Museum history

The National Automobile Museum was set up in 1932, on the left bank of the River Po, based on the idea of two pioneers of Italian motoring, Cesare Goria Gatti and Roberto Biscaretti di Ruffia (the first President of the Turin Automobile Club and one of the founders of Fiat).

However, it was Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia, Roberto’s son, after whom the National Automobile Museum was named in 1960, who conceived and put together the initial collection: the “steam vehicle”, designed by Virginio Bordino in 1854, the first Benz model, dated 1893, the first Peugeot model to circulate in Italy, the Pecori, which was the first three-wheeled car built in our country, just to mention a few of the most valuable exhibits.

The futuristic refurb, completed in 2011 to a design by architect Cino Zucchi, has helped to reposition the museum within the Italian cultural sector: the new exhibition – included in 2013 by The Times in its list of the top 50 in the world, valued for its educational and scientific standing – extends over three floors and takes visitors on an emotional journey among vintage vehicles and dream cars, important prototypes and iconic models, while songs from the Sixties and the rumble of Formula One engines can be heard in the background. The spectacularly contextualised layout created by Francois Confino is accompanied by multimedia systems with touch screen devices, original themed displays, great installations and multi-projections put together specially to engage new generations of visitors with the use of state of the art technologies. The vast heritage of data, historical details, pictures from the archives, technical datasheets on the vehicles and bodywork specialists can be consulted during the visit on multimedia totems and from visitors’ own smartphones, using the Museum’s app.

The MAUTO perfectly represents the excellence of the City of Turin, a place of conservation and memory, prestigious and unique in its kind.

The National Automobile Museum boasts a collection of over 200 models of the highest quality and historical value, from various countries including Italy, obviously, but also France, Great Britain, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. Every single object conserved in the museum - be it artisanal or industrial – is the result of a project and a process: from the initial idea to its completion, there have been a whole series of more or less successful attempts, failures, new attempts and, finally, successes. The creative process is at the centre of the museum’s story but the cars also testify to the sporting and social events that they were part of, showing how they seduced the public and why some of them became an essential part of the collective memory of the 20th century. Between the influence of the artistic movements of last century, the great technological innovations and the future of mobility, presented also with a view to environmental sustainability and road safety, design is what guides the visitor through the lines, styles and men that determined the changes.

We tell the story of the motor car, its transformation from a means of transport to an object of worship, from its origins right up to the contemporary evolution of creative thought. Through the evolution of the car, we narrate the epoch-making times that society has experienced.