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The smallest mineral museum in Italy is born in Asti

It is called M.A.G.M.A.X and is concentrated in a room of the medieval Quartero tower

Everything in one room: the moon dust, the chemical elements of the earth’s crust enclosed in four drawers, the miners’ tools, the corner dedicated to meteorites and much more.

The smallest mineral museum in Italy was born in Asti, in a medieval tower: private, but open free to the public by reservation. Just twenty square meters of space that represent a window on the cosmos, but not only: from the top floor of the Quartero Tower, between corso Alfieri and via Roero, you can enjoy an incomparable show with a view over the roofs of the historic center up to the church of San Martino and a few steps from the Torre De Regibus and the Lapidary Museum. A little further on is the Paleontological Museum, with which future collaborations will be built.
The new reality that will animate the cultural panorama of Asti is called M.A.G.M.A.X, Astense Museum of Geology, Mineralogy, Mining Art, Crystallography, and will be open to the public from 5 July in corso Alfieri 360.
Massimo Umberto Tomalino, the creator, is a 64-year-old chemist who began to cultivate a passion for mineralogy as a child. Twenty years of work abroad led him to discover in antique shops, at auctions, in the markets of Paris, Amsterdam, London, or through exchanges with other collectors, unique pieces of a vast and mysterious world: the same pieces that in a few weeks will be showed at MAGMAX, entering the experience of researchers, miners, scientists, artists, cutters of precious stones. The Jew ones escaped from the Nazi fury in Amsterdam, hiding in their boots wooden boxes for transporting diamonds, an illusory hope of salvation. Two of the small cases will be seen at the MAGMAX together with other objects that trace the history of life in the mine: the helmet of the child worker of the Ruhr, the telephone of the early twentieth century which, at a depth of 600 meters, communicated with the outside, the horn that sounded to warn of the imminent explosion of mines.
“Something you do not expect: this is what I hope those who visit us will find here” is the desire of Tomalino, a native of Acqui Terme but with solid Asti roots.
In the multifaceted world of MAGMAX there is the fascination, for children, of touching orthoclase or quartz (the most widespread mineral on earth) and the curiosity, for everyone, to discover the shape of crystals and particular scientific instruments such as Smallest X-ray diffractometer in the world and fully functional: it makes mineral plates.
But there are also books, documents, postcards and photographs, themed vintage stickers and the 1951 strip of “Donald Duck and the Bewitched Jewels”. There is also gypsum, the only industrial mineral of the Asti area. It ranges from the origin of the earth to the third millennium. And there is the 1969 poster on the man’s landing on the moon that passed from the bedroom of the little boy Massimo Tomalino to a wall of the M.A.G.M.A.X.
In the “museum in a room” the distant worlds, those of asteroids and the moon, are very close and the history of the mineral kingdom is explored from five points of view: naturalistic, artistic, scientific, historical and social. Among the rare pieces, one of the volumes of the first edition of the Reasoned Encyclopedia of Sciences, Arts and Crafts by Diderot and D’Alembert: it is the one dedicated to the letter “m” (therefore also to mineralogy) and comes from the library of the mine by Anzin, the same one who visited Emile Zola to write “Germinale”.
The museum will be presented on Friday 11 June to the city authorities and the day after to journalists. Meanwhile, you can already register for guided tours (also in English, French and Spanish) guaranteed from Monday to Sunday and at a time to be agreed: call 328.1698691 or write to

In the photos: Massimo Tomalino at M.A.G.M.A.X and with a gypsum sample; panorama from the Quartero Tower.

Asti, June 7, 2021

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Address: Torre Quartero, Via Roero 2
entrance from Corso Alfieri 360

Tel: +39 328 1698 691


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Visita gratuita su appuntamento e guidata in Italiano, Inglese, Spagnolo, Francese.

L’ingresso è libero, ma è importante prenotare.

Free guided tour by appointment in Italian, English, Spanish, French.

Admission is free, but it is important to book in advance.