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Archiginnasio, Bologna

1 Piazza Galvani
Italy 40124
Tel: 39 051 276 811's insider take:

Students from all over Europe come to study at Bologna's university, the oldest on the Continent, founded in 1088. By the 16th century, most of its colleges and departments were consolidated in this palazzo, which now houses the Civic Library and a wealth of antique manuscripts, drawings, and photos. The building's walls and ceilings are lined with coats of arms of former rectors, professors, and students. On the upper floor is the wood-paneled Teatro Anatomico, where faculty conducted human dissections in centuries past. Two wooden scannati, or skinned bodies, support a canopy over the professor's chair. A papal emissary once watched these procedures through a grate opposite the chair, making sure the brain and heart (two body parts the church considered off-limits) were not touched by the knife.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.