This building owned by Achille Bocchi (1488 – 1562) of Bologna, a humanist writer, was opened in 1546 after a project by Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola and soon became the seat of his Hermatena Academy.
This name comes from the combination of Hermes, god of eloquence, and his female counterpart Athena, goddess of wisdom, arts and science. The interior houses 16th century frescoes by Prospero Fontana. The scarp base of the palace features the massive rustication which decorates the front door and the four windows on the ground floor as well.
Two inscriptions run along the rusticated base of the front: one is the only example of inscription in Hebrew on a monument building existing in Italy and Europe and reproduces a verse from psalm 120 of the Psalter in Jewish characters and reads: "Deliver me from the liars, God! They smile so sweetly but lie through their teeth." The other one is in Latin and is taken from the Epistle 1 by Horace and reads:"Rex eris, aiunt, si recte facies" ("do well, thou shalt be crowned").