This place is quite literally bursting at the seams with skulls- so much so that the pathway they have for you to walk along and look gets pretty congested, but its worth taking the time to go.  Bones of former monks are lining the walls and often modelled into scenes that give moral lessons.  A reminder of a time when skulls weren’t gross and death was celebrated rather than mourned, this place is a must go.  You got that Melissa?  Not a maybe, a must.

2) Catacombs- Some are not actually in Rome but a little bit out, there are tour buses that will take you there and get you entry to the catacombs as part of the tour.  The underground catacombs are like a maze and in some parts they are downright scary.  Its fascinating to see how small the holes for the bodies are- oh how we have grown!

3) Any of the Basilicas/churches- You will find a lot of imagery of death in most of the Basilicas around Rome, and if you look closely you will find some awesome skull statues/paintings hidden away.  A couple of our favourites are the floor releifs at the Santa Maria della Vittoria- also home to the famous Bernini statue ‘Ecstasy of St Teresa’.

Very sorry if this post is tl;dr but the combination of skulls and travel gets us very VERY excited here at Craniophiles!  If any one has any suggestions for Melissa or any other skull related travel tips or stories please share!


  1. Oh wow, thank you muchly! That will keep me busy in the weeks to come. I will keep you posted with photos and such on my skull hunting adventures 🙂 Cheers

  2. Fantastic! Now here is a challenge for craniophiles, where can we sight “artistic skulls” in Adelaide.

    • Good question Heather- but no challenge is too hard for Craniophiles!

      There are a couple of good skulls in Adelaide. Our favourites are at the SA musuem, where you can meet Max (a skeleton sitting on a chair); and the University of Adelaide, where they have the Hans Schoppe Pathology Museum (human specimens) and the Abbie Museum (animal specimens).

      Let us know if you go along and have a look!

  3. If you’re in Bologna, be sure to check out the collection at the Institute of Human Anatomy. Also worth a visit is the collection of anatomical waxworks at the Palazzo Poggi museum. Some pictures here:

    Ercole Lelli's anatomical waxworks, Palazzo Poggi

    • Thanks for the suggestion Scott- we will definitely head there if we are ever in Bologna!

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