The construction of the Palace was commissioned by Cardinal Borromeo between 1562 and 1563 following the project by architect Antonio Morandi called Terribilia; it was to house the lecture halls for the University Study (Law and Arts). Up to 1803 it was the seat of the University and since 1838 it has been housing the Civic Library.
The palace was heavily damaged by a 1944 bombing and subsequently rebuilt. The main front presents an arcade with 30 arches, with two stories around a central courtyard.
Two grand staircases lead to the upper storey with classrooms(closed at present) and two great halls one for Artists (today Reading rooms) and one for Jurists (called Stabat Mater Hall).
The room walls, the vaults of staircases and open galleries are decorated with commemorative inscriptions and monuments dedicated to the teachers of the Studio and thousand coats-of-arms and names of students. In front of the entrance there is the chapel of S. Maria dei Bulgari.
The Anatomical Theatre in carved wood, was built by Antonio Levante in 1637 for anatomy lessons. Inside, the famous statues of the Spellati - Skinless - by Ercole Lelli.
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The Classic Itinerary: The emotion of the city landmarks
Anatomical Theatre and Stabat Mater Hall (if not occupied by events) Monday to Friday 10 am - 6 pm Saturday 10 am - 7 pm Sunday and holidays 10 am - 2 pm In May and June: Sunday and holidays 10 am - 7 pm July and August: Monday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm; Saturday 10 am - 7 pm; Sunday and holidays 10 am -2 pm
Anatomical Theatre and Stabat Mater Hall will be open from 10am to 2pm on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.