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Ulisse Aldrovandi and the birth of modern natural history

<built-in function id>Ulisse Aldrovandi has been acknowledged by many as the father of modern Natural History. He was born in Bologna in 1522 and obtained the first Chair for Natural Sciences at the University of Bologna in 1560. He founded the Botanic Garden and created a collection of natural specimens of great importance. This tour is designed to accompany you to two locations which are closely connected to him.

First, a large room in Museum of Palazzo Poggi houses the “theater of nature” by Ulisse Aldrovandi. This includes the naturalia he collected in his house. You will be amazed by the specimens of crocodiles, puffer fish and snakes. Aldrovandi is also remembered for his famous “Natural History” publication, including 13 volumes. He commissioned the illustrations of these volumes to the artists of the time, who used xylographic tablets. The tablets on display will let you travel through the work of painters, illustrators and engravers who realized this extraordinary work, aimed at disseminating knowledge about the natural world.

The second location of this tour is the Botanic Garden of Bologna. The garden was founded in 1568 in a court of the building which is now called Palazzo d’Accursio. However, this space was too small, so the garden was moved several times until it finally found its current location in via Irnerio. To remember his founder, today the garden also includes a new Orto dei Semplici (“garden of simples”), as the first botanical gardens were called. The Orto dei Semplici has the same plant of Aldrovandi’s, and evokes the same spirit.


Museums included in the tour:

Museum of Palazzo Poggi, via Zamboni 33, Bologna

Botanic Garden, via Irnerio 42, Bologna