The coats of arms


The rich decoration of the Archiginnasio constitutes the largest existing heraldic wall complex and it has excited the admiration of visitors and scholars of all times. The coats of arms had to strengthen the idea of authority and power of the institution.
Just as in the galleries of the noble palaces the paintings celebrated the pomp of the family, so in the University the heraldic decoration concurred to emphasize the history and the prestige of the academic tradition, while the inscriptions and the mottos were considered as an invitation to intellectual and moral uplifting.
From the construction of the building up to the end of the eighteenth century, the inscriptions, the memorials of the masters of the Studio and the students' coats of arms were affixed.
Currently, the coats of arms that follow one another in the classrooms, in the corridors and along the staircases are about 6,000.
Organized in horizontal bands or around celebratory monuments, the coats of arms show also the indication of the "natio" of which the student was representative, in addition to his name and provenance.

The memorial of the Peruvian Diego de Leon Garavito, the first student who came from America to attend the University of Bologna (the memorial is placed in the vault of the loggia between the atrium and the courtyard).

A digital collection: "The history on the walls"
The coats of arms and the inscriptions of the wall decoration of the palace. The data base integrally presents the scanned images and the textual information accompanying the decorations, thanks to a computerized and multimedia data management.

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