The Saxophone Museum in Fiumicino (Province of Rome)

The Saxophone Museum in Fiumicino (Province of Rome) opened in 2019 and holds one of the most important collections of musical instruments in the world. It is the only museum dedicated to the infamous Saxophone and celebrates the history and development in all its transformations, through educational tours, concerts, traditional and interactive exhibits.

This invaluable collection tells the stories, passions and careers of the people who used, improved and perfected the instrument invented in 1846 by Adolphe Sax of Belgium.

Museum director Attilio Berni recounts the night where his passion began: “During our honeymoon in New York in 1993, at the end of a night at the Village Vanguard, we met a musician who owned an unusual instrument. In the taxi back to the hotel, while talking about that night, I caught the attention of the taxi driver, who told me that he had an experimental saxophone in his trunk. We cut short our honeymoon to go in search of these instruments and we returned from the US with a shipping container full of 250 saxophones!”

One wonders how this room could hold this collection consisting of about 600 instruments: from the earliest models of the Sax itself in 1867 to the Lyricon of 1977, which was the first attempt to combine electronics with the saxophone. A tiny 32cm Eppelsheim soprillo to the gigantic 2m high Orsi contrabass; from the infamous Conn O-Sax, to Ettore Sommaruga’s Grafton Plastic and Gil Ventura’s black sax. From the drawstring saxophones, a Jazzophone, trumpet-sax with double bell; from saxorusophones to the mammoth J’Elle Stainer subcontrabass. The collection includes instruments that belonged to such important figures and performers as Sonny Rollins, Benny Goodman, Tom Scott, Rudy Wiedoeft, Adrian Rollini, Tex Beneke, Ralph James, and Marcel Mule just to name a few.

The collection also includes a toy saxophone section (from the turn of the century to the 1950s), a photography section (800 original vintage photographs from the late 19th century to the 1960s), and an accessories section (mouthpieces, curios, and gadgets). It is completed by a section for vinyl and one for music catalogs.

Attilio Berni adds:
“The museum is not just an exhibition of musical instruments, it is a collection of stories behind every saxophone. A look at the various showcases will tell you who played these instruments and what was imprinted in them. Each feature informs us about a historical period, the characteristics of the society of that time, trends, new inventions…a small world.”

This museum is a must-see for all Sax and Jazz music enthusiasts and another important addition to the wonderful world of culture Rome (and surrounding areas) has to offer.

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