Barbara & Heather - Croatia & Italy 2017 travel blog

The old university

The old university

The old anatomy theatre

Professor's chair in old anatomy theatre


Reading room

A few Zoology books

A glimpse of rest of Biblioteca (person standing right at end of...

More crests in stairwells

Part of installation of plants in plastic bottles in an eco exhibit

Wednesday: This morning was spent at the Archiginnasio, Bologna's old university. Although the university is the oldest in Europe, it did not get this special building until 1565, bringing together all the various faculties. The main courtyard as well as the walls and ceilings of all stairwells, corridors and many rooms are covered in memorials to famous professors as well as the coats of arms of their students - over 6000 of them!

A highlight was the Teatro Anatomico, the original medical faculty dissection theatre. This handsome lecture hall is panelled in pale timber with tiers of benches surrounding a marble slab (for cadavers). At one end is an extraordinary professor's chair covered with a canopy supported by two skinless bodies known as The Spellati. The central figure in the ceiling is Apollo, god of medicine, with carved figures of the zodiac around him. Above the benches the walls are arrayed with statues of eminent physicians including Galen and Hippocrates.

The main library was not open to tourists but we were able to get a glimpse through a barred door of the enormously long corridor surrounded by shelves containing hundreds of thousands of old books. It would have been lovely to explore.

This time we were not disappointed when we went to Trattoria da Gianni for lunch. The food was again simple, fresh and delicious - mortadella with mushrooms and parmesan and vitelli tomato. We retired to the apartment for the afternoon to rest and catch up on some planning. In the late afternoon, we went for a stroll in a different direction and stumbled into the high end of town with a huge galleria devoted to all the big names - interesting to look at but that's all. We window-shopped some more and further ramblings brought us back near the centre where we plonked down for the afternoon vino. Then it was back home for some soup and toast.

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