It is housed in what was a Franciscan convent from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century, next to the ancient church of San Francesco. The architect Pelagio Palagi, on the request of the new owner, the lawyer Giovanni Battista Traversi, restructured the building in the nineteenth century and an imaginative neo-Gothic style tower was constructed. The most recent restoration works date back to the 1970s.
The museum was started in 1940 with a collection owned by Pio Mariani and it includes numerous examples of minerals, fossils, meteorites, crystals and large precious stones from all over the world. Some of the most important pieces are the meteorites that are billions of years old and a Brazilian quartz weighing 1.7 tons.
It was originally an artisan workshop but with continuous development it is now one of the most important enterprises in the Italian and international markets.