Italy is a beautiful country well known for its tasty cuisine, beautiful landscape and iconic sites fully packed with history. But do you also know that about half of Italian universities have long histories that can’t be compared to other universities in Europe and the world at large? 

This country has been a fountain of knowledge long before the break of civilization and industrialization. With the advent of the University of Bologna in the year 1088 which was the first in Italy, there was no such thing as the word “university”.

In fact, the word “university” was coined from the University of Bologna. After the big break of Bologna, other universities begin to follow in different regions of the country. The University of Padua was founded in the year 1222, and the University of Naples which was the third in Italy was also founded in 1224.

Although these universities didn’t come to be all of a sudden, it all began in the time of medieval Europe. A group of students came together in Paris and Bologna with the aim of improving what they had. They then came with “universitates studiorum” a learning center.

The fame of these centers spread like a wild fire and this made it became a big cultural center in a very short period of time. As a result of this great achievement, popes, kings, and other influential personality began to establish more universitates studiorum. This trend continued until 1861 which was after the unification of Italy which brought a centralized government.

The great unification brought a landmark change and restructuring to all the universitates studiorum. They became an institution and came under the control of the states that they were located.

The advent of a centralized government changes the way things were. In the year 1947, the rules that were used to govern Italian university was adopted and set down in the constitution.

This law stated clearly that Italian university education was free and everyone has an equal right to pursue academic excellence to any length regardless of their financial status. This actually encouraged a lot of students to further their education because they were not asked to pay a penny.

As if that was the end of it all,  a new reformation process began in the year 1999. This reformation reformed all the Italian universities and made them decentralized. After the decentralization, the Ministry For Universities and Research, which is now referred to as MURST (Ministero dell’Universita e della Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica) was set up.

Also, this ministry functioned as an independent organization and it was solely in charge of finances and budget of each university, researches, management, and teachings.

This reformation was not only to make Italian Universities system similar to what was already in place in other European countries but also to improve the mobility of international students, academic recognition all over the world and promote labor circulation.

In order for Italian Universities to achieve these goals, the university system which consists of other non-university higher education was separated from it. The separated non-university higher education consists of music, arts, secondary education among others. In Italia, this sector is referred to as Istruzione e Formazione tecnica superiore.

This reformation process changes all the Italian Universities and the way they operate. Till date, only a few reformations have been made and all the universities that started the race are still well recognized on the big stage for they have produced great minds and intellects that the world has never seen. Italian Universities are still doing the same without relenting.