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Welcome from the Rector

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Museums and Collections

The University of Pavia boasts an extraordinary historical-scientific inheritance. It demonstrates the research and teaching activities that took place over more than six centuries. In numerous museums and collections more than 600,000 objects including instruments, medical apparatus and documents bear witness to the development of the sciences and the results obtained in Pavia that are now part of the history of science, such as those of Cardano, Aselli, Scarpa, Spallanzani, Scopoli, Volta, Brugnatelli, Lombroso, Forlanini and Golgi up to the present day.
Over the last twenty years a team has dedicated much energy and time to restore, identify and exhibit this inheritance and in January 2005 the University founded the Sistema Museale di Ateneo to manage and coordinate all the activities connected with the museums. The Sistema aims to create a number of new scientific museums: the Museum of Electrical Technology, completed in autumn 2006; the Museum of Natural History; and the Museum for the History of Science, in the new scientific campus of the University on the outskirts of the town. Other collections such as the Botanical Garden, the Laboratory of Camillo Golgi, the Museum for the History of the University, the Archeology Museum, have instead been restored in their original buildings, which preserve their historical character.

The Cabinet of Physics of Alessandro Volta

The Museum for the History of the University (Strada Nuova, 65 Ph +39 0382 984709) is divided into two sections: the first, the Physics collection, founded in 1771, which contains the “Cabinet of Physics of Alessandro Volta” and the “Cabinet of Physics of the University”; the second, the Medicine collection, consists of three halls, the sala Golgi, the sala Scarpa and the sala Porta. It is possible to visit the Museum on Monday (h. 2.00 – 5.00 pm) and on Friday (h. 9.00 am – 1.00 pm). Other information may be found on

The Botanical Garden

The botanical garden (Via S. Epifanio 14 Ph +39 0382 984855) was established in the eighteenth century thanks to the efforts of botanist Fulgenzio Vitmann, but it was under the direction of Giovanni Antonio Scopoli that the garden became comparable to the most famous botanical gardens of the period. It has 300.000 specimens collected in twelve different sections. Since 1996 the Garden has been linked with the Department of Territorial Ecology and Environment. It is used by research scientists for teaching and experimental plant cultivation. The Garden is divided into: Rose Garden, Gymnosperm Arboretum, Tea bed, Nemoral plant collection, Angiosperm arboretum, Seed Bank, Bosco Negri Teaching Centre, Tropical greenhouse, Medicinal herb collection, Useful plants greenhouse, Scopoli greenhouses, Scopoli’s arboretum and platanus. Botanic Garden opening times: Monday to Thursday: 9.00 – 12.30 14.30 – 17.00; Friday: 9.00 – 12.00 (contacts:; web site:

The Museum of Natural History

The origins of the Museum of Natural History go back to 1769, the year in wich Lazzaro Spallanzani became professor of Natural History at the University of Pavia. It is divided into three sections: Comparative Anatomy, Zoology and Geo-Paleontology. Awaiting a new site in the scientific campus, today the Museum has offices and laboratories in the historical building called “Palazzo Botta” (Piazza Botta, 9 Ph +39 0382 986308) and an exhibition (open to the public upon reservation, contact: in Via Guffanti, 13.

The Museum of Electrical Technology

The Museum of Electrical Technology (Via Ferrata Ph +39 0382 984101) is the first of the new scientific museums planned for the Cravino Campus. Its collections began in 1991 for teaching purposes and for the research about the history of electrical technology, and developed with donations from public and private electrical companies such as Enel and Sirti. The Museum will be opened at the beginning of 2007 and it will be possible to visit its collection upon reservation (

The Museum of Mineralogy

The Museum of Mineralogy (Via Ferrata, 1 – Ph +39 0382 985890) was at first a section of the Museum of Natural History and became a Museum in the eighteenth century, under the guide of Giuseppe Mangili, who succeded Lazzaro Spallanzani. It has both a systematic and a regional collection of minerals and rocks. The museum is open on Monday to Thursday from 14.00 to 16.00 and Friday from 9.00 to 12.00 (

Other colletions

In addition to these museums, the university has many collections still in their original locations, that unfortunately are not available to the public: the Archeology Museum (Via Strada Nuova, 65 Ph +39 0382 984497) founded by P.V.Aldini in 1819 with didactic aims, the Museum of Normal Human Anatomy, established at the end of the seventeenth century; the Collection of Pathological Anatomy, originated in the days of post-mortem specimens prepared in the S. Matteo Hospital; the Collection of Physiology founded by Eusebio Oehl in 1860 and consisting of about 300 items (medical instruments and documents).
The Collection of Histology and Embryology created in the last years of the eighteenth century, contains about 10 thousand objects which were prepared especially for teaching purposes.
The Collection of General Pathology (P.zza Botta, 10 Ph +39 0382 984712) is strongly connected with the activity of the Nobel Prize-winner Camillo Golgi, who discovered the black reaction, the Golgi’s Apparatus and the Plasmodium of Malaria . Under his direction, during the end of 1800 and at the turn of the 20th century, the Institute of General Pathology became a research centre of international renown. Today it is possible to visit the ancient library and the recently restored “Aula Golgi”.
The Collection of Chemistry has 200 objects which testify to the history of chemistry and its teaching from the second half of the eighteenth century: in 1784 Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, with the cooperation of the architect Giuseppe Piermarini, opened the first chemistry laboratory inside the Botanical Garden.
The Collection of Physics is divided into two parts according to the age of the instruments: the older instruments are located in the Museum for the History of the University and the rest, those from the twentieth century, are housed inside the Department of Physics. The latter, about 800 items, are measurement instruments of electricity, mechanics and thermology.
The Collection of Models and Mathematical Instruments includes mathematical models made of plaster (gypsum), wood or metal, realized at the end of the nineteenth century for teaching purposes.
The Collection of Musicology ( Garibaldi, 178 – Cremona Ph +39 0372 457077) belongs to Pavia University even if it is to be found at Cremona, a little town 60 Km from Pavia. The collection consists of 70 musical instruments, of which the most ancient is a piano belonging to the second half of the eighteenth century. It also has some copies of medieval, renaissance and baroque instruments made in the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century.