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
MottoIl futuro è passato qui
Motto in English
The future has passed here
RectorDr. Eugenio Gaudio
Administrative staff
Colors         [2]
AthleticsCUS Roma
AffiliationsEuropean 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.

The Sapienza University of Rome (Italian: Sapienza – Università di Roma), also called simply Sapienza[3][a] or the University of Rome, is a collegiate research university located in Rome, Italy. Formally known as Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", it is one of the largest European universities by enrollments[4] and one of the oldest in history, founded in 1303. The University is one of the most prestigious Italian universities, commonly ranking first in national rankings and in Southern Europe.[5]

Most of the Italian ruling class studied at Sapienza [6] Sapienza educated numerous notable alumni, including many Nobel laureates, Presidents of the European Parliament and European Commissioners, heads of several nations, notable religious figures, scientists and astronauts.[7]. In September 2018, it was included in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings Graduate Employability Ranking[8].


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,[9] 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, and 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. The first complete history of the Sapienza University was written in 1803-1806 by Filippo Maria Renazzi.[10]

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 44 ha (110 acres) near the Roma Tiburtina Station. The university has 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 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 and Fondo Festa.

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. It offers 10 Masters Programmes taught entirely in English.


University rankings
ARWU[13] 151-200
U.S. News & World Report[14] 124

As of the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Sapienza is positioned within the 151-200 group of universities and among the top 3% of universities in the world.[15][16]

In 2018, the subject Classics and Ancient history of Sapienza is ranked the 1st in the world by QS World University Rankings by subject[17]. As the same ranking, the subject Archaeology ranks the 9th[18].

In 2016, the Center for World University Rankings ranked the Sapienza University of Rome as the 90th in the world and the top in Italy in its World University Rankings.[19]


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 mean 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 15 January 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[20] due to protests by some students and professors.[21] The title of the speech would have been 'The Truth Makes Us Good and Goodness is Truth'.[22] 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.[20]

Notable people[edit]

Some of the notable alumni and professors[edit]

Picture Alumni and professors Academic degree Note Awards
Maria Montessori1913.jpg Maria Montessori Natural sciences Founder of the Montessori method of education, regarded to be one of the most influential female physicians
Federico Fellini NYWTS 2.jpg Federico Fellini Law One of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century Academy Honorary Award, European Film Awards
Evangelista Torricelli by Lorenzo Lippi (circa 1647, Galleria Silvano Lodi & Due).jpg Evangelista Torricelli Physics Inventor of the barometer. He made significant contributions in optics and on the method of indivisibles.
Enrico Fermi 1943-49.jpg Enrico Fermi Physics Physicist, colleague and close friend of Ettore Majorana. A key figure in the creation of the atomic bomb, he discovered: new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, controlled nuclear chain reaction. He is also known for the Fermi–Dirac statistics and the theory of beta decay Nobel Prize in Physics (1938)[23]
Segre.jpg Emilio Gino Segrè Physics Physicist, colleague and close friend of Ettore Majorana. A key figure in the creation of the atomic bomb, he helped discover the antiproton and the elements astatine, and technetium Nobel Prize in Physics (1959)
Daniel Bovet nobel.jpg Daniel Bovet Psychobiology 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 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 Mathematics 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)
Umberto Guidoni portrait.jpg Umberto Guidoni Astrophysics European Space Agency and Italian Space Agency astronaut (ESA/ASI) and a veteran of two NASA space shuttle mission
Mario Draghi World Economic Forum 2013 crop.jpg Mario Draghi 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
Sergio Balanzino.jpg Sergio Balanzino Law Deputy Secretary General of NATO. Two times NATO General Secretary
Flickr - europeanpeoplesparty - EPP Summit 23 March 2006 (40).jpg Antonio Tajani Law President of the European Parliament. Former European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship
Federica Mogherini 2014.jpg Federica Mogherini Political Science High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Presidente Sergio Mattarella.jpg Sergio Mattarella Law 12th President of Italy
Vito Volterra.jpg Vito Volterra Mathematical physics Mathematician and physicist, known for the theory of integral equations and the Lotka–Volterra equations
Gabriele D'Anunnzio.png Gabriele d'Annunzio Literature Poet, journalist, playwright, soldier, politician. He was part of the literary movement called the Decadent movement.
Bernardo Bertolucci.jpg Bernardo Bertolucci Modern literature 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
Charles Ponzi.jpg Charles Ponzi Business Known for the fraudulent business scheme named after him, the Ponzi scheme
Nicola Cabibbo.jpg Nicola Cabibbo Physics President of Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics and of Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Enrico Giovannini - Festival Economia 2014.JPG Enrico Giovannini 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.
Abdirashid Ali Shermarke Political Science 1st Prime Minister of Somalia and 2nd President of Somalia
Fiat Luca cordero di Montezemolo.jpg Luca Cordero di Montezemolo Accounting

Chairman of Ferrari, president of Confindustria, president of Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV). He was also the Chairman of Fiat S.p.A from 2004 to 2010.||

Ignazio Visco at the Rebuilding Europe’s Competitiveness Meeting, Villa Madama, Rome 30th October 2012.jpg Ignazio Visco Economics Governor of the Banca d'Italia (Bank of Italy)
Fuksas.jpg Massimiliano Fuksas Architecture 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)
Carlo Verdone 2007 cropped.jpg Carlo Verdone Modern literature Prominent actor, screenwriter and film director.
Paolo Gentiloni Silveri daticamera.jpg Paolo Gentiloni Political Science Italian Prime Minister from December 2016 to June 2018
Giorgio Gaja Law Elected in 2011 as a judge of the International Court of Justice
Pier Carlo Padoan crop.jpg Pier Carlo Padoan Economics Deputy Secretary General at the OECD in Paris, and their chief economist. OECD 's G20 Finance Deputy, leads the initiatives 'Strategic Response', 'Green Growth' and 'Innovation'. Italy's finance minister

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 and Augusto Del Noce; physicist and Nobel Laureate in Physics Enrico Fermi; political scientist Roberto Forges Davanzati


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pronounced [la saˈpjɛntsa]; Italian for "knowledge" or "wisdom".


  1. ^ "Anagrafe Nazionale Studenti".
  2. ^ "Sapienza University of Rome – Identity Guidelines". Archived from the original on 25 August 2012.
  3. ^ Official Sapienza University of Rome name and logos writing guidelines Archived 17 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Chi siamo - Sapienza - Università di Roma".
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Sapienza" (PDF). UniRoma. 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  8. ^
  9. ^ History
  10. ^ Di Simone, Maria Rosa (1980). La sapienza romana nel Settecento (in Italian). Roma: Edizioni dell'Ateneo.
  11. ^ "Pietralata, i lavori del campus inizieranno a fine 2012". (in Italian). Nuovo Paese Sera srl. 27 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Home - Biblioteca Universitaria Alessandrina".
  13. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  14. ^ "Best Global Universities Rankings: 2019". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "Sapienza among Top World Universities - Sapienza - Università di Roma".
  16. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2016".
  17. ^ "Classics & Ancient History". Sapienza University of Rome
  18. ^ "Archaeology". Sapienza University of Rome
  19. ^ "The 2015 edition of the ranking has been released". Center for World University Rankings. 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  20. ^ a b BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Papal visit scuppered by scholars 15 January 2008
  21. ^ "The letter of the scientists to the rector of the University" (in Italian). Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  22. ^ Benedict XVI's Planned Lecture at La Sapienza Archived 8 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine. 18 January 2008
  23. ^ "Enrico Fermi - Biographical".

External links[edit]