The Sapienza University of Rome ( it, Sapienza – Università di Roma), also called simply Sapienza or the University of Rome, and formally the Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", is a research university located in Rome, Italy. It is one of the List of largest universities by enrollment, largest European universities by enrollments and List of oldest universities in continuous operation, one of the oldest in history, founded in 1303. The University is one of the most prestigious Italian universities and in the world, commonly ranking first in national rankings and in Southern Europe. In 2018, 2019 and 2021 it ranked first in the world for classics and ancient history. Most of the Italian ruling class studied at the Sapienza. The Sapienza educated numerous notable alumni, including many List of Nobel laureates, Nobel laureates, President of the European Parliament, Presidents of the European Parliament and European Commissioner, European Commissioners, heads of several nations, notable religious figures, scientists and astronauts. In September 2018, it was included in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings Graduate Employability Ranking.


The 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 University of Bologna, Bologna and University of Padua, Padua, 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 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 (1527), sack of Rome in 1527, when the studium was closed, some of the professors having been killed and others dispersed. Pope Paul III restored the university shortly after his election to the pontificate in 1534. In the 1650s the university became known as Sapienza, meaning wisdom, a title it retains. In 1703, with his private funds, Pope Clement XI purchased some land on the Janiculum, where he created 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. 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. On 15 January 2008 the Holy See, 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 yearBBC NEWS , World , Europe , Papal visit scuppered by scholars
15 January 2008
due to protests by some students and professors. The title of the speech would have been 'The Truth Makes Us Good and Goodness is Truth'. 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.


Sapienza University has many campuses in Rome, but its main campus is the ''Città Universitaria'' (University city), which covers near the Roma Tiburtina railway station, Roma Tiburtina Station. The university has satellite campuses outside Rome, the main one of which is in Latina, Lazio, Latina. In 2011 a project was launched to build a campus with residence halls near Pietralata station, in collaboration with the Lazio region. 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 (''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

* Orto Botanico dell'Università di Roma "La Sapienza", a botanical garden * Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza * San Pietro in Vincoli: the cloister is part of the Engineering School * Villa Mirafiori: a Neo-Renaissance palace built during the 19th century, some rooms are decorated with fine frescoes. The Department of Philosophy is located in this building.


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.


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. In 2018, the subject Classics and Ancient history of Sapienza is ranked the 1st in the world by ''QS World University Rankings'' by subject. As the same ranking, the subject Archaeology ranks the 9th. 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''. According to th
QS Graduate Employability Ranking 2020
Sapienza places first amongst Italian universities for the indicator on Alumni Outcomes thanks to the number of university graduates employed in large companies and in managerial positions.


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.

Notable people

Some of the notable alumni and professors

Faculty and staff

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. * Carlo Costamagna * Cardinal Mazarin * Mario Oriani-Ambrosini * Corrado Gini, statistician * Lucio Bini and Ugo Cerletti, psychiatrists * Corrado Böhm, computer scientist * Benedetto Castelli, mathematician * Andrea Cesalpino, physician and botanist * Federigo Enriques, mathematician * Maria Montessori, physician and paedagogist * Paola S. Timiras, biologist * Barnaba Tortolini, mathematician * Andrea Zitolo, physical-chemist * Edoardo Amaldi * Oscar D'Agostino * Ettore Majorana * Bruno Pontecorvo * Franco Rasetti * Giovanni Battista Beccaria * Giovanni Jona-Lasinio * Luciano Maiani * Domenico Pacini * Antonio Signorini * Nicola Cabibbo, President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences * Cora Sternberg * Carlo Franzinetti, physicist * Alessandro Piccolo (agricultural scientist), Professor at University of Naples Federico II, Humboldt Prize in Chemistry *Bruno Luiselli, professor emeritus of Latin literature, studied the Barbarian.


* Glauco Benigni, Author, journalist * Anna Maria Bisi, archaeologist * Cesare Borgia, Cardinal, condottiero and politician of the 15th century * Piero Boitani, literary critic, writer and academic * Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, jurisconsult * Silvia Berti, historian * Lazarus Buonamici, renaissance humanist * Umberto Cassuto, Hebrew language and Bible scholar * Marcel Danesi, language scientist * Carlo Innocenzio Maria Frugoni, poet * Count Angelo de Gubernatis, orientalist * Predrag Matvejević, writer and academic * Santo Mazzarino, leading historian of ancient Rome and ancient Greece * Giuseppe Tucci, orientalist * Mario Liverani, orientalist * Paolo Matthiae, director of the archeological expedition of Ebla * Antonio Nibby, archaeologist * Diego Laynez, second general of the Society of Jesus; * Giulio Mazzarino, politician and cardinal * Alessandro Roncaglia, economist * Giulio Salvadori, literary critic and poet * Giuseppe Scaraffia, literary critic * Ugo Spirito, philosopher * Giuseppe Ungaretti, poet * Bernardino Varisco, philosopher * Musine Kokalari, Albanians, Albanian writer


The University entered into a collaboration with the Bahraini government and established the King Hamad Chair in Interfaith Dialogue and Peaceful co-existence in November 2018. The chair was established for entailing direct funding from the Bahraini government to La Sapienza. In July 2021 Italian MP Laura Boldrini and chairwoman of the Standing Committee on Human Rights wrote a letter criticizing the collaboration. In her letter, Boldrini stressed the human rights situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The letter was a follow-up to a hearing that took place on 14 June 2021, addressing the systematic violation of human rights, the death penalty, and the condition of detention of the prisoners of conscience in the country. Boldrini drew a contrast between the values of Bahrain and that of a democracy, like Italy.

See also

* European Spatial Development Planning ESDP-Network * List of medieval universities



External links

Sapienza University of Rome Italian Website

Sapienza University of Rome English Website
{{DEFAULTSORT:Rome Sapienza Sapienza University of Rome, 1303 establishments in Europe 14th-century establishments in the Papal States Educational institutions established in the 14th century Universities and colleges in Rome Rome Q. VI Tiburtino