Sapienza University of Rome

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Coordinates: 41°54′12″N 12°30′57″E / 41.90333°N 12.51583°E / 41.90333; 12.51583

Sapienza University of Rome
Sapienza – Università di Roma
Sapienza University of Rome.png
Latin: Studium Urbis
Motto Il futuro è passato qui
Motto in English
The future has passed here
The future is past here
Established 1303
Type Public
Rector Prof. Eugenio Gaudio
Administrative staff
Students 112,564[1]
Location Rome, Italy
Campus Urban
Colors          [2]
Athletics CUS Roma

The Sapienza University of Rome, officially Sapienza – Università di Roma, also called simply Sapienza[3] formerly known as Università degli studi di Roma "La Sapienza", is a coeducational, autonomous state university in Rome, Italy. It is the largest European university by enrollments (the third if considering also the distance learning schools)[4] and the oldest of Rome's four state universities, founded in 1303. According to the American society U.S News & World Report, Sapienza University of Rome is one of the most reputable European University and the most prestigious Italian University.[5] Being the biggest Italian University, Sapienza is member of several national and international groups, as: European Spatial Development Planning, Partnership of a European Group of Aeronautics and Space Universities, CINECA, Santander Network, Institutional Network of the Universities from the Capitals of Europe, Mediterranean Universities Union.

Sapienza is present in all major international university rankings. It is among the best Italian universities. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Arwu) compiled by the Jiao Tong University of Shanghai, Sapienza is regularly ranked first among Italian universities. Sapienza is positioned within the 101-150 group of universities and among the top 3% of universities in the world.[6][7] According to La Sapienza is #8th in Europe and #1 in Italy.[8]

In 2013, the Center for World University Rankings ranked the Sapienza University of Rome 62nd in the world and the top in Italy in its World University Rankings.[9]


Palazzo della Sapienza, former home of the University until 1935.
Church of Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza, originally the chapel and seat of the university library (until 1935).

Sapienza University of Rome was founded in 1303 with the Papal bull In supremae praeminentia dignitatis issued on 20 April 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII, as a Studium for ecclesiastical studies more under his control than the universities of Bologna and Padua,[10] making it the first pontifical university.

In 1431 Pope Eugene IV completely reorganized the studium with the bull In supremae, in which he granted masters and students alike the broadest possible privileges and decreed that the university should include the four schools of Law, Medicine, Philosophy and Theology. He introduced a new tax on wine in order to raise funds for the university; the money was used to buy a palace which later housed the Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza church.

However, the University's days of splendour came to an end during the sack of Rome in 1527, when the studium was closed and the professors dispersed; some were killed. Pope Paul III restored the university shortly after his ascension to the pontificate in 1534.

In the 1650s the university became known as Sapienza, meaning wisdom, a title it retains. In 1703, Pope Clement XI purchased some land with his private funds on the Janiculum, where he made a botanical garden, which soon became the most celebrated in Europe through the labours of the Trionfetti brothers.

University students were newly animated during the 19th-century Italian revival. In 1870, La Sapienza stopped being the papal university and became the university of the capital of Italy. In 1935 the new university campus, planned by Marcello Piacentini, was completed.


The new campus of Rome University, built in 1935 by Marcello Piacentini, in a 1938 picture.

Sapienza University has many campuses in Rome but its main campus is the Città Universitaria (University city), which covers 439,000 m2 (4,730,000 sq ft) near Termini Station. The university has some satellite campuses outside Rome, the main of which is in Latina.

In 2011 a project was launched to build a campus with residence halls near Pietralata station, in collaboration with the Lazio region.[11] In order to cope with the ever-increasing number of applicants, the Rector has also approved a new plan to expand the Città Universitaria, reallocate offices and enlarge faculties, as well as create new campuses for hosting local and foreign students.

The Alessandrina University Library[12] (Biblioteca Universitaria Alessandrina), built in 1667 by Pope Alexander VII, is the main library housing 1.5 million volumes; it has some important collections including collezione ciceroniana, Fondo Festa, etc.

Points of interest[edit]


Since the 2011 reform, Sapienza University of Rome has eleven faculties and 65 departments. Today Sapienza, with 140,000 students and 8,000 among academic and technical and administrative staff, is the largest university in Italy.

The university has significant research programmes in the fields of engineering, natural sciences, biomedical sciences and humanities.


In order to cope with the large demand for admission to the university courses, some faculties hold a series of entrance examinations. The entrance test often decides which candidates will have access to the undergraduate course. For some faculties, the entrance test is only a means through which the administration acknowledges the students' level of preparation. Students that do not pass the test can still enroll in their chosen degree courses but have to pass an additional exam during their first year.


On January 15, 2008 the Vatican cancelled a planned visit to La Sapienza University by Pope Benedict XVI who was to speak at the university ceremony launching the 2008 academic year[13] due to protests by some students and professors.[14] The title of speech should have been 'The Truth Makes Us Good and Goodness is Truth'.[15] Some students and professors protested in reaction to a 1990 speech that Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) gave in which he, in their opinion, endorsed the actions of the church against Galileo in 1633.[13]

Notable people[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Picture Alumni Born Died Academic degree Note Awards
Segre.jpg Emilio Gino Segrè 1905 1989 Physics Physicist,colleague and close friend of Ettore Majorana. His Doctoral advisor was Enrico Fermi. He helped discover Antiproton, Astatine, sub-atomic antiparticle. He discovered technetium. Nobel Prize in Physics (1959)
Enrico Fermi 1943-49.jpg Enrico Fermi 1901 1954 Physics Professor Physicist,colleague and close friend of Ettore Majorana. He was Doctoral advisor of Emilio Gino Segrè. He descovered: new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation,Controlled nuclear chain reaction. He's also known for the Fermi–Dirac statistics and The Theory of beta decay Nobel Prize in Physics (1938)[16]
Daniel Bovet nobel.jpg Daniel Bovet 1907 1992 Psychobiology Professor Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1957)for his discovery of drugs that block the actions of specific neurotransmitters. He is best known for his discovery in 1937 of antihistamines, which block the neurotransmitter histamine and are used in allergy medication Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1957)
Pietro Belluschi.jpg Pietro Belluschi 1899 1994 Civil Engineering Leader of the Modern Movement in architecture. Dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning(1951-1965). Collaborator and Design Consultant for Pan Am Building. AIA Gold Medal (1972)
Ennio de Giorgi.jpg Ennio de Giorgi 1922 1996 Mathematics He was an Italian mathematician, who worked on partial differential equations. He solved Bernstein's problem about minimal surfaces. He solved Hilbert's nineteenth problem on the regularity of solutions of elliptic partial differential equation. Caccioppoli Prize (1960), Wolf Prize(1990)
Romaldo Giurgola 1920 Literature and Arts ex Professor at Cornell, University of Pennsylvania and Columbia, before becoming chair of the Columbia architectural department in 1966. He is presently Ware Professor Emeritus of Architecture at Columbia. AIA Gold Medal (1982)
Bernardo Bertolucci.jpg Bernardo Bertolucci 1940 Modern Literature Italian film director and screenwriter, whose films include The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, The Last Emperor, The Sheltering Sky and The Dreamers 2 Nastro d'Argento Best Director, Academy Award for Best Director, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Golden Globe Award for Best Director, Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay, David di Donatello for Best Director, David di Donatello for Best Script, Golden Lion for his career at the Venice Film Festival, Honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival
Scott O'Dell 1898 1989 American children's author who wrote Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960), which won the 1961 Newbery Medal and the 1963 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis as well as the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, of The King's Fifth (1966), Black Star, Bright Dawn (1988), The Black Pearl (1967), and Sing Down the Moon (1970); which were all also Newbery Honor Newbery Medal (1961), Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis,several Newbery Honor awards
Cesareborgia.jpg Cesare Borgia 1475 1507 condottiero, nobleman, politician, and cardinal
Gabriele D'Anunnzio.png Gabriele d'Annunzio 1863 1938 poet, journalist, playwright, soldier, politician. He was part of the literary movement called the Decadent movement.
Vito Volterra.jpg Vito Volterra 1860 1940 Mathematical Physics Professor Italian mathematician and physicist, known for Theory of integral equations and the Lotka–Volterra equations
Maria Montessori1913.jpg Maria Montessori 1870 1952 Natural sciences Founder of the Montessori method of education
Charles Ponzi.jpg Charles Ponzi 1882 1949 Known for the fraudulent business scheme named after him,the Ponzi scheme
Nicola Cabibbo.jpg Nicola Cabibbo 1935 2010 Physics Ex President of Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics and of Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Attilio Celant 01.JPG Attilio Celant 1942 Economics Dean of the Faculty of Economics of "Sapienza" University of Rome (2002-2011).
Mario Draghi - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012.jpg Mario Draghi 1947 Economics President of the European Central Bank. Governor for Italy on the Boards of Governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank. Ex governor of the Bank of Italy. Ex Italian Executive Director at the World Bank. Ex director general of the Italian Treasury. Ex vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs International
Umberto Guidoni portrait.jpg Umberto Guidoni 1954 Astrophysics European Space Agency and Italian Space Agency astronaut(ESA/ASI) and a veteran of two NASA space shuttle mission
Enrico Giovannini 2011.jpg Enrico Giovannini 1957 Economics, Statistics Italian Minister of Labor and Social Policies, President of the Italian Statistical Institute (Istat). Chief Statistician and Director of the Statistics Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. Professor of Economic Statistics.
Maurizio Cheli.jpg Maurizio Cheli 1959 Geophysics European Space Agency and Italian Space Agency astronaut(ESA/ASI) and a veteran of one NASA space shuttle mission
Abdirashid Ali Shermarke 1919 1969 Political Science 2nd President of Somalia
Fiat Luca cordero di Montezemolo.jpg Luca Cordero di Montezemolo 1947 Italian businessman and Chairman of Ferrari, president of Confindustria, president of Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori(NTV). He was also Chairman of Fiat S.p.A from 2004 to 2010.
Fichera.jpeg Gaetano Fichera 1951 Mathematics He was an Italian mathematician, working in mathematical analysis, linear elasticity, partial differential equations and several complex variables. Member of Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei XL and of the Russian Academy of Science.
Ignazio Visco at the Rebuilding Europe’s Competitiveness Meeting, Villa Madama, Rome 30th October 2012.jpg Ignazio Visco 1949 Economics Governor of the Banca d'Italia (Bank of Italy)
CarloFea.jpg Carlo Fea 1753 1836 Law Italian archaeologist
MarcelloPiacentini1900.jpg Marcello Piacentini 1881 Architecture Italian architect Italian urban theorist and the official architect of the Fascist regime
Lina Bo Bardi 1914 Architecture Italian architect
Fuksas.jpg Massimiliano Fuksas 1944 Architecture Italian architect Grand Prix d'Architecture Française (1999), Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française (2000), Honorary Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects (2002), Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects (2006)
Paolo Portoghesi 1931 Architecture Italian architect
Carlo Aymonino 1926 2010 Architecture Italian architect Hononary Fellow at The American Institute of Architects
Mario catania.jpg Mario Catania 1952 Literature and Arts Ex Head of Department of European and International Policies at the Agriculture Ministry. Italian Minister of Agriculture
Marco Abbondanza 1953 Medicine and Surgery Medical doctor and eye surgeon. Creator of the Mini Asymmetric Radial Keratotomy (M.A.R.K.) and popularizer of the Cross-linking.
Carlo Verdone 1950 Modern Literature prominent Italian actor, screenwriter and film director.
Sergio Balanzino 1934 Law Deputy Secretary General of NATO. Two times NATO General Secretary
Franco Frattini on April 6, 2011.jpg Franco Frattini 1957 Law ex Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Flickr - europeanpeoplesparty - EPP Summit 23 March 2006 (40).jpg Antonio Tajani 1953 Law European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship
Paolo Gentiloni Silveri daticamera.jpg Paolo Gentiloni 1954 Political Science Former Minister of Communications of Italy
Federica Mogherini 1973 Political Science Current High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Giorgio Gaja 1939 Law He was elected in 2011 as a judge of the International Court of Justice
Pier Carlo Padoan 1950 Economics Since June 2007 he has been Deputy Secretary General at the OECD in Paris, and their chief economist since 2009. He is the OECD 's G20 Finance Deputy,leads the initiatives 'Strategic Response', 'Green Growth' and 'Innovation'.

On February 19, 2014 Matteo Renzi chose him as Italy's new finance minister.

Giorgio Agamben 1942 Philosophy Philosopher best known for his work investigating the concepts of the state of exception, form-of-life and homo sacer.

Faculty and staff[edit]

Among the prominent scholars who have taught at the Sapienza University of Rome are architects Ernesto Basile and Bruno Zevi; chemist Emanuele Paternò; jurists Antonio Salandra, Sabino Cassese and Giuliano Amato; mathematician Vito Volterra; pharmacologist and Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine Daniel Bovet; chemist and Nobel Laureate Giulio Natta; philosophers Luigi Ferri, Augusto Del Noce and Vittorio Somenzi; physicist and Nobel Laureate in Physics Enrico Fermi; political scientist Roberto Forges Davanzati


See also[edit]


External links[edit]