Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna
I really enjoyed the visit to this palace. There are always exhibit going on, mostly free and it is an amazing building full of history and art. It is also impressive to think it is used as the municipal public library so all the citizens walk in there to get their books.
It is also possible to obtain special permission to do research on the old books stored here.
The visit of the anatomy theater was the most impressive, especially after I saw the poster showing the picture of the same room after a alley bomb hit it during WWII!! It is amazing how they have been able to put it back together.
The long portico of l'Archiginnasio, which lies opposite the side of the Basilica di San Petronio, is made up of 30 uniform arches designed by Antonio Morandi. The Renaissance-style edifice was built in 1563 to unite the various departments of the University of Bologna, which up until then were spread out across multiple buildings around the city. The University remained in l'Archiginnasio until it moved to its current location on via Zamboni in 1803. Within l'Archiginnasio is a beautiful courtyard with a double loggia, whose walls are painted with beautiful frescoes and around 6000 coats-of-arms of people who attended the university. Within the building is the chapel of Santa Maria dei Bulgari and the impressive 17th century Anatomy Theatre. It also houses the Municipal Library.
The first anatomical theatre in Bologna was constructed in 1595, in a different location, but in 1636 it was replaced by a bigger one in the current location.
The theatre – completely made with spruce wood – underwent several modification and reached its final shape between 1733 and 1736. In this period, Silvestro Giannotti carved the wooden statues which decorate the theatre walls. They represent some famous physicians of the old times (Hippocrates, Galenus, etc.).
The anatomy theatre was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, by an air raid on January 29, 1944. After the war, the Theatre has been reconstructed, using all of the original pieces recovered among the rubble of the building.
The magnificent Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio was the first unified seat of the University of Bologna.The aim of the building, concieved in the cultural climate of the Council of Trent, was to give a home to the university until then dispersed in various locations.
The building has a long porch outside the 30 arches and is divided into two floors around a central courtyard a double row of loggias. Two large staircases lead upstairs which has 10 classrooms (now not used since major deposits of books for the Library) and two lecture halls placed at the ends of the building, one for Artists (now the reading room of the Library) and a for Human Rights (known also as a result of the Stabat Mater Room). The walls of the rooms, staircases and arcades are decorated with inscriptions and monuments celebration of the masters of the Study and thousands of badges and names of students.
The building ceased its function University in 1803 and from 1838, after having been for some years elementary school, houses the library.
The Archiginnasio is a bit difficult to find at first if you're not looking carefully. It was built between 1562-65 by Antonio Morandi and was the seat of the University of Bologna until 1800. You can request to see the upstairs of the Archiginnasio is you ask the doorman (nicely) in the morning. The University was famous throughout Europe by the 14th century for being the first school to use dissection on human cadavers. You can see the original anatomical theater built in the Archiginnasio in 1637 by Antonio Levanti. The anatomical figures over the Readers chair were done by Ercole Lelli in 1734. The aula magna now forms part of the Biblioteca Comunale (Municipal Library) and contains over 700 000 books and 12 000 manuscripts.
The Anatomy Theatre is absolutely amazing. Built in 1637 by Antonio Levante on the upper floor of the palace, the theatre is built entirely out of wood. This is where anatomy lessons were held, analysing and dissecting a body on the marble table in the middle of the room. The room features the famous statues of the Spellati - Skinless - by Ercole Lelli.
Open: Mon. to Sat. 9.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m. (Mon. to Fri. afternoon opening from 1.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. not always guaranteed)
SUMMER 2005: From August 1st to 27th Mon. to Sat. 9.00 a.m. - 1.45 p.m. Closed Sun. and holidays.
This building was built between 1562 and 1563 from the project of Antonio Morandi, envisaged to become the first official seat of the University until 1803. The walls inside are covered with the coats of arms of the Italian and foreign students that attended the university. On the upper floor there is the amazing wooden anatomical theatre, where anatomy lessons were held, analysing and dissecting a body on the marble table in the middle of the room. Inside the building there is the City Library and the beautiful Chapel of Santa Maria dei Bulgari, with frescoes by B. Cesi.
Facing San Petronio, on your left following the portico you find the Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio. The Archiginnasio was the main building of the University from1563 to 1803. Now it’s the seat of one of the richest City libraries in Italy.
The courtyard is worth visiting: you can see monuments to famous professors of the University of Bologna and blazons of students coming from different countries. It's the biggest collection of blazons in the world.