Palazzo Pepoli, Museo della Storia di Bologna


This week I finally got to visit the new museum of Bologna, which opened last December. The museum is in itself worth more than a visit: it focuses on the history of the city, from the proto-historical inhabitants, through the Etruscans, the Romans, and then the rich heritage from the Middle Age, which still shapes so deeply the city centre. A lot of efforts has been done in developing the exhibition: the first room dedicated to the Etruscan is shaped as the old way into the city, with funerary monuments on both side. Meanwhile a video is screened on the walls, and the lights help the visitor to follow the narrating voice and highlighting the main characteristics of these monuments.
In another room, dedicated to the peculiar “portici” which still distinguish most of the city centre streets, a play of mirrors reconstructs these portici and the towers, while the panels don’t limit themselves to present the history of the urban development, but expand their text to include also the comments of some modern architect (first of all, Le Corbusier), who were inspired by Bologna’s skyline.
Another section I cannot avoid mentioning is that of Bologna Underground. Under the city, there is a web of channels and the old river: so it is difficult to find waterways in Bologna, because they are all mostly underground. This is presented in a gallery, where the designers developed an amazing way of representing these underground channels: on the walls, a web of white cotton ropes traces the form of the tunnels, illuminated from below by led lights; while video are projected both on the floor and on the walls. The effect is then enlarged by another brilliant use of mirrors.
The whole history of the city is then recalled in a 3-D video, and the museum’s presentation goes on until the contemporary Bologna, its famous musicians, actors, philosophers, etc.
Overall the museum is very good, and appeal both to people who have been living there and would reckon many common places and characteristics of the city, and to tourist, who get to know the history and the monument of Bologna.

Museum Website


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