University of Padua

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University of Padua
Università di Padova
University of Padua seal.svg
Latin: Universitas Studii Paduani
MottoUniversa Universis Patavina Libertas (Latin)
Motto in English
Liberty of Padua, universally and for all
Type Public
Established1222;800 years ago (1222)
Rector Daniela Mapelli
Academic staff
Undergraduates 38,495
Postgraduates 20,822
CampusUrban (University town)
Sports teamsCUS Padova
Colors Padua Red  
Affiliations Coimbra Group, TIME network

The University of Padua (Italian : Università degli Studi di Padova, UNIPD) is an Italian university located in the city of Padua, region of Veneto, northern Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 by a group of students and teachers from Bologna. [1] Padua is the second-oldest university in Italy and the world's fifth-oldest surviving university. In 2010, the university had approximately 65,000 students. [2] In 2021, it was ranked second "best university" among Italian institutions of higher education with more than 40,000 students according to Censis institute, [3] and among the best 200 universities in the world according to ARWU. [4]



The university is conventionally said to have been founded in 1222 when a large group of students and professors left the University of Bologna in search of more academic freedom ('Libertas scholastica'). The first subjects to be taught were law and theology. The curriculum expanded rapidly, and by 1399 the institution had divided in two: a Universitas Iuristarum for civil law and Canon law, and a Universitas Artistarum which taught astronomy, dialectic, philosophy, grammar, medicine, and rhetoric. There was also a Universitas Theologorum, established in 1373 by Urban V.

The student body was divided into groups known as "nations" which reflected their places of origin. The nations themselves fell into two groups:

  1. the cismontanes for the Italian students
  2. the ultramontanes for those who came from beyond the Alps

From the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, the university was renowned for its research, particularly in the areas of medicine, astronomy, philosophy and law. During this time, the university adopted the Latin motto: Universa universis patavina libertas (Paduan Freedom is Universal for Everyone). Nevertheless, the university had a turbulent history, and there was no teaching in 1237–61, 1509–17, 1848–50.

The Botanical Garden of Padova, established by the university in 1545, is one of the oldest gardens of its kind in the world. Its alleged title of oldest academic garden is in controversy because the Medici created one in Pisa in 1544. In addition to the garden, best visited in the spring and summer, the university also manages nine museums, including a History of physics museum.

The university houses the oldest surviving permanent anatomical theatre in Europe, dating from 1595 Theatre-anatomique-Padoue.JPG
The university houses the oldest surviving permanent anatomical theatre in Europe, dating from 1595

The university began teaching medicine around 1250. It played a leading role in the identification and treatment of diseases and ailments, specializing in autopsies and the inner workings of the body. [5]

Since 1595, Padua's famous anatomical theatre drew artists and scientists studying the human body during public dissections. It is the oldest surviving permanent anatomical theatre in Europe. Anatomist Andreas Vesalius held the chair of Surgery and Anatomy (explicator chirurgiae) and in 1543 published his anatomical discoveries in De Humani Corporis Fabrica. The book triggered great public interest in dissections and caused many other European cities to establish anatomical theatres.

On 25 June 1678, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, a Venetian noblewoman and mathematician, became the first woman to be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

The university became one of the universities of the Kingdom of Italy in 1873, and ever since has been one of the most prestigious in the country for its contributions to scientific and scholarly research: in the field of mathematics alone, its professors have included such figures as Gregorio Ricci Curbastro, Giuseppe Veronese, Francesco Severi and Tullio Levi Civita.

Palazzo Bo is the historical seat of University of Padua since 1493 Palazzo Bo (Padua).jpg
Palazzo Bo is the historical seat of University of Padua since 1493
Diploma of Girolamo Martinengo, 1582 Houghton MS Typ 480 - Universita di Padova diploma, Girolamo Martinengo, 1582.jpg
Diploma of Girolamo Martinengo, 1582

The last years of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century saw a reversal of the centralisation process that had taken place in the sixteenth: scientific institutes were set up in what became veritable campuses; a new building to house the Arts and Philosophy faculty was built in another part of the city centre (Palazzo del Liviano, designed by Giò Ponti); the Astro-Physics Observatory was built on the Asiago uplands; and the old Palazzo del Bo was fully restored (1938–45). The vicissitudes of the Fascist period—political interference, the Race Laws, etc.—had a detrimental effect upon the development of the university, as did the devastation caused by the Second World War and—just a few decades later—the effect of the student protests of 1968-69 (which the university was left to face without adequate help and support from central government). However, the Gymnasium Omnium Disciplinarum continued its work uninterrupted, and overall the second half of the twentieth century saw a sharp upturn in development—primarily due an interchange of ideas with international institutions of the highest standing (particularly in the fields of science and technology).

In recent years, the university has been able to meet the problems posed by overcrowded facilities by re-deploying over the Veneto as a whole. In 1990, the Institute of Management Engineering was set up in Vicenza, after which the summer courses at Brixen (Bressanone) began once more, and in 1995 the Agripolis centre at Legnaro (for Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine) opened. Other sites of re-deployment are at Rovigo, Treviso, Feltre, Castelfranco Veneto, Conegliano, Chioggia and Asiago.

Recent changes in state legislation have also opened the way to greater autonomy for Italian universities, and in 1995 Padua adopted a new Statute that gave it greater independence.

As the publications of innumerable conferences and congresses show, the modern-day University of Padua plays an important role in scholarly and scientific research at both a European and world level. True to its origins, this is the direction in which the university intends to move in the future, establishing closer links of cooperation and exchange with all the world's major research universities.


The university is constantly ranked among the best Italian universities.

ARWU ranks the university in the Italian top 4 alongside the Sapienza University of Rome, the University of Milan and the University of Pisa. ARWU ranks the university in the 151st-200th range globally for 2021. The 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings lists the university at 4th place in Italy and in the 201st-250th range worldwide. QS World University Rankings ranks the university 4th in Italy in 2021 and the best in Italy to study geology and geophysics, earth and sea sciences, biological sciences, psychology, anatomy and physiology. It also places the University of Padua at 242nd in the world for 2021. [6]

In the 2020 U.S. News & World Report 's World Best Global Universities Rankings, the University of Padua is ranked the world's 116th, tied with the University of Bologna, and 48th in Europe. [7]

The NTU ranking, which focuses on productivity and quality of scientific production, places the University of Padua as 82nd worldwide for 2022. [8]

Notable people

Coats of arms of professors and students in the Aula Magna, Palazzo Bo. Photo by Paolo Monti, 1966 Paolo Monti - Servizio fotografico (Padova, 1966) - BEIC 6346855.jpg
Coats of arms of professors and students in the Aula Magna, Palazzo Bo. Photo by Paolo Monti, 1966
Certificate of medicine of the University of Padua, awarded in 1642 to the Flemish Jan Damman. Certificate of medicine University of Padua 1642 Jan Damman.jpg
Certificate of medicine of the University of Padua, awarded in 1642 to the Flemish Jan Damman.


Notable people who have attended the University of Padua include: [10]

In natural sciences
In politics and government
In arts, theology and literature

Notable faculty


The University of Padua offers a wide range of degrees, organized by Departments:


Departments have been united in a limited number of Schools:

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anatomical Theatre of Padua</span> Theatre in Padua, Italy

The Anatomical Theatre of Padua, Northern Italy, is the first permanent anatomical theatre in the world. Still preserved in the Palazzo del Bo, it was inaugurated in 1595 by Girolamo Fabrici of Acquapendente, according to the project of Paolo Sarpi and Dario Varotari. This theatre constituted the model for the anatomical theatres built during the seventeenth century in the main universities of Europe: all would have been based on the Paduan archetype. It is the symbol of a successful period in the University of Padua's history, and it is considered one of the most important achievements for the study of anatomy during the sixteenth century.


  1. "History". Università di Padova. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  2. "University of Padua" . Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  3. "Gli atenei statali". CENSIS (in Italian). 2021-07-12. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  4. "Shanghai Ranking-Universities". Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  5. Jerome J. Bylebyl, "The School of Padua: humanistic medicine in the 16th century," in Charles Webster, ed., Health, Medicine and Mortality in the Sixteenth Century (1979) ch10
  6. Padova, Università di (2019-09-12). "Ranking internazionali". Università degli studi di Padova (in Italian). Retrieved 2022-04-02.
  7. "Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report L.P. 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  8. "University of Padua". Retrieved 2022-09-18.
  9. "Een diploma geneeskunde van de Universiteit van Padua, uitgereikt in 1642 aan de Gentenaar Jan Damman (of Daman)". Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  10. For a summary description of all of the set of scholars and literati who intervened in teaching at the University of Padua since its inception to the eve of the Industrial Revolution (1800), see David de la Croix and Mara Vitale,(2021). Scholars and Literati at the University of Padua (1222-1800).Repertorium Eruditorum Totius Europae/RETE. 3:33–42.
  11. Treptow, Kurt W.; Popa, Marcel (1996). Historical Dictionary of Romania. Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN   0-8108-3179-1.
  12. "The Galileo Project - Chronology - Galileo Timeline" . Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  13. "Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia". Retrieved 2013-09-05.

Coordinates: 45°25′N11°52′E / 45.417°N 11.867°E / 45.417; 11.867