The Museum was inaugurated in December 2008 and is one of the major museums in Italy and in Europe for its expertise and research in the field of Oriental art.

It is housed in the historic Palazzo Mazzonis, a landmark, eighteenth century town-palace. Discerning and careful restoration has enhanced the building's century-old structure and decorations and created optimal display facilities for Museum exhibits.

The Museum provides a broad overview of the art of ancient Asian cultures. The galleries are arranged over the three levels of the building and contain art from South and Southeast Asia (Indian subcontinent and Indochina peninsula), the most important Italian collection of Chinese funerary art spanning a period from the Neolithic age to the Tang period (tenth century CE), religious and secular art from Japan, art from the Himalayas (Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan) and a smaller but remarkable collection of Islamic art.

The ground level contains two exquisite and quite unique Japanese Gardens as well as a space for temporary exhibitions. With its regular theme-based exhibitions, the Museum programme targets a broad audience and seeks to present and develop themes and specific features of the East and its civilizations.

The Museum also organizes themed exhibitions focused on special groups of works from its collections as well as seminars, lectures, concerts and workshops.

Hence, not only is the MAO a major cultural institution for the study of Eastern art, it also has the role of providing Italian and European audiences with a window into the fascinating and complex world of Asian cultures.

Marco Biscione