Palazzo Poggi is a 16th-century palazzo which has been used for centuries by the University of Bologna. The outcome is that you have elegant frescoes in rooms that once housed filing cabinets and now contain a very diverse museum. The most bizarre juxtaposition is that of anatomically correct wax models of dissected bodies (for medical instruction) in a richly decorative room. A couple of rooms still have their Renaissance ceilings . . . AND frescoes below.
There is also a natural history section with some eye-catching exhibits. I know that giant tortoises exist, but it’s still a thrill to see the shell of one. I imagine the collection methods of the time were bloody and profligate, but I also think of the sense of wonder (and covetousness) that the sight of them must have produced in their first viewers.
Beyond San Petronio is another university building – the Archiginnasio – containing the reconstructed dissecting room (damaged in WWII). Every surface is covered with the names and coats of arms of past graduates, which is quite overwhelming.