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The Aula Magna of Palazzo Bo

As one of the most impressive rooms of Palazzo Bo, the Aula Magna is the University’s main room for conferences, congresses, and events.  Visitors and scholars enter the room from the Sala dei Quaranta, whose walls house the 40 canvases created in 1942 by Gian Giacomo Dal Forno, and for which holds Galileo’s historic lectern.

Mostly likely used as a common room of the Hospitium Bovis from the 16th to the 18th century, the room hosted the Scuola Grande dei Legisti and served as a classroom for teaching relating to the field of civil and canon law. Due to the high turnout of students for his lectures, Galileo Galilei obtained the extraordinary privilege of teaching in the magnificent space.

The room owes its appearance to the Rector Giuseppe de Meneghin who commission the walls and ceiling to be redecorated by Giulio Carlini, while Contardo Tomaselli was responsible for the figures and for producing each piece of decorative art. In the centre we see the allegories of wisdom from the faculties of Theology, Law, Philosophy, Medicine, and Mathematics. Along the corners, we find the portraits of Galileo Galilei, the jurist and founder of the university Emo, Cardinal Zabarella, and Giovanni Battista Morgagni. While along the cornice, there are monochrome depictions of episodes from the University’s history. The Senate benches and the podium are the work of Gio Ponti, who restored them in 1942. At the centre of the back wall, he inserted the University’s historical motto, Universa Universis Patavina Libertas.

In celebration of the 800th anniversary of the University of Padua, a large and demanding restoration was carried out that includes the furnishing and architectural elements designed by the architect Gio Ponti.