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Palazzo Pepoli

The first on our list is Palazzo Pepoli, the Museum of the History of Bologna: it has recently undergone an incredible renovation courtesy of the Genus Bononiae Foundation with the architect Mario Bellini. The Museum is dedicated to the history, culture and the transformation Bologna has undergone through the ages. Unlike in many Italian museums, Palazzo Pepoli has given way to new media and uses it to educate and inform the visitors. It is the only Italian museum with a "virtual theatre" that allows visitors to view movies in 3D. Not any movies however, a special movie was made for the museum which features an animated character named APA, voiced by the great late bolognese Lucio Dalla, who guides you through the history of Bologna. Without giving away too much, I can promise that Palazzo Pepoli is very different from any other museum you may have visited in the past, especially in Italy. Official website

Palazzo Poggi

The second museum we would like to include in our Top 6 list of museums to visit in Bologna is Palazzo Poggi. Palazzo Poggi is the headquarter of the University of Bologna and also hosts a very interesting museum. It also hosts possibly the most shocking exhibition: "the Anatomical Waxworks of Ercole Lelli" and "The School of Obstetrics”. The Anatomical Waxworks features 8 life-size statues which include a male and female nude and six flayed men showing different muscle layers all the way down to the bone. The school of Obstetrics is equal shocking due to some models on display there. This exhibition remembers the work of Giovanni Antonio Galli who helped turn the art of childbirth from midwife magic to science in the 18th century. Official website

San Colombano - Collezione Tagliavini

The third museum is the San Colombano - Collezione Tagliavini museum which is part of the Genus Bononiae Foundation. The museum is inside a church complex dating as far back as the VII century, recent restorations have discovered a medieval crypt and a mural crucifixion dating back to the XIII century. However the main attractions of this museum are not the Paintings but the beautiful musical instruments on display. The collection has 70 pieces including some of the oldest harpsichords, spinets, pianos, clavichords in Europe. Make sure you ask for information at the desk for when the next concert is because the beauty of these instruments is that they are still in perfect working order. Official website

MAM.bo - Modern Art Museum of Bologna

Number four is MAM.bo, or Modern Art Museum of Bologna. The museum has a permanent collection which traces the history of Italian art from the second World War to present day. It also cooperates with academic and cultural institutions inviting scholars to its 9,500 square metre space to stimulate debate on contemporary culture. There's even a wonderful "aperitivo" where you can meet like-minded and interesting people willing to discuss art and modern culture. Official website

Palazzo Fava

Number five is Palazzo Fava, another creation of the Genus Bononiae Foundation. The first floor was frescoed by the Caracci brothers in their beginnings of their career. The frescoes depict the story of Jason and the Argonauts and is one of the main attractions of Bologna. Palazzo Fava is a large space, over 2,600 square metres and is often used as an exhibition space to display many private an public works. It also recently opened a "literary caffè" with many books at the disposal of the curious art connoisseur. Official website

Museo Civico & Archeologico

And the last museum on this list is the Museo Civico & Archeologico (Civic and Archaeologic al Museum). This is a museum that houses over 200,000 works of art many from various excavations that have taken place around Bologna through the years. It houses many Etruscan and Roman findings as well as a large Egyptian and Numismatic collection. It also host many interesting exhibits dedicated to interesting subjects such as "2500 years of false notes and coins" which is cured by the Finance department of Italy. Official website


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