Palazzo Poggi


Three university museums are housed inside this 14th-century palace. At Museo di Palazzo Poggi, you can peruse terracotta uteri in the Obstetrics exhibition; remarkable anatomical models with wax muscular systems on top of actual human bones; and impressive exhibitions dedicated to 16th and 17th century ships models, stunning old maps, military architectural planning and physics (don't miss Ramsden's 18th-century electrostatic generator, visible in Antonio Muzzi's 1862 painting with Luigi Galvani to its left).

At the guided-tour-only Observatory Museum (adult/reduced €5/3), you can climb the 272 steps of Bologna's first tower built for scientific study (as opposed to defence), which was erected in 1726. Along the way, take in various rooms housing an astounding collection of 13th- to 18th-century astrological and navigational instruments, celestial and territorial globes, and a mesmerising Chinese constellation map on rice paper from 1634. The view is one of Bologna's best. Reserve ahead for three daily tours Tuesday through Sunday (10.30am, noon and 3.30pm; maximum 15 persons). The free European Student Museum (MeuS) covers student life from medieval times to the 1960s.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bologna attractions

1. Pinacoteca Nazionale

0.09 MILES

The city's main art gallery has a powerful collection of works by Bolognese artists from the 14th century onwards, including a number of important…

2. Oratorio di Santa Cecilia

0.15 MILES

This is one of Bologna's unsung gems. Inside, the magnificent 16th-century frescoes by Lorenzo Costa depicting the life and lurid death of St Cecilia and…

4. Le Due Torri

0.33 MILES

Standing sentinel over Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, Bologna's two leaning towers are the city's main symbol. The taller of the two, the 97.2m-high Torre…

5. Torre degli Asinelli

0.34 MILES

Bologna's two leaning towers are the city's main symbol. The taller of the two, the 97.2m-high Torre degli Asinelli (the tallest leaning medieval tower in…

6. Basilica di Santo Stefano

0.38 MILES

Bologna's most unique religious site is this atmospheric labyrinth of interlocking ecclesiastical structures, whose architecture spans centuries of…

7. Quadrilatero

0.41 MILES

To the east of Piazza Maggiore, the grid of streets around Via Clavature (Street of Locksmiths) sits on what was once Roman Bologna. Known as the…

8. Museo della Storia di Bologna

0.43 MILES

Walk in a historical neophyte and walk out an A-grade honours student in Bologna’s golden past. This magnificent interactive museum, opened in 2012 and…