Located in the atrium of Palazzo Bo and across from the charming bar, the Goliardic Museum is the first of its kind in Italy and is accessible at no cost. Its inauguration is part of the University of Padua’s 800th anniversary celebrations and was made possible thanks to the patronage of the Regione del Veneto.
Attended by the ‘tribuno Apocalisse Valerianas’, the inaugural event included Rector Daniela Mapelli, Paduan Mayor Sergio Giordani, Padua’s Cultural Councilor Enrico Turrin, former rectors Gilberto Muraro, Vincenzo Milanesi, Giuseppe Zaccaria and Rosario Rizzuto, along with local authorities and representatives from the business community. Participating in the event included ‘Bo principi’ and ‘Bo senatori’, ‘goliardi’ members, and the Vitaliano Lenguazza polyphonic orchestra.
Overlooking the New Courtyard and divided into 12 themed exhibitions, the GaudeaMUS! draws a path of the main historical and cultural characteristics of the Paduan student spirit. The museum illustrates the secular values and traditions to visitors while passing them on to future generations. Entrusting its traditions to the students of Padua, the museum aims to explain the meaning and origin of Goliardic history, customs, and events. Although outwardly, such customs may appear frivolous or bizarre, they are profoundly meaningful. By rediscovering and understanding traditions, the University shares an integral and lasting part of its cultural heritage and legacy to the city of Padua.
The museum holds 350 historical objects, clothing, ‘feluche’, and documents, each piece offers visitors the opportunity to interpret the main theme of the museum ‘Patavina Libertas’ and how this sense of freedom continues to be enjoyed over the centuries by its students.
In 1155, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa issued the Authentica habita, or Privilegium Scholasticum, which established some of the rules, rights and privileges enjoyed by universities. Many of the traditions and customs found within the Paduan student spirit continue as a symbolic reminder of this ancient document. It is here that the Goliardic journey begins, including an election for its Tribuno, the Ordini Goliardici, gifting of a hen to the Rector in the presence of the Questore del Bo, the collection of alms by Goliard members, placing of Feluche (type of hat) on the faculty, along with draping furs and cloaks. The unwritten, and written, rules including the Morandini verbal code encompass the Goliardic journey.
The Museum incorporated Goliardic music with original lyrics on display as well as instruments, traditional apparel and musical productions of the Ente Morale Polifonica Vitaliano Lenguazza orchestra. Highlighting stories of memorable goliardic jokes (accompanied by photographs and press articles), explanations of the goliardic initiation and baptism process, along with many witty ‘goliardic-political’ posters. An additional unique tradition of the University of Padua includes the papiro di laurea (kind of graduation poster) that displays caricatures of new graduates along with humorous remarks from fellow students, friends, and family, The museum offers guests a view of some of the original posters from the 19th and 20th century.
Apocalypse Valerianas, the Tribuno delle Genti Venete remarks by saying, “GaudeaMUS! A more suitable name for the Goliardic Museum in Padua would be impossible to find, as it animates the spirit of the Paduan university students across the planet. I invite everyone to read the text of our Mantra and grasp the meanings it carries. This is what we are. We proudly carry on a tradition of Patavina Libertas. Padua has always been a proponent of culture, art, science, and humanistic thought. It is with our Paduan student spirit that we boast this great honour. Goliards of all ages have been able to seize the opportunity to transform what initially seemed a problem, by turning it into a positive resource. Visitors have an opportunity to experience these unconventionally free Goliardic views of our University. Seniors and older students get a chance to relive past moments while it is the teachings of kinship and fellowship that the story of the Goliards truly resides. We do this with pride in celebration of our University’s 800th anniversary. Thanks to those who have put thought, time, stubbornness, and great professionalism to achieve what is for us, as today’s students, a view towards the future.”
“Student spirit is a touch of colour in animated hues that has accompanied, and will continue to follow, the long history of our University,” affirms University of Padua Rector Daniela Mapelli. “A tradition held in motion and passed on to our students who can look to the past and remain fascinated by it. Our students now carry the tradition on by adding their passions to it. These passions are to be written in the future pages of a history that can now be found, and could only be found at Palazzo Bo, the heart of the University while we celebrate 800 years of history. The museum has found a worthy space in which its story must be told. On a personal note, I will remember the day with pleasure as the first public event in my role as rector of the University of Padua.”