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International museum and
library of music of Bologna

Museum

The Museum is located in the prestigious Palazzo Sanguinetti, in the historical centre of Bologna. The building was finally reopened to the public after a long and careful restoration which has brought back the original splendour to the extremely rich frescoes inside, which were painted between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, and which are one of the most important examples of frescoes from the Napoleonic and Neo-classical period in Bologna.

The main floor of the Palazzo contains rooms which display information relating to about six centuries of the history of European music. There are over one hundred portraits of renowned personalities from the world of music, originating from the famous picture gallery of Padre Giovanni Battista Martini (1706 – 1784), a composer and music theoretician.

One notable portrait, in terms of quality and importance, is that of Johann Christian Bach, the youngest son of Johann Sebastian, which was painted by Thomas Gainsborough. Also noteworthy is that of Carlo Broschi, the most famous sopranista of the 18th century in Europe, known as “il Farinelli”, painted by Corrado Giaquinto.

In addition there are more than eighty antique musical instruments, from both Europe and outside Europe. There is also an extensive selection of extremely valuable historical documents (treatises, volumes, opera librettos, letters, manuscripts and signed original musical scores), which represents the 18th century core of the collection formed by Padre Martini, and which was then enriched by acquisitions, legacies and donations, and then finally by the archive of the Teatro Comunale (communal theatre).

This included around 10,000 posters, starting with the poster for the opening performance, which was Gluck’s Trionfo di Clelia (1763). There is also a collection of set and costume sketches, theatre programmes and a rich specialised newspaper and periodical library.