Sapienza University of Rome
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5
00185 Rome

1. Brief History

Sapienza University, established in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII in Rome, is one of the oldest universities in the world and a top performer in international university rankings as well as Europe’s largest university by enrollments.

Founded as ‘Studium Urbis’, Rome’s first university kept on growing in prestige over the coming centuries, promoting history, humanities, archeology, and science and thus attracting prolific scholars from around Europe.

In 1660, the Studium Urbis relocated to a new building on the Corso Rinascimento and came to be known as Sapienza from the engraving over its main gate: Initium Sapientiae timor Domini (‘The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord’).

The future of Sapienza is firmly rooted in its rich past and the academic and research excellence of its community. Sapienza’s mission is to catalyze the development of a knowledge society by promoting research, education and international cooperation.Sapienza University is very active in the global health field through the Departments of Public Health and Infectious Diseases and Women's and Territorial Medicine, which organize elective courses for students reading different degrees in collaboration with the Italian Observatory on Global Health (OISG) and the Italian Society for Migration Medicine (SIMM).

For many years, Sapienza participated in capacity building projects in Africa, Middle East and Latin America aimed at improving healthcare conditions, and the commitment to global health and promoting bench-to-bedside translation of research as well creating healthcare systems aimed at the effective prevention of disease remain key foci in Sapienza’s future endeavors.

Outstanding persons / Nobel Prize Laureates:

Nobel Prize laureates affiliated with Sapienza:

  • Enrico Fermi, 1938 Nobel Prize for Physics; taught Theoretical Physics at Sapienza 1926-1938
  • Franco Modigliani, 1985 Nobel Prize for Economics; graduated in Law in 1939
  • Giulio Natta, 1963 Nobel Prize for Chemistry; taught Physical Chemistry at Sapienza 1935-1937
  • Carlo Rubbia, 1984 Nobel Prize for Physics; Assistant Professor of Physics 1959-1960
  • Emilio Segrè, 1959 Noble Prize for Physics; taught Physics at Sapienza 1928-1935

Notable Alumni include:

  • Andrea Cesalpino, notable for being among the first physician to theorize about the existence of blood circulation
  • Giulio Andreotti, Sapienza graduate of Law; 41st prime minister of Italy
  • Laura Boldrini, Sapienza graduate of Law; President of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy from March 2013
  • Mario Draghi, Sapienza graduate of Economics; President of the European Central Bank from November 2011.
  • Maria Montessori, Sapienza graduate of Natural Sciences and Medicine; Founder of the Montessori method of education, regarded as one of the most influential female physicians
  • Sergio Mattarella, 12th President of Italy from February 2015
  • Federica Mogherini, formerly Italy's Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

2. Key Facts




Sapienza is organized into 11 faculties, each of which oversees various departments:

  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Medicine and Psychology
  • Pharmacy and Medicine
  • Architecture
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Civil and Industrial Engineering
  • Economics
  • Information Engineering, Informatics, and Statistics
  • Mathematics, Physics, and Natural Sciences
  • Law
  • Political Science, Sociology, and Communication Science
  • School of Aerospace Engineering

In addition to its three medical faculties, Sapienza teaches students at two university hospitals with a total of 1650 beds and 7 different degree programmes in Medicine and Surgery.

Academic: Professors: 2,000, Researchers: 1,700
Administrative & Technical Personnel: 4,200


115,000, including over 30,000 students from outside of the Rome area. About 8,000 permanent international students and 3,000 students on student mobility programs


Sapienza's funding is mainly provided at a national level, mostly by the Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR), by public bodies and by other ministries.

National policies to support research and development are implemented through regional and national funds,  as well as through funding provided by the European Union, thanks to the main Research and Educational Programmes, such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus Plus.

3. Research

Focus / Key Aspects:
Internationally renowned scientists work in disciplines ranging from arts and humanities to physics and engineering. The university continues to welcome highly qualified international researchers and pursue its long history of innovation.

Sapienza has produced over 11,000 Medline publications in the last 5 years, with many of them focused on fields and issues related to global health.

Sapienza University endorses high-tech entrepreneurial initiatives, supports the development of innovation and transfers research results to the productive system.

Sapienza spin-offs address a wide range of sectors, including: ICT, culture, chemistry, pharmaceutics, environmental monitoring and exploration, domotics, transport systems, info-mobility and aerospace. A complete list can be viewed online

4. Partnerships and Programs

Partner Universities:

Sapienza currently holds agreements with more than 330 international partner universities in:

  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • The Middle East
  • North America and
  • Oceania

A full overview of partner agreements can be accessed online

Student Programs:


Sapienza manages over 1,000 inter-institutional Erasmus agreements with 400 universities in all participating countries. Each year there are over 1,100 incoming and outgoing students. In addition to the Erasmus program, international students can choose to spend time studying or working on research projects at the University.

Bilateral Agreement Exchange Program

Sapienza also manages over 120 Bilateral Agreements for Student Mobility, a full list of which can be viewed online


Sapienza participates in the following networks:

  • UNICA - Institutional Network of the Universities from the Capitals of Europe
  • EUA - European University Association
  • IAU - International Association of Universities
  • EAIE - European Association for International Education
  • ACA - Academic Cooperation Association
  • UNIMED – Mediterranean Universities Union
  • European Spatial Development Planning, Partnership of a European Group of Aeronautics and Space Universities

5. Trivia

‘Il futuro è passato qui’
(‘Here, the Future is the past’)


In the period 2010-2013, Sapienza participated in the International Medical School (IMS 2020) project coordinated by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and financed by the European Commission, which envisaged the creation of criteria and indicators for the internationalization of medical schools in Europe and beyond, focusing particularly on the commitment to global health and international social responsibilities

6. Useful Links


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