Gavino's Massive Memory Palace System

Hi guys,

I have been busy thinking lately (!) am I am quite excited about the below system I have developed. Any (preferably) constructive criticism or questions welcome.

I will post more details in future.


Systemise your existing memory to rapidly create a Memory Palace of 100, 1,000 or even more loci, using nested locations.

“Separate the subject from the structure”

In advance of memorising what you don’t know, create a structure of something that you do know!


  1. Create a simple journey or palace in a building you already know. This is the base journey to give you the base loci.

(To create 10 loci per room is relatively easy to achieve and therefore so is 50 – 70 loci in an average sized house.)

  1. Now select some pegs to place at each loci that, from your existing memory, will easily enable you to create a new imagined or known “mini-location” of at least 4 loci. This is a “nested location”.

  2. Basically that is it! But bear in mind that in very little time you have just created a memory palace of at least 50 loci (one room) or at least 250 loci in on small house.

  3. BUT, the beauty of this method is that it is actually pretty easy to create nested locations that have 10 loci and, with only a little more effort you can have many more nested loci, so that mini-locations become maxi-locations!


  1. Base links can lead you to the set(s) or locations of a well-known (to you) TV programme, which is the nested location e.g. Star Trek, University Challenge, BBC Breakfast
  2. Base links can be paintings of an artist you know well. Then the nested locations come to life in his/her individual paintings.
  3. Base links can be to (say) 10 key scenes in your favourite movie. You then use the scenes as the nested locations to place your images.
  4. Base links can be a series of your favourite celebrities and the nested location is the place you immediately see in your mind’s eye when you think of that celebrity.
  5. Base links can be to levels of your favourite video games and the level is the nested location.
  6. Base links can be to your favourite golf courses or football grounds.


  1. Hooks onto existing knowledge and solves the problem of how to associate new knowledge to existing knowledge
  2. Systemises existing memory - that is probably not sequential into sequential
  3. Creates potentially huge palaces without needing to know or create multiple journeys and locations
  4. Means a large subject can be controlled in a small area.
  5. Great for adding additional level(s) for mind maps
  6. Can re- use other palaces you already have
  7. Can be very quick and much faster than creating new journies
  8. Uses brain linkages, not artificial ordering like, say, SEM3.

Why MMPS is different:

  1. It is NOT using standard pegs that need an inherent sequential logic – the initial base loci give you that.

  2. It is NOT simply placing the base images of the new data to be memorised at your loci and then linking ‘on the fly’ to the next level of new data to be memorised. This is often complex and mixes up structure and subject.

  3. It is NOT just organising your existing journies

Problems solved:

• Not enough journies
• Not enough loci
• Packing too many images into loci
• On the fly linking
• Much faster access to memorised data than SEM where have to translate more images

Advanced Extensions:

• Nesting to more levels using loci linking (e.g Eiffel Tower to France to multiple places in France) or stories

• Using colours and other attributes to multiply nested mini- locations

• Create a mini story in new location add more loci or nested levels

For more examples see this thread:


My problem with memory systems is they can grow too complex for rapid use, as with 2 + 2 = 4
I have nailed down 100 pegs that come fast to mind; however, I still have problems with this simple homework of driving around my local Wal-Mart parking lot memorizing tag numbers – I find many tags combine letters plus numbers, which become a major ouch with memorizing
My pegs can easily be expanded from within each peg, say a room or store
Still speed is what I want – I want my memory systems to be as fast 2 + 2 = 4
Hope my point makes some sense
Thanks for your tips, because I usually find something with tips I can make usuable for me


I probably should have mentioned that the system is mainly geared towards creating a structure for memorising large volumes of long term information such as books, coursework, address books etc, rather than as a short term tool, which it seems is more what you’re looking for there.



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Hey gavino

Can I check I understand you correctly?

This means creating a palace that is solely used to memorize the “entrances” to lots of other palaces, and the benefit is that you can this way remember lots of micro-palaces that would otherwise be too small to be effective for learning a significant amount, or too numerous to keep straight in your head?



Hi Dan,

Yes, that is about it, with the other key being that you use information that you already ‘know’ which makes the construction quick and easy.

I am still experimenting with this, but at the moment it seems a lot easier to create and memorise a 10 loci journey with 10 mini-palaces (i like the terminology!) than a full blown 100 loci journey.

I have found that once you exhaust places that you know really well, the overhead of creating and memorising a long journey is quite significant, whereas I find 10- 20 loci pretty easy.

As an example I had an old workplace that I only remember vaguely and therefore it was only good for about 20 loci, so I didn’t bother using it. The other day I quickly added 20 scenes from a film and now have about 150 loci ready to go - in some scenes I am using 5 loci (I can create 5 just about anywhere) and in some scenes 10 loci.

Incidentally I have never used film scenes before and I have found it to be quite fun imaging myself into the scenes and strolling around. It gives a whole new perspective.

Next I have an alphabetical list of 26 of my favourite female celebrities and will be working with a memorable scene around each one.




Cool, that makes sense. I had been thinking of creating fictive chambers to hold doorways to these miscellaneous rooms, but I think I’ll try your way instead because it looks easier and much much faster.

My main ambition here is to be able to construct a palace at the same time as reading a book, while maintaining a significant fraction of my normal reading speed. I think your plan will help with this because as you say, everyone has hundred (thousands?) of odd rooms they can remember, even if they can’t put them into a coherent longer journey without a ton of effort. I can well imagine sitting down reading a book and thinking “OK, I need another room”, and then just casting about for a moment until I find one I remember from wherever, and then linking it in.


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Thanks, I’ll do some tests. I need a big-ass palace in order to memorize the whole Pali Canon. To do that, I think your system may be a good idea; I would have to tinker around with it a bit, though, because the palace would probably work better if planned in a symbol-consistent, analogical system (like those Renaissance ones)

Looking at this picture of a copy of that canon I wish you luck :slight_smile:

Are you looking to memorize it word for word, as in the old days?

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Yes, memoria verbarum ^^

There are still people memorizing it all. I would just add the loci, but I can’t say I’m the first one.

There are lots of text chunks – clichés, formulae, commonplaces – being repeated throughout the scriptures (a good deal of the suttas is made entirely of some combination of these chunks), so I think I might set images for them.

But I’m straying off topic.

I love your massive system Gavino. I have complex memory palaces but they are linked to virtual journeys in games. I use the concept of teleportation to move from journeys within the memory palaces.

But I found that in the long run if you want to assemble massive data, it is better to do understand concepts and simplify the images. Like 1 image can represent 10 data instead of 10 images representing 10 data.

Anyway the longer you review them, the longer they stick to your memory. :slight_smile:

@meiapataca fascinating, do let us know how you get on…

Dan & Meiapataca: thank guys and I hope the system helps your particular projects.

Yan: thanks also, I have learnt plenty from reading your posts over the last year or so. Actually I was toying with allocating specific images in the mini-palaces that would link to a further layer of locations if you ever ran out. An image of a sparking teleportation machine as part of that would work very well methinks!


Thanks a lot Gavino! :slight_smile: Glad to see that my posts have not been in vain! :wink:

Life got into the way and I kind of put on hold memory techniques for a while. I’m getting back slowly on the saddle.

As for loci, I have noticed that the bigger the palaces, the more they tend to crumble virtually in your mind. I’d suggest you develop a plan and start small.

Like just focus on 100 loci like your house the first month. Master every corner of the house. Then slowly add 30 loci each week. Review them constantly. By the end of a year you would have approximately 1200 - 1500 loci which is a lot!

At one point, you’ll run out of real journeys and houses, rooms etc to memorize. I turned to maps on games like counterstrike to help me.

Also, I used to study the masters like Pridmore, O’Briien etc… One thing Ben did to link information across loci was to link the last image of one point to the first image on the next point.

Let us say you have location 1 and Location 2.

Ben stores 3 images on one location.

So location 1 has Images A, B, C and location 2 has X, Y, Z.

So C from location 1 will link to X in location. I have noticed that this particular trick is very helpful when you are trying to memorise data in sequential order. You can use this small trick to link loci when ‘teleporting’ from one place to another.

Hope this helps… :slight_smile:

Thanks Yan and they are good points well made. Curiously I actually have about 1250 working loci at present and about another 250 ready to go!

However the MMP system is specifically designed to rapidly create larger, but also easier and more manageable palaces.

I need it because I am planning a big ramp up in my memorisation work this year - and early signs are good :slight_smile:


Gavino, another thing I like about your system is that it can be used as a hierarchy in the sense that the basic items on the journey could even be category names, with the more specific detail attached to the nested “journey or pegs,” under a category name.

It models real long term knowledge better than a simple list of items would.

For example I could use it to memorize the countries of the world in alphabetical order.

The main locus would be say for example Afghanistan, assuming I want to memorize them in alphabetical order.
I would associate Afghanistan with the first locus.

Then I would use the say 4-5 nested loci to attach the Capital, population number, the main language(s) spoken, main industry, etc just to the nested items. (Better if I have exactly the number of nested items I want to memorize for each country.) In other words the Capital would probably always be my first nested locus. The population might always be my second nested locus, etc.

I would then associate Bahrain, if that is the next country alphabetically, to the second base locus. And then I would use the nested loci in the same order to associate the 3-4 main facts I wanted to remember about the country.

So this could be better than just associating the countries to a list and just elaborating a story for each country to include the above items that I wanted to memorize about each country.
At least recall would be more sytematic with less chance for error. So in one room of my house I could have 10 countries (base loci) with 4 nested facts about each country. There are about 195 countries by the way. But it is a start. (Wether to include the countries I already knew a lot about would be a minor problem.)

Of course one still has to associate the nested items to each base locus, but there may be some logical or thematic way to do that to make it easier, like you said based on things we already know well. For example if the first base locus in one my rooms in my house is a television, then I could have my top four favorite programs (visualize the main character maybe as the symbol of the show) nested in that site in alphabetical order, or a walking order if that is possible.

And as you say, I do think that several nested loci as in the example above which would create 40 loci, would be easier than trying to remember forty basic loci without nesting. I say that because even with mnemonics there is a “primacy” and “recency” effect in that the loci in the middle may be harder to recall than the loci at either the beginning or the end. I already have several long journeys and find I have to practice them more than I would like to, to make sure I recall the ones in the middle, to the point that I am preserving large numbers of loci that I rarely need. But I think I would practice them more if I had long term information attached to them rather than a series of nonsense syllables or playing cards that I would rather forget.

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Thanks Dr S for this well thought out reply. I too am much less keen, for whatever reason, on story-linking compared to loci.

Your country example is great and I also particularly like the way MMP allows me to recall additional layers (branch levels) of a mind map.

And you may well have hit the nail on the head as to why I prefer short journies and nested locations to a single long journey, so thanks for that also!


Hello !

I’m French, so I hope that I don’t make too much mistakes. First Thing is simply Thanks Gavino.
In the book called The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci, J. D. Spencer explains the technique used by the Jesuits Matteo Ricci. Matteo Ricci used a combination of a real palace and an artificial. I follow this advice and I place doors or elevator in my room that doesn’t normally exist. When a new information comes, I open the door and I make new picture in a new location. But this location isn’t artificial. For example, in my kitchen, I make a door that doesn’t exist which opened to the museum that i know well.

I hope that you understand me…

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Welcome Mutso and thanks for your comments - your English is much, much better than my French!

I think this is a similar concept and adding virtual doors and elevators would be one really useful way of extending an MMP if you find that extra base loci are needed. Thanks!


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Gavino, I had a question, have you already made it yourself and if so, how big of a palace is it? How many loci does it contain?

I’ve been working on mine for a few days now. My base line is 52 loci right now (it wasn’t even on purpose) and it’s just the bottom floor of my house (I have three floors).

My estimations were to have around 900 loci packed in there but it’s going quite well so I think I underestimated myself and i should look at numbers around 1200 (it’s a very slow job to do and I need to be sure that every loci is in the right place before I start memorizing Medea).

So, tell us about your own experience and what the biggest palace is you have created.

Frankly, I don’t see myself using valuable spaces to place “links” to other palaces. Take your example of 10 friends in the garden, linked to their homes. Well, I already use the homes of friends as palaces, so I don’t need links to get there. So, I can use the garden to place non-linking images when I need to recall something.

I see no advantage in the number of palaces or steps in a journey using your method. If you simply create a lot of palaces and a lot of journeys, then no linking is required to get to them.

The “movie” technique is something that a lot of us have been using, especially those of us who have eagerly made it a point to watch a lot of old movies again and again (even the silent movies). It’s always interesting to use them, because not only to they provide palaces/journeys, but they also help your concentration in order to better recall new movies you come across.

One of the best ways I’ve found to increase the number of rooms in any palace is to use the trick from the movie The Adjustment Bureau: open a given door to a wholly new palace, or simply a room of the palace you’re in. In some palaces, I place a special door, sometimes in each room, sometimes in a designated place within the palace. Perhaps it’s a giant shining golden door, or a door with the giant image of someone’s face on it. I see it and it tells me there’s another room/palace behind it. I might be in a palace of human bones and somewhere is a giant door with a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger posing and flexing his muscles, telling me that through that door is the palace of human muscles.

Whenever I have a door or anything with a picture, I try to take a hint from the Harry Potter movies: have the image moving within the frame, make it come alive, rather than keep it static. Action = memorable.

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