Rich in art and architecture, Padova has many outstanding sights. Moreover, the city is an old university town with an illustrious academic history. Established in 1222, it is the second oldest university in Italy after Bologna, and one of the earliest universities in the world. It was originally founded as a school of Law by a group of scholars and students who had come from Bologna in pursuit of greater academic freedom.
The guided tour of Palazzo Bo includes the anatomical theatre, the Galileo Galilei’s Aula Magna, the Sala dei Quaranta (The “Hall of the Forty”) and the Aula di Medicina (where lectures on medicine were originally given).
The main premises of the University are located in Palazzo Bo – the Ox – originally, Hospitium Bovis. The name may derive from its proximity to the quarter traditionally occupied by the Bechariarum (butchers) or by the fact that cattle were traded there in previous times. Architecturally, the 16th Century was the key period for the Palazzo Bo. The best-known room inside the palace is the Aula Magna, the Great Hall. One of the most evocative symbols in the history of the University and of its staff and alumni is undoubtedly the podium, which, according to the tradition, was used by Galileo itself.
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