According to Times Higher Education, that compiled a list of the European universities that combine spectacular cultural, artistic and aesthetic value of buildings with amazing green spaces University of Bologna, “is a strong contender as not just one of the most beautiful universities in Europe but perhaps even in the world.”

Dating back to 1088, the Bologna “Studium” was founded by students and for students to become the oldest continually running university in the Western world. Its beauty and grandeur have certainly not diminished over time, on the contrary its history and impressive list of illustrious alumni – including Nicolaus Copernicus, Dante Alighieri, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Laura Bassi, Guglielmo Marconi, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, and Enzo Ferrari – contribute to increase the charm of buildings like Palazzo Poggi – one of the university’s main buildings that houses three of its museums with exhibitions on natural history, anatomy and obstetrics, and physics and chemistry -, and the Collegio di Spagna – a cloistered building that incorporates in its design both Gothic and Renaissance elements.

Certainly not less pleasing to the eye is the 2 hectare Botanic Garden and Herbarium – again among the oldest in Europe – located in the heart of the University area, where 5,000 different plants grow in thematic collections, reconstruction of natural habitats, and green houses. The collections of dried plants of the Herbarium that began in the 16th century hold about 100,000 botanical specimens from all over the world.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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