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University of Pisa
Università di Pisa
200px Seal of the University of Pisa
Script error
MottoIn supremae dignitatis
Motto in EnglishThe supreme dignity
RectorProf. Massimo Augello
Admin. staff1,900
Doctoral students3,500
LocationPisa, Italy
Sports teamsCUS Pisa

The University of Pisa (Italian Università di Pisa), is an Italian public research university located in Pisa, Italy. It was founded in 1343[1] by an edict of Pope Clement VI and is the 19th oldest extant university in the world and the 10th oldest in the country.[2] The university is considered very prestigious and is currently ranked between 1st and 3rd places nationally, in the top 30 in Europe and top 300 in the world. It houses the Orto botanico di Pisa, Europe's oldest academic botanical garden, which was founded in 1544.

The University of Pisa is part of the Pisa University System, which includes the Scuola Normale Superiore and the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies. It offers a wide range of courses. The Computer Science course at University of Pisa is the first in the area to be activated in Italy.[clarification needed] The aerospace Master of Science (MSc) courses[3] are the first in Italy to be offered entirely in the English language.[citation needed] The university has about 57,000 students (of which 53,000 are undergraduate and postgraduate studies and 3,500 are doctoral and specialization studies).

In the fields of philology and cultural studies, the University of Pisa is a leading member of ICoN, an inter-university consortium of 21 Italian universities supported by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. The University is also a member of the European University Association, the Partnership of a European Group of Aeronautics and Space Universities network and the Cineca consortium. It's the only university in Italy which has become a member of the prestigious Universities Research Association.[4]

Two Italian Presidents, five Popes and four Prime Ministers of Italy have been graduates as well as 3 Nobel Laureates have been student, faculty or staff affiliates.

Pisa has an intense athletic rivalry with the University of Pavia which traditionally culminates in the Pisa-Pavia Regatta (Regata Pisa-Pavia), the oldest competition of this kind in Italy and second in Europe only to the Oxford Cambridge boat race.

In 2011, the University of Pisa came in first place among the Italian universities, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.[5][6][7]


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The University of Pisa was officially established on September 3, 1343.[1] But a number of scholars claim its origin dates back to the 11th century.[weasel words]

The first reliable data on the presence of secular and monastic schools of law in Pisa is from the 11th and the second half of the 12th century, a time when Pisa had already achieved a remarkable economic development. Further, the next century form the first documents that prove the presence of doctors of medicine and surgery.

The earliest evidence of a Pisan Studium dates to 1338, when the renowned jurist Ranieri Arsendi transferred to Pisa from Bologna. He along with Bartolo da Sassoferrato, a lecturer in Civil Law, were paid by the Municipality to teach public lessons.

The papal bull In supremae dignitatis, granted by Pope Clement VI on September 3, 1343, recognized the Studium of Pisa as a Studium Generale; an institution of further education founded or confirmed by a universal authority, the Papacy, or Empire. Pisa was one of the first European universities that could boast this papal attestation, which guaranteed the universal, legal value of its educational qualifications.

The first taught subjects were theology, civil law, canon law and medicine. In 1355 Francesco da Buti, the well-known commentator of Dante's Divine Comedy, began teaching at the Studium.

Pisa and its Studium underwent a period of crisis around the turn of the 15th century: the Florentines' conquest of the town led to the University's closure in 1403. In 1473, thanks to Lorenzo de Medici, the Pisan Studium resumed its systematic development and the construction of a building for holding lessons was provided for in 1486. The building – later known as Palazzo della Sapienza (The Building of Knowledge) – was located in the 14th century Piazza del Grano. The image of a cherub was placed above the Gate Dell'Abbondanza (the Gate of Abundance), leading to the Piazza, still today the symbol of the University.

Following the rebellion and the war against Florence in 1494, the Pisan Studium suffered a period of decline, and was transferred to Pistoia, Prato and Florence. The ceremonial re-opening of the University, on November 1, 1543, under rule by Duke Cosimo I de Medici, was considered as a second inauguration. The quality of the University was furthered by the statute of 1545 and the Pisan Athenaeum became one of the most significant in Europe for teaching and research. The chair of Semplici (botany) was held by Luca Ghini, founder of the world's first Botanical Gardens, succeeded by Andrea Cesalpino, who pioneered the first scientific methodology for the classification of plants and is considered a forerunner in the discovery of blood circulation. Gabriele Falloppio and Marcello Malpighi lectured in anatomy and medicine. Galileo Galilei, who was born and studied in Pisa, became professor of mathematics at the Pisan Studium in 1589.

The University's role as a state institution became ever more accentuated during the Medici Grand Duchy period. A protectionist policy ensured a consistent nucleus of scholars and teachers: laws issued by Cosimo I, Ferdinando I and Ferdinando II obliged those who intended to obtain a degree to attend the Studium of Pisa. This period sees various illustrious figures lecture at Pisa, especially in the field of law and medicine.

The University's development continued under the Lorenas. They completed the construction of the astronomic observatory (a project initiated by the Medicis), as well as enriching the University Library with important publications. They helped develop the Botanical Gardens, and Natural Science Museum, and they established new chairs such as experimental Physics and Chemistry.

The annexation of Tuscany to the Napoleonic Empire resulted in the transformation of the Studium into an Imperial Academy. The Athenaeum became a branch of the University of Paris and the courses and study programs were structured following the French public education model. Five new faculties were established (Theology, Law, Medicine, Science and Literature), along with examinations, different qualification titles and graduation theses. In 1813 La Scuola Normale Superiore was established, as a branch of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

The Restoration wasn't able to cancel the effects of the Napoleonic experience. The first Congress of Italian Scientists was held in Pisa in 1839. Over 300 experts of various disciplines and 421 scientists discussed zoology, comparative anatomy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, agronomy, technology, botany, vegetation physiology, geology, mineralogy, geography and medicine.

In 1839–1840 the Director of Education, Gaetano Giorgini, brought about the most important reform in the University of Pisa by raising the number of faculties to six (Theology, Law, Literature, Medicine, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences). Giorgini also created the world's first chair of Agriculture and sheep farming.

In 1846 the Scuola Normale re-opened. Meanwhile, liberal and patriotic ideals were spreading at Athenaeum and a battalion of the University – composed of lecturers and students – distinguished itself in the Battle of Curtatone and Montanara in 1848.

During the Second Restoration, in 1851, Leopoldo II united the universities of Pisa and Siena in a unique Etruscan Athenaeum, motivated partly by economic reasons, but primarily for political control. The faculties of Theology and Law rested at Siena, while those of Literature, Medicine, Mathematics and Natural Sciences remained at Pisa. Following the Florentine insurrection and the fleeing of the Grand Duke in 1859, one of the initial measures imposed by the Provisory Government was the restitution to the city of Pisa of its Studium with all six of its faculties.

With the birth of the Kingdom of Italy, the University of Pisa became one of the new state's most prestigious cultural institutions. The first European institute of Historical Linguistics was founded in Pisa in 1890. Between the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries the following prestigious lecturers taught at Pisa: the lawyers Francesco Carrara and Francesco Buonamici; philologists Domenico Comparetti and Giovanni D'Ancona; historians Pasquale Villari, Gioacchino Volpe and Luigi Russo; philosopher Giovanni Gentile; economist Giuseppe Toniolo and mathematicians Ulisse Dini and Antonio Pacinotti.

During the years of fascism the Pisa Athenaeum was an active centre for political debate and antifascist organisation. After the second world war, the University of Pisa returned to the avant-garde style of learning in many fields of knowledge. To the faculties of engineering and pharmacy, established pre-war, were added economics, foreign languages and literature and politics. In 1967 the Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e Perfezionamento S. Anna was founded which, together with La Scuola Normale, formed a highly prestigious learning and teaching centre.

Today the University of Pisa boasts 11 faculties and 57 departments, with high level research centres in the sectors of agriculture, astrophysics[citation needed], computer science, engineering, mathematics, medicine and veterinary medicine. Furthermore the University has close relations with the Pisan Institutes of the National Research Council, with many cultural institutions of national and international importance, and with industry, especially that of information technology, which went through a phase of rapid expansion in Pisa during the 1960s and 1970s.

Organization and administrationEdit

The University of Pisa consists of 11 schools and 57 departments. These schools offers several courses in their related field of study:

  • Agriculture
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Foreign Languages and Literature
  • Law
  • Literature and Philosophy
  • Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences
  • Medicine and Surgery
  • Pharmacy
  • Political Sciences
  • Veterinary Medicine

PhD studies are instead usually offered and arranged by the departments. The lectures are mostly given in Italian, except for a number of courses at the faculty of foreign languages and literatures, some scientific programmes, such as the international MSc in aerospace engineering (EuMAS), the Master of Science in Space Engineering[8] and the Master in Computer Science and Networking,[9] jointly offered with Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna. Students also have at their disposal a Language Centre, where they can attend courses of foreign languages, a Sports Centre (Cus Pisa) that arranges for many Sports Intramural Leagues and allows sports practice in almost all the disciplines available in Italy, and three University Refectories (Mense universitarie). The University of Pisa is not organized in the form of one unique campus, but its many buildings are scattered in the whole Pisa area, especially in the city centre.


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Notable peopleEdit



Among the best-known people who have attended the University of Pisa are, in politics and government: Italian political leaders Sidney Sonnino, Carlo Sforza, Guido Buffarini Guidi, Giacomo Acerbo, Alessandro Natta, Paolo Emilio Taviani, Giovanni Gronchi, Giuliano Amato, Antonio Maccanico, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, Marcello Pera, Massimo D'Alema, Enrico Rossi, Sandro Bondi, Fabio Mussi, Maria Chiara Carrozza and Enrico Letta; Haitian President René Préval; Nicaraguan President Adan Cardenas; Prime Ministers of Greece Ioannis Kolettis and Diomidis Kyriakos; Prime Minister of Somalia Ali Mohammed Ghedi; Deputy Prime Minister of Albania Spiro Koleka; Ambassador Marcello Spatafora.

In theology: Popes Leo X, Paul III, Urban VIII, Clement IX and Clement XII; Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff; Cardinals Pietro Accolti, Francisco de Remolins, Benedetto Accolti the Younger, Francesco Martelli, Bandino Panciatici, Francesco Barberini, Cesare Borgia and Giovanni Battista Tolomei; Archbishop Giovanni Battista Rinuccini.

In science: astrophysicists Paolo Farinella and Franco Pacini; biophysicist Clara Franzini-Armstrong; mathematicians Giovanni Salvemini, Vito Volterra, Cesare Burali-Forti, Guido Zappa, Giovanni Ceva, Salvatore Pincherle, Carlo Somigliana, Aldo Andreotti, Giuseppe Lauricella and Luigi Fantappiè; physicists Antonio Pacinotti, Luigi Puccianti, Temistocle Calzecchi-Onesti, Eligio Perucca, Adolfo Bartoli, Nello Carrara, Vasco Ronchi, Franco Rasetti, Ennio Candotti and Luca Gammaitoni.

In other fields: botanist Giovanni Arcangeli; tenors Francesco Rasi and Andrea Bocelli; egyptologists Ippolito Rosellini and Gianluca Miniaci; fashion model Tania Bambaci; film directors Mario Monicelli and Paolo Virzì; historians Camillo Porzio, Mario Rosa and Carlo Ginzburg; librettist Giacinto Andrea Cicognini; philologist Gian Biagio Conte; philosophers Francesco Cattani da Diacceto, Eufrosin Poteca, Giovanni Gentile, Aldo Gargani, Anna Camaiti Hostert and Jiyuan Yu.

Among the best-known people who have attended the University of Pisa are Nobel Laureate in Literature Giosuè Carducci. Other notable alumni are:

Faculty and staffEdit

Among the prominent scholars who have taught at the University of Pisa are, in science: mathematicians Benedetto Castelli, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli, Alessandro Marchetti, Luigi Guido Grandi, Eugenio Beltrami, Ennio De Giorgi, Leonida Tonelli, Sergio Campanato, Enrico Bombieri, Corrado De Concini and Claudio Procesi; physicists Giulio Racah, Carlo Matteucci, Gian-Carlo Wick, Bernard H. Lavenda and Roy McWeeny.

In other fields: poets Giovanni Pascoli and Valerio Magrelli; writer Bernard Comment.

In popular cultureEdit

The University of Pisa is mentioned in the film Don Juan.

See also Edit


External links Edit

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