International Museum and Library of Music

Bologna - Strada Maggiore 34

International Museum and Library of Music


Entry price: € 4.00
reduction € 2. Free: under 15 and over 65, group and school leaders, tourist guides, for everyone on the 1st Saturday of every month from 3pm to the closing time + on January 6th, October 4th, December 26th


Always open
Tuesday - Friday: 9.30am - 4pm; Saturday, Sunday and Holiday: 10am-6.30pm 24th and 31st December 9am-2pm.


Telephone: +39 051 2757711
FAX: +39 051 2757728





The International Museum and Library of Music, inaugurated in 2004, can be found in the historic center of Bologna. It is in the prestigious Palazzo Sanguinetti. The rooms are splendidly decorated and trace back over six centuries of history. There are paintings of famous people, musical instruments and a selection of historical documents of immense value: treaties, books, opera librettos, letters, manuscripts and autograph scores from Father Giambattista Martini’s legacy.

The museum is open, between the "lush" decorations in the room used to introduce woodland halls 2 and 3. They are devoted to the spiritual father of the museum, Giambattista Martini, in an oval portrait of Angelo Crescimbeni. In particular, Room 3 discusses the relationship between Father Martini and personalities of the music industry, such as young Mozart, or Johann Christian Bach, depicted in a famous portrait of Gainsborough. In the same room you can admire the famous doors of the music library by Giuseppe Maria Crespi.

Next, room 4 ("The idea of ??Music") is dedicated to music theorists from the 400’s to the 600’s. There are important examples of musical treatises, with pictures of their authors, and some musical instruments of great importance, such as Theomnitonum Harpsichord (one piece) of Vito Trasuntino (Venice 1606).

Some of the most important pieces are exhibited in the next room of the Arts (Room 5) devoted to "Books and musical instruments of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries." Held in modern circular casing, they are found in the center of the room so to go along with the rich decoration of the floor. You can admire rare texts of late fifteenth century up to the famous Harmonice musices Odhecaton A., the first musical book that was printed, and was produced by Ottaviano Petrucci. Then the instruments: the lute, the harmony of Manfredo Settala flutes of 1650. They represent a real unicum, the pocket fiddle, a small violin used by dance masters, and then the hurdy-gurdy, the serpent and the extraordinary series of horns and ear trumpets from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and finally a scene of singular instruments, such as the theorbo in the form of khitára.

Italian opera plays a starring role in the next rooms. First, in the eighteenth century Room 6, dedicated to the famous singer Farinelli, Carlo Broschi said: it’s a beautiful portrait painted by Corrado Giaquinto and it dominates the room. You can also find portraits of castratos and composers of various periods of time, among these you will find Antonio Vivaldi and Domenico Cimarosa.

In room 7, the nineteenth century, Gioachino Rossinican be found, whose name is inextricably linked to Bologna: portraits, busts, books of the first performances of Isabella Colbran, the singer and his first wife and the autograph score of The Barber of Seville. You can also find interesting personal items such as a dressing gown or wig, and a grand piano made in 1844 by Camille Pleyel, who it belonged to.

The route continues through the centuries, customs and fashions of music. Room 8 is dedicated to the "Books and musical instruments of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: love violas and flutes joined the scores composed by Torelli, Vivaldi, Bertoni etc. there is also the clarinet and the beautiful Buccin made in Lyon by Jean Baptiste Tabard (1812-1845).

At the end of the exhibition, there are two important and incumbent gifts in the Italian musical culture in Bologna: Giuseppe Martucci and Respighi, protagonists of the last room.

The ground floor has been faithfully reconstructed into the laboratory of the famous violinmaker Bignami Otello, from Bologna, donated by his heirs to the Museum of Music.

There is also a function room with its foyer that features multimedia stations, educational laboratories. It’s a temporary exhibition space and a bookshop.

In fact, the museum is not intended only as a place of preservation and enhancement of "classic" music, but also as an area of ??fusion, research and promotion, making its facilities available for "off", cultural events, acting outside traditional museum schedules and fees.

The Museum of Music is thus an open and vibrant place, with multi-functional, interactive services, visited by experts and enthusiasts, citizens and tourists, by adults as by children, with one common denominator: the music in all of its forms and expressions.

Source: local staff of Bologna


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