Mozart &
Material Culture


Formally constituted on 12 December 1711 at the Palazzo Poggi (now via Zamboni 31), the Bologna Istituto delle Scienze (now the Accademia delle Scienze dell’Istituto di Bologna), was devoted to experimental, medical and physical sciences as well as mathematics; it aspired to present the whole of modern scientific knowledge. Of particular significance during the eighteenth century were the construction of an observatory tower ('La Specola'), added to the palazzo in 1726, and a new building to house the library.

Palazzo Poggi Bologna.png

Palazzo Poggi, eighteenth-century engraving (University of Bologna Library)

Mozart Relevance

Mozart and his father visited the Istituto shortly before 27 March 1770, at which time Leopold wrote to his wife:

  1. We were at the Istituto and saw the beautiful statues by our court sculptor [Johann Baptist Hagenauer]. All that I`ve seen here surpasses the British Museum, for here there are not only unusual objects from the world of nature but everything that comes under the heading of science, preserved like a lexicon in beautiful rooms and neatly arranged in an orderly fashion: in a word, you`d be amazed.
LM Letter 27-28 Mar 1770.jpg

Leopold Mozart’s letter (27-28 March 1770), describing the Istituto delle Scienze (Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum)

Palazzo Poggi
Location (Mozart)
Bibliographic Reference
Giuseppe Gaetano Bolletti, Dell'origine e de' progressi dell'Istituto delle Scienze di Bologna (Bologna, 1751); Enrica Baida and Fabrizio Bònoli, ‘L'Osservatorio Astronomico Universitario di Bologna’, Coelum 49 (1980), 20-30;