Museo della Specola – Museum of Astronomy in Bologna

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Specola Museum in Bologna
Specola Museum in Bologna ©
Specola Museum in Bologna
Specola Museum in Bologna ©

The Specola Museum of Bologna is the ideal place for all dreamers and for those who love contemplating the night sky, by visiting it you will be transported on a journey through the stars and the history of astronomy.

Table of Contents

The Specola Museum in a nutshell

This fascinating museum is housed in the astronomical tower of the eighteenth-century Institute of Sciences, located in Palazzo Poggi. This historic structure was built between 1712 and 1726 and was once home to an astronomical observatory.

Today, in its rooms you will find a panoramic and fascinating collection of the instruments used by astronomers of the past. Thanks to its rich history and the fascinating collections it houses, this place will transport you closer to the stars and introduce you to the secrets of the cosmos!

Good to Know

Before embarking on your visit you should know that:

  • The climb to the Tower involves climbing 272 steps, so it is not recommended for people with heart problems, vertigo and claustrophobia.
  • Observation from the panoramic terrace may be prohibited in case of rain or snow for safety reasons.


Address: Via Zamboni, 33 – 40126 Bologna

Contacts: For information and reservations, you can contact the Ticket Office on +39 051 2099610 or send an email to

Opening hours: The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and offers two ways of access upon reservation:

  • Tower Terrace with Panoramic View: This option allows you to enjoy a 360° panoramic view of the city of Bologna from the tower terrace.
  • Guided Tour of the Museum + Terrace with Panoramic View: This visit allows you to explore the astronomical collections of the museum and conclude with the panoramic view.


Closures: The museum is closed on non-holiday Mondays and on some holidays.


Tower Terrace with Panoramic View:

  • Full price: €5
  • Reduced: €3 (for young people aged 20 to 26, adults over 65, groups, FAI card holders, and others)
  • Free gift: For different categories, including
  • Unibo students, Unibo staff, young people up to 19 years old, and others.


Guided Visit to the Museum + Terrace with Panoramic View:

  • Full price: €10
  • Reduced: €8 (for young people aged 20 to 26, adults over 65, groups, FAI card holders, and others)
  • Reduced: €5 (for children and teenagers aged 7 to 19, groups of students, teachers, and others)
  • Free gift: For children from 0 to 6 years old, Unibo students, Unibo staff, disabled people, and others.

The Architecture and the Rooms of the Specola Museum

The Specola Museum is divided into several rooms, each with its own unique history and collection of instruments.

Sala Meridiana

This room, located on the first floor of the tower, is a place where astronomical instruments and the solar sundial reigned supreme. The sundial, an instrument used to track the movement of the sun in the sky, is one of the main attractions of this room.

Sala dei Globi

On the third floor, you will find the Hall of Globes, which houses a precious collection of celestial globes. These globes are detailed works of art that represent the universe and its mysteries.

Sala della Torretta

The Turret Hall is located on the fourth floor and is the highlight of this museum. From the outdoor terrace located at the top of the tower, visitors can enjoy a 360° panoramic view of the city of Bologna. It is also possible to observe the sky through panoramic binoculars, making this an essential stop for astronomy lovers and fans of breathtaking views.

History and Collections

Specola Museum in Bologna
Specola Museum in Bologna ©

Since ancient times, humanity has searched the skies for answers to the mysteries of the universe. The Torre della Specola, built between 1712 and 1726, became the astronomical observatory of the University of Bologna.

The collection of astronomical instruments of the Marsiliano Observatory is the core of the museum, including instruments for observing the sky and celestial movements. These instruments come from the private observatory of Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli and from donations, including those of cardinals Gianantonio Davia and Sebastiano Antonio Tanara.

Under the direction of Eustachio Manfredi, the observatory played a key role in the preparation of calendars, ephemerides and astronomical studies. In 1739, more modern instruments were purchased from England.

Over time, the observatory suffered a decline, the publication of the Ephemerides ceased in 1844, and the activity concentrated on meteorology. However, with the appointment of Michele Rajna as director at the beginning of the twentieth century, astronomical observations resumed.

Today, the Specola Museum houses a vast collection of historic astronomical instruments, offering a fascinating overview of the evolution of astronomy over the course of more than a century, from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. The inventories and observation logs testify to the history of these instruments and the research conducted by the directors over time.

5/5 - (2 votes)
This article was written by:
Camilla Viviani
With a keen passion for food, art, and history, I’m always eager to uncover Bologna’s hidden gems and indulge in its cultural offerings, never passing up a chance to explore its myriad museums. As an enthusiastic cartographer and meticulous planner, I thrive on crafting uncommune travel itineraries that promise to delight travelers, offering unique experiences that leave lasting memories.
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