ROWLEY — From around the globe, Alessandro Boldini has collected thousands of rare and exotic butterflies and beetles. And on Friday at Todd Farm, he shared his collection with the public for the first time.

Displays full of beautifully colored butterflies and beetles were available for all to admire at Todd Farm, located at 275 Main St, as Boldini brought out his collection.

Patrons came in droves and inspected the unique displays, featuring insects from Russia, Vietnam, Rome, India, and many other countries across the world. A small number of the displays were up for sale, while most were simply there to catch the public’s eye.

Boldini told The Daily News that he has been working on this collection for more than 55 years, and that just counting butterflies, he has over 3,000 in his private collection comprising approximately 250 species.

“So I grew up in Rome, and at the age of 9, I collected my first butterfly right across the street from the Colosseum,” Boldini said.

He talked about how his family’s history with art drew him to these creatures.

“I’m an artist. My father was an artist, my mom is an artist, my great uncle, Giovanni Boldini, he’s a well-known artist throughout Italy,” Boldini said. “He passed away in the 1920s, there are museums about him, and so I was always involved in colors and intriguing forms. So, this inspired me because of the coloration that they have.”

Part of Boldini’s goal is to stabilize the population of endangered butterflies.

“A lot of these butterflies are farm raised. I get them in from farms throughout the world, and those farmers with the money that they make are able to release a lot of them into the wild to preserve the species,” Boldini said. “What’s killing the butterflies is deforestation and chemicals. By doing this type of trade, we’re able to conserve a lot of the endangered species.

“Some of the endangered species like the Papilio imperialis out of Vietnam are coming back because people are catching the breed in captivity and releasing like 50 percent of them into the wild. So the species is pretty strong right now.”

Two patrons who came to Todd Farm specifically to see and purchase from Boldini’s collection were sisters Tiana and Kaela DeAngelis.

“We are both adding to an existing collection,” Tiana said. “We both do have butterflies that we’ve worked on in our own personal interest as well as with selling and just using them to create artwork.

“So, we’ve known him for a while now, and when he told us about this, we immediately put it onto our calendar,” she added.

The sisters said they met Boldini at the Todd Farm Flea Market and that they connected through their shared interest, with Boldini becoming a mentor to the two. Tiana said seeing Boldini’s collection was inspiring.

“It’s cool because it’s a personal collection. This is something that usually you have at home that only your closest friends, when you invite them into your home, get to see. So somebody’s displaying a lifelong personal collection, it’s like a deceased person’s estate,” Tiana said.

“They let you in and look around at their collection of paintings or statues, and this collection of something incredibly beautiful,” she added. “It almost gives an excitement to collecting, too, because they have put all this time and effort into learning about the subject collecting, learning how to properly display it, and instead of keeping it home they are showcasing it to other people to enjoy. It’s special.”

Matt Petry covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: mpetry@northofboston.com.

Matt Petry covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: mpetry@northofboston.com

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