Ötzi the Iceman is one of the most interesting attractions for those interested in the prehistory of Europe. The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in northern Italy (where he is housed today) is one of the must-sees for anyone visiting the European Alps.

One can learn so much about prehistory from some of Europe's world-class museums. While in Europe also visit the museum of the UNESCO-listed Cave of Altamira - with cave paintings up to 36,000 years old. To learn about the even deeper history of Europe, learn about our sister human species - the Neanderthals  - in the museums near where they were first discovered in Gibraltar and Germany.


About Ötzi the Iceman

Ötzi was discovered emerging from a melting glacier in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps on the border between Austria and Italy. He lived between 3,350 and 3,105 BC.

So much has been learned about the Chalcolithic (Copper Age) of Europe because of Ötzi. To listen to an excellent podcast about him listen to the Tides of History episode Ötzi the Iceman: The Neolithic Ice Mummy (although that podcast neglects to mention the blood from four different people found on his clothes, arrows, and flint knife).

Today he can be seen exhibited along with his belonging in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano in Northern Italy not too far from where he was found.

Related: Stonehenge Isn't The Only Mysterious Stone Circle In England, And Cumbria Is Home To The Most Impressive One Yet

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology Permanent Exhibit

The museum's permanent exhibit is dedicated entirely to Ötzi the Iceman with this clothing and equipment. It is housed on three floors of the Museum and covers the circumstances surrounding Ötzi's accidental discovery in 1991.

One will learn about daily life in the Copper Age and the multidisciplinary research that has been focused on him since then. One will be amazed at some of the crazy detail that has come to life from the hundreds of studies on him.

One will also see a life-like reconstruction of what this 46-year-old man may have looked like at the end of his lifetime.

Ground Floor (or 1st Floor): On the ground floor, one will see the short of the discovery and the media sensation. See the quirky cream of national and international media reporting that made him such the media star overnight.

1st Floor (or 2nd Floor): On the 1st floor (or 2nd floor depending if one is American or British), one will find Ötzi the Iceman. See the 5,300-year-old mummy deep-frozen in the ice and snow. See his clothing, his arrow, his copper ax, and more. One can view Ötzi the Iceman himself through a window in his refrigerated cell in a separate area.

  • Ötzi: See Ötzi Himself At The Museum

2nd Floor (Or 3rd Floor): On the 2nd floor (or 3rd floor if that is how one is counting) one will be greeted with an intriguing 5,000+-year-old murder mystery. Here one will see what life was like in the Copper Age, the medical research that has been done on Ötzi, and his reconstruction.

  • Reconstruction: See A Life-Like Reconstruction of Him

See the results of over 20 years of research and the finding of the more than 500 sleuth researchers who have worked on him, his clothing, and his accouterments. The profile they have created is now in amazing - and increasing detail.

Related: Get Your Dino On: This Family-Friendly, Prehistoric-Themed Park Can Be Found In Three States

Guided Tours

The museum offers guided tours for both adults and school groups through their permanent exhibit or their current special exhibition. They have a number of school tours aimed at children aged 13 to 17 and have a duration of between 60 and 90 minutes.

The adult tours need to be reserved in advance and run for 50 minutes. It is a great way to really get to understand the long-held secret of the Alps. Another advantage of booking a guided tour is that one can visit the Museum at 9.00 am - outside of regular opening hours.

Guided Tour For Adults:

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Visiting the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

The museum is located in Bolzano - the local capital of Italy's South Tyrol at the foot of the Alps not far from where Ötzi was found. It is a city where much of the population speaks German. The museum accepts cash or card and the tickets are available at the ticket desk.

Entry Fees:

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  • Adults: 9.00 €
  • Children: Free (Under 6 years)
  • Family Ticket: 18.00 € (For 2 Adults and Children Under 16 Years

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Opening Times Museum and Shop:

  • Days Open: Tuesday to Sunday
  • Mondays: Closed Mondays - Except When The Monday Is A Holiday, Also Open Mondays July, August, September, and December
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm (Last entry: 5.30 pm)

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