Ulisse Aldrovandi and the wonders of the world

Palazzo Poggi Museum
The exhibition is extended until 28 May 2023

There is an episode of the Italian Renaissance that is as important as it is unknown, perhaps overshadowed by the masterpieces of art and architecture that the whole world admires. It is the reawakening of natural sciences. The event was led by Ulisse Aldrovandi and a small group of doctors, pharmacists and naturalists from a number of Italian cities, who first studied animals and plants from life, rather than just in books, taking the first steps towards science as we know it today

Today, we owe our visual imagery of nature to Ulisse Aldrovandi and that first generation of naturalists. An imagery built on the tradition of nature illustrations, which perhaps nowhere as in Bologna saw such an extraordinary growth, and which would one day turn into the photographs and documentaries we all know.

These naturalists did not make any revolutionary discoveries, but without them Galileo and the birth of modern science might not have happened quite so soon. All trace of them and their story might have been lost if the University of Bologna had not preserved, in its collections and library, an exceptional legacy of objects, images, books and manuscripts linked both to Aldrovandi’s bequest to the city and to the collections of the Istituto delle Scienze, created later by Luigi Ferdinando Marsili.

The Other Renaissance offers visitors the chance to admire many of the gems stored by the University of Bologna, most of them never exhibited before, together with objects and works of art from important Italian museums.

These include a number of digital installations, “sewn” together by a narrative that makes them speak, taking visitors by the hand right from the start of the show and accompanying them on a journey into the past to discover the roots of the present.

The exhibition is organised by the University Museum Network, in collaboration with the Bologna University Library, with the contribution of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers - Mission structure for the promotion of national anniversaries and of the participatory dimension of new generations, and with the patronage of the Bologna City Council, the National Research Council (CNR) and the Institute of Mediterranean European History (ISEM)

The brainchild of Roberto Balzani, Professor at the Alma Mater and President of the University Museum Network, the exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Bologna University Library, is curated by Giovanni Carrada, an expert in the communication of science and cultural heritage, with the scientific advice of Professors Giuseppe Olmi and Davide Domenici of the University of Bologna.

Image: Agostino Carracci, Ritratto di Ulisse Aldrovandi Accademia Carrara, Bergamo ©Fondazione Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Opening hours


Tuesday - Friday: 10am - 4pm  

Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: 10am - 6pm  


On working Mondays, December 24 and 25 2022, January 1 2023, May 1 2023

Special opening

December 8 and 26 2022, January 6, 2023 , April 9, 10 and 25 2023: 10am - 6pm

The visit to the temporary exhibition lasts about an hour.

Tickets and Benefits

Standard ticket 7€ 

Reduced-rate tickets 4€: young people aged 19 to 26 years; visitors over 65;  FAI card holders; full ticket holders of the exhibition "Oltre lo spazio oltre il tempo. Il sogno di Ulisse Aldrovandi" -  Centro Arti e Scienze Golinelli - Fondazione Golinelli 

Free admission: students of the University of Bologna, staff of the University of Bologna, young people up to 18 years old, school teachers of all grade levels with card, visitors with disabilities and accompanying visitors, licensed journalists and tourist guides, ICOM card holders, ANMS card holders, Card Cultura holders, Students of Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna, Ukrainian citizens.


We recommend booking in advance through MidaTicket

It is also possible to purchase a ticket on the day from the ticket office, subject to availability

The full ticket grants access to a reduced rate ticket to the exhibition "Oltre lo spazio oltre il tempo. Il sogno di Ulisse Aldrovandi" -  Centro Arti e Scienze Golinelli - Fondazione Golinelli (4 February - 28 May 2023).

How to visit the exhibition 

Visits to the exhibition are designed to be carried out in conjunction with a recorded narration which is freely available for you to listen to on your mobile device (we advise you to use earphones). 

Visitors will be guided along the exhibition route by the voice of Giovanni Carrada, exhibition curator.  

Go to the audioguide

“Kids” Version 

Children aged 7 and above will be guided through the exhibition by the voice of Ulisse Aldrovandi with a narration designed specifically for them, this can also be accessed with a mobile device (we advise you to use earphones). 

Go to the audioguide





Guided tours for groups

Guided tours with our staff (max 20 participants): 90€ (tour fee in addition to admission).
Reservation required at


Tours of the Aldrovandi collection and sites connected with the naturalist, and workshops focusing on his collection of animals, plants and minerals, as well as the rich collection of woodcut blocks used to illustrate his Natural History volumes. 


The activities are aimed at children, families, schools.

Go to Education (italian only).




The Palazzo Poggi Museum provides access for people with disabilities.
It is possible to visit the museum using lifts and platforms.
For more information, please call +39 051 20 99610


Baby Pit Stop

Dedicated area for mothers and fathers and their children. Perfect for breastfeeding and for changing baby. Little desks are also available for drawing and colouring in. Children can have fun with the “Aldrovandi in gioco” (suitable for children aged 4 and up) booklets or colouring in animal outlines from Aldrovandi's watercolour plates.


How to reach us

Palazzo Poggi Museum


The Ulisse Aldrovandi's Museum

The Ulisse Aldrovandi's Museum


Rhinoceros, BUB, Ms. Aldrovandi, Tavole di animali, vol. 1, carta 91

Brendel botanical model

Model of Spurge laurel (Daphne mezereum L.) Brendel company, Berlin, late 19th Century. Bologna, Orto Botanico ed Erbario, Sistema Museale di Ateneo

Codex Cospi

Codex Cospi, Mesoamerican divination manuscript, sec. XV-XVI BUB, Ms. 4093

Calco facciale colorato, boscimano

Lidio Cipriani, sec. XX, Bologna, Collezione di Antropologia, Sistema Museale di Ateneo

Nautical chart

Nautical chart, Grazioso Benincasa, sec. XV BUB, Rotulo 3


Mask depicting Yacatecuhtli, patron god of merchants, nahua culture, ca. 1350-1521 A.D. Roma, Museo delle Civiltà


Horse, 1885 Ozzano dell'Emilia, Collezione di Anatomia degli Animali Domestici, Sistema Museale di Ateneo


Narcissus, BUB, Ms. Aldrovandi, Tavole di piante, fiori e frutti, vol. 7, carta 115

Galeorhinus cuvieri (Agassiz, 1835)

Galeorhinus cuvieri (Agassiz, 1835) Eocene (48 Ma), Bolca (Verona, Italia) Bologna, Collezione di Geologia "Museo Giovanni Capellini", Sistema Museale di Ateneo


Herbarium, Bologna, Orto Botanico ed Erbario, Sistema Museale di Ateneo

Wax model

Wax model, Giuseppe Astorri, 1822, Bologna, Collezione delle Cere Anatomiche "Luigi Cattaneo", Sistema Museale di Ateneo

Desert horned viper and Vipera ammodytes

Desert horned viper (Cerastes serpens) and Vipera ammodytes (Ammodites) BUB, Ms. Aldrovandi, Tavole di animali, vol. 4, carta 132

Lophophorus impejanus

Taxidermized specimen of Himalayan monal Lophophorus impejanus (Lapham, 1790) Bologna, Collezione di Zoologia, Sistema Museale di Ateneo

Works of Ulisse Aldrovandi

Works of Ulisse Aldrovandi

Layout of the Sala di Davide

Layout of the Sala di Davide

Layout of the Sala di Mosè

Layout of the Sala di Mosè

Xilographic matrices for printing

Painted and carved Xilographic matrices for printing, from Ulisse Aldrovandi’s workshop sec. XVI 16th century Bologna, Museo di Palazzo Poggi, Sistema Museale di Ateneo

Information & Contacts

Palazzo Poggi Museum

Via Zamboni 33, 40126, Bologna

+39 051 2099600

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