The Museo di Palazzo Poggi, aka The Ulisse Aldrovandi Museum, is a museum of oddities collected by Ulisse Aldrovandi during the 16th C for his greatest aspiration, to assemble an encyclopedia of all living organisms upon the planet. The objects and animals collected were sent to him from all over the world and provide a glimpse into the perspective of the Renaissance man. One object in particular is a long horn that was thought to belong to a unicorn but is actually from a Narwhal whale. Indeed, this museum can at times feel like an unedited entry of Wikipedia. A stroll through this museum will remind you of how lucky we are to have instant access to facts and information at hand all over the world.
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Diversity and Surprise at the University of Bologna's Museums
The Museum of Palazzo Poggi—actually a collection of museums, all of which belong to the University of Bologna—made me fantasize about riding around in the ornate boats of the Medici princes, terrified me with wax models of every possible problem a baby could undergo in the womb, and mesmerized me with a celestial globe.
Palazzo Poggi houses six collections: Natural History, Anatomy and Obstetrics, Physics and Chemistry, Military Architecture, Geography and Nautical Science, and the Library.
I expected to love the library most, and it didn't disappoint, but the Geography and Nautical Sciences section charmed me and blew its competition out of the water with a 17th century map of Europe.
The frame of the map itself—which also includes other parts of the world—depicts the traditional attires of different European peoples and the layouts of sixteen European cities. It also includes a geographical description of Europe in both Latin and French, other comments, and portrayals of various nautical elements from the time.