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.
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.