Kitsch or Cool? Museo dei Vampiri in San Marino

NOTE TO READER: Not for the faint hearted! Apologies for the explicit photo content in advance. 


San Marino has this seriously bizarre museum (ok there are a couple of odd ones here but I’ll spare you the details). Actually, I still happen to be contemplating whether I consider this particular one kitsch or cool. Needless to say, let’s give it a fighting chance…


I was a once diehard fun of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in high school. I had the books, the dolls, the stickers. But what I really wanted was the plastic stake (not available in South Africa at the time…). And although I haven’t really been a fan of vampires of late, something compelled me to enter the Museo dei Vampiri in San Marino.

So i’m not sure whether it was a result of this old fanaticism with Buffy or whether the relatively tacky tourist shops and overpriced restaurants led me to find an escape. Perhaps it was the odd ghostly feel of the place (no tourists, nothing much happening at all)? Did I want some excitement upon this hill in this very, very small country? Something different perhaps? Whatever it was, I entered, paid the 8 Euro entrance fee and walked through the red and black velvety curtains. There was no turning back now.


The Museo dei Vampiri, only the size of a room, leads you from myth to myth (nothing we didn’t really know before to be honest). Firstly, you’re welcomed by Dracula at the entrance leading into the main hall. The backdrop is complete with skulls and his ‘velvet’ cape. And then you’re welcomed by even more vampires in long black capes lining the passageway.


Things get a little grusome when you see an impaled man and the bust of a woman with blood all over her face.


Bloody bathtime anyone?? Notice the stains on the carpet and the severed head decorated on a candelabra.


And if you like werewolves then the Museo dei Vampiri in San Marino is just the place for you.


And werewolves with a stake in the fashion industry are even featured too.


Killer witches with creepy black nailpolish, googly eyes and pet owls appear next.


No idea what’s coming out of her mouth but anyhoowww.


And let us not dare forget the crucified insects (most probably the only real thing about Museo dei Vampiri)…


Did I mention the grey sprayed polystyrene gravestones and flashy plastic bag cape of those who murder at night?



And lastly, our werewolf with rabbit eyes, tarzan-like pants, cardboard boxy bust and chain with sign that reads, ‘Do not touch’ – as if they dare think I would have the desire?


So I leave you with this thought – tacky, tasteless or tweetable? My impressions of the Museo dei Vampiri in San Marino…I’d say bordering on kitsch and definitely geared towards those who haven’t visited museums much. Perhaps hormonal teenagers with a penchant for Twilight and the likes? Can anyone say Edward Cullen?


Elizabeth Joss

Elizabeth Joss is the founder and main writer at The Museum Times. She works as a university lecturer by day and is an avid travel blogger and arts and culture enthusiast by night. Elizabeth started The Museum Times out of the need to give smaller, lesser-known museums more exposure.

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