Visiting his Museum
Ötzi's home now is a museum in Bolzano, Italy.
A former bank, the building that now houses the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology was remodeled to display (as well as preserve and allow the scientific study of) Ötzi and his belongings.
The museum is full of fascinating exhibits. Visitors begin on the entrance floor, working their way up through the archaeological ages to the fourth floor (which contains artifacts from the Roman times and early Middle Ages).
Here are the highlights:
Visitors are initially greeted by a life-size hologram of the Iceman as they make their way to the ticket desk (about $10 for adults; discounts for students, seniors, and families). Exhibits on this floor set the stage for Ötzi: the late Paleolithic and Mesolithic Ages are covered.
The first floor is the home of Ötzi, though you may have a hard time locating him. The displays on this floor are excellent: well-designed and technologically-advanced. The Ice Man's clothing is displayed in a series of cases (complete with drawings) that show how each garment was worn. Dominating the scene is a life-size replica of Ötzi. He was fairly short and not in good condition, despite what early reports (and most Ötzi books suggest).
As for Ötzi himself, he is displayed off to the side in a separate area and is visible only through a small stainless steel window; he looks smaller than you might expect and very fragile. You climb a step or two to get a glimpse: Ötzi in a deep freeze. This display is so discreet that some people might easily miss it. He looks a little more frayed--his left thigh in particular has been used for some sampling it appears. He may have lasted 5,000 years in the glacier, but it is doubtful that he will last another 5,000 in our modern deep freeze. Of course, the important thing is not that his body lasts to amaze museum-goers, but that scientists learn as much as they can of his life and times so that all of us can be better informed about the history of the world.
The second floor covers the Bronze Age with a diorama of the copper smelting furnaces of Favogna and artifacts (such as a handled goblet from the Laugen culture). But you might be more impressed by the discoveries of the Iron Age (also displayed on this floor): about the same time that Ötzi was found, a pair of "socks" (for lack of a better word) and two pairs of leggings were found, according to the museum, in the Reisenferner group in the Val Pusteria. Woven partially from fine wool, the leggings are the best textiles that survive from this period.
On the main floor, the museum also contains a good shop. A great deal of merchandise is for sale, including many books (mostly in German or Italian, though there are at least two guidebooks in English). There are great Ötzi key chains and mouse pads (even an Ötzi backpack for junior campers and Ötzi-philes). But the best item for sale is a packet of postcards that depicts Ötzi, his discovery site, and his many possessions.
Visiting the Museum
You can visit the South Tyrol Museum on line (in German, Italian, or English).
If you want to visit the museum in Bolzano (also called Bozen), the city is approximately 3 hours north of Milan and about 90 minutes south of Innsbruck, Austria. You may find it convenient to fly into Munich or Milan and then drive to Bolzano. The scenery is beautiful!
Ticket prices and other practical information can be found here.