Peregrin Strobl conceived the collection of the Bottego gallery to house the whole Eritrean zoological collection (which dates back to 1889-1891), brought back to Italy by the captain Vittorio Bottego, a Parma explorer of the Horn of Africa; but there, the specimens are displayed according to Angelo Andres’ ideas about museums (Strobel was succeeded by Andres).
The collection shows the many animal varieties, mainly vertebrates, living in Eritrea at that time.
Noteworthy are the marvelous specimens of madrepores on display at the entrance of the Bottego gallery and the several shapes of cartilaginous fish (sharks and rays). Equally interesting are the aardvark (Orycteropus afer), the African version of the anteater, and one of the first known specimens of glabrous rat-mole (Heterocephalus glaber), a rodent which has developed the same reproductive castes as hymenopterans (wasps and ants).
In the showcases along the walls there are relics and objects belonging to Bottego: among them hand-written notebooks, pages from the Koran, decorations.
In the gallery stands the stunning plaster cast of the captain Vittorio Bottego that the sculptor Ettore Ximenes used to shape the bronze statue of the explorer which still stands in Parma railway station square today.