The History

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One of the most exciting private museums in Europe, Museo Nicolis in Verona tells the story of twentieth century technology and international design.

Museo Nicolis exhibits the treasures of Made in Italy and international mechanics in an itinerary that, hall after hall, presents valuable and plentiful collections that vary from cars, motorbikes and historical bicycles, to cameras and typewriters, musical instruments and even a few aeroplanes.

Besides being an unmissable stopover for tourists, machine-lovers and the curious, with its absolutely unique exhibits, Museo Nicolis is also a symbol of innovation and development and plays an active role within Museimpresa (Italian Association of Archive and Museum Companies).

The Museum owes its foundation to the enormous passion of Luciano Nicolis for collecting unique technical and mechanical items. A collection that represents the history of life and that obtained its first 6000 square-metre exhibition area when it opened in 2000. A Car, Engineering and Mechanics Museum based on historical technology all housed inside an ultra-modern and entirely accessible building. His treasures are subdivided into eight different collections in order to provide an organized and structured itinerary to suit every visitor.

It houses 10 collections, whose numbers are incredible: 200 cars, 110 bicycles of the great champions, 100 motorbikes, 500 cameras and movie cameras, 100 musical instruments and jukeboxes, 100 typewriters, 100 Formula 1 steering wheels and turing steering wheels but also small airplanes and instruments, a military area with relics of First and Second World War, models of cars, motorbikes and trains, and original works of human talent. On one side of the exhibition building the museum provides a Meeting Center, the “Room of Ideas”, tourist activities, a Documentation Center, a Library and a one of the best stocked Bookstore concerning the motoring world.

Museo Nicolis is a “unicum” in its category and it is considered a symbol of modern enterprise culture. The Nicolis family have been recycling raw and secondary material for over 80 years. It all began in 1934 when the grandfather Francesco Nicolis, a very clever man, who paid attention in saving money, decided to collect what people were wasting: recovered paper. With the help of his son Luciano  the company rapidly grew up. The new generation, in a few years, was able to give a further improvement transforming from the 60’s the company into a corporate group. Today the Nicolis group is the leader in Europe in recycling paper and a referent point in international environment policies. Luciano Nicolis’ insight led him to find jewels where others only saw scrap and favoured the recovery and restoration of some extraordinary exhibits, giving back to the world a cultural patrimony which otherwise might have been lost forever.

Among the most incredible items at Museo Nicolis, particularly relevant are the “Motrice Pia”, the first petrol-driven engine patented by the Veronese Enrico Bernardi in 1882, the mythical Isotta Fraschini of 1929 (celebrated by films like “Sunset Boulevard” and illustrious personalities like Tsar Alexander, Rudolph Valentino, Isadora Duncan), the Lancia Astura 1000 Miglia (the only model in the World) that was built for Luigi Villoresi, and many other two- and four-wheels jewels.

The talent of its founder is only a part of the success of the Museum; its driving force is, in fact, the entrepreneurial spirit of Silvia Nicolis, the founder’s daughter, whose aim is that of promoting culture and expressing the value of the territory without neglecting her entrepreneurial vocation. For this reason the management of the structure is assigned to a restricted number of professional and skilled partners. The Museo Nicolis also promotes the dialogue with institutions, enterprises, medias and cinema.


The design of the building that houses the Nicolis collection envisaged the creation of an architectural structure with free floors: the internal rooms can be arranged freely, adapting to the functional needs of the museum exhibition. The large glass facades allow light to enter the interior spaces of this modern building at will.

The articulation of the building and its orientation allow for a continuous change of perspective during the approach and the possibility of frontal views of the facades from different observation points. One of the most significant characterizations of the visual impact is also given by a large covered gallery which marks the central pedestrian access to the Museum. A fresh, light architecture to preserve the marvels of the history of the car.