Headquarters of the University of Padua for almost five centuries, the Palazzo del Bo (Hospitium Bovis) is one of the city’s most iconic sites.
It was here that Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science, taught between 1592 and 1610. It is also the birthplace of modern medicine, based on direct experience and observation: in 1595, on the initiative of Girolamo Fabrici d’Acquapendente, the Anatomical Theatre was built, the first instance in the world of a permanent structure created for the teaching of anatomy based on the dissection of corpses.
Among the most important parts of the Palazzo del Bo is the Old Courtyard, with a loggia featuring twin rows of columns, where three thousand coats of arms are displayed, some frescoed, others carved in stone.
At the foot of the monumental Cornaro staircase is a statue dedicated to Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the world’s first woman university graduate (Padua, 1678). Preserved in the Hall of the Forty, so called because it houses the portraits of forty illustrious international students (including Stefan Báthory, Oliver Goldsmith and William Harvey), is the Podium of Galileo, who lectured in the Aula Magna now named after him, which was renovated by architect Gio Ponti during the 1940s.
Palazzo del Bo can be visited with a guided tour during the week, and freely on weekends and holidays, also with the integrated ticket ‘Padua City of Science’.