University of Padua

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University of Padua
motto Universa Universis Patavina Libertas
founding 1222
Sponsorship state
place Padua
country ItalyItaly Italy
Rector Rosario Rizzuto
Students approx. 61,000 (2014-15)
Employee 2054 academics and 2227 others (2015)
Networks AARC , CG , TIME

The University of Padua ( Italian Università degli Studi di Padova , Latin Universitas Studii Paduani ) is one of the most prestigious universities in Italy . It is located in the north-eastern Italian city of Padua and was founded in 1222. It is thus one of the oldest universities in Europe and the third oldest university in Italy after Bologna and Modena .


Origins and Development of the University

Little is known of the origins of the college , as it did not develop as a result of any special imperial or papal privilege. Old documents state that the founding year was 1222, since a publicly recognized and permanent university structure has been notarized since this year. Before that, however, there were church schools that belonged to bishops and monasteries and where canonical rights and theology were taught. In addition, there were private schools for studying the liberal arts and, in the 12th century, numerous law and notary schools.

Bishop Giordano and Bishop Giovanni Rusca gave refuge to professors and students who had left the University of Bologna due to differences in 1222. The University of Padua also owes its foundation to the closure of the University of Vicenza in 1209, when various scholars had migrated from it. Thanks to the liberal spirit of the city, the wealth and the open-mindedness of the citizens, the university consolidated very quickly.

The university received a further boost from the Dominican Order , who settled in Padua four years after it was founded. The university was hampered by the rule of Ezzelino da Romano from 1237 to 1256, albeit only slightly. After he was driven out, the university flourished again. The reason for this were disputes in the University of Bologna , which secured Padua a new influx of doctores and students. Despite the attempt by Pope Nicholas IV to excommunicate and bans Henry VII, the city could not take its university away. The main catchment area of ​​the institution was Italy, but many students also came from the Alps.

The structure of the university


The university was constituted as the "Universitas Scholarium", a free body of students, which was governed by its own laws and governed independently. The city of Padua made every effort to protect the university, to respect its independence and to encourage the influx of students.

The students were brought together in a common body . Regardless of their course of study, they were divided into "Nationes" according to ethnic-geographical criteria, which differed into two large groups: the Cismontanes (Italians) and the Ultramontanes (foreigners). The two groups were ruled by one or two rectors who were elected by the students each year.

At the university, which owes its origins to legal scholars, law studies remained the main subject for a long time, even when the liberal arts began to establish themselves. The students of the liberal arts were subordinate to the groin university and were not entitled to their own representation. The study of law and the associated academic titles enjoyed a higher reputation.

The creation of the "Universitas artistarum"

The students and lecturers in medicine , philosophy , literature , grammar and rhetoric insisted on equality . So they joined together as a separate body. The secession initiated by Bishop Pietro Pileo di Prata in 1360 was completed in 1399 through the mediation of Francesco II da Carrara. From now on there were two universities: the Universitas iuristarum and the Universitas artistarum, each with its own rector, its own statutes and the privilege of its own authority.

On June 25, 1678 Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia was awarded a doctorate in philosophy , the first woman ever.

The rectors and other representatives of the university

The rectors of the university enjoyed a great reputation and, for example, even had the privilege of judging students. The professors observed discipline and had the right to teach. Together with the rector, four citizens of the city had the overall supervision and controlled the development of the university.

The most famous teachers of the 13th and 14th centuries

In the first two centuries, teachers of civil law in particular enjoyed a high reputation, including Alberto Galeotti , Guido da Suzzara , Jacopo d'Arena and Riccardo Malombra . In the fields of medicine and philosophy, Pietro d'Abano in particular managed to achieve fame. Marsilio da Padova gave the medical-scientific tendencies a long-lasting impetus.

Andreas Vesalius

15th and 16th centuries

During this time the University of Padua became the leading center in medicine, especially in the 16th century the university was “the most important research center for human anatomy”. Vesalius , Montanus , Falloppius and Fabrizio taught there . Many foreign students came to Padua to study medicine during this period. Including William Harvey , Pieter van Foreest (Petrus Forestus, 1522–1597) and Geraert de Bondt (Bontius, 1536–99), the first medicine professors in Leiden as well as Thomas Linacre (founder of the Royal College of Physicians of London) and John Caius , Founder of Caius College, Cambridge.

Reforms at the University

In 1517 the university was structurally reorganized. The Venetian Senate replaced the Trattatori Citizens' Council , which until then had supervised the university, with the Riformatori dello Studio di Padova, composed of three patricians elected every two years from among the most respected experts in public affairs . The council ensured a detachment from the city and gave the university a central role in the state of Venice. The students were treated with the greatest tolerance, including religious questions, and the lecturers were given the greatest possible freedom of teaching, so that the university could rightly use the mandatory motto Universa universis Patavina libertas . One of the first rectors after the reorganization was Gerolamo Cardano in 1524 .

Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei

In 1592, Galileo Galilei came to Padua as the successor to Giuseppe Moletti on the chair ad mathematicam . He stayed there for eighteen years and shortly before leaving the city published the first series of his great astronomical discoveries, which were supposed to bring to light the true relationships of our universe . Galileo occupies a crucial place in the development of scientific thought and in the history of the University of Padua.

The first signs of decay

In the last decades of the 17th century and in the years that followed, the large number of foreign students fell sharply. Even if scientific progress continued in Padua and the reputation of the university remained unchanged, weaknesses became apparent towards the end of the 17th century and intensified in the 18th century. As the official university of the Serenissima , the university had its greatest importance in the heyday of the Venetian Republic and, parallel to the increasing loss of political influence in Venice, lost its privileged position over other European universities. The Studium Patavinum could not keep up with the increasing progress in the sciences. In order to make the university attractive again, the main aim was to get rid of outdated teaching methods.

Beginning of decentralization

The Palazzo del Bo was no longer sufficient to accommodate all schools, although it was constantly expanded with additions. This resulted in a necessary decentralization of the scientific institutes. A favorable distribution was achieved, which allowed the desired rearrangement of the old central building. In 1872 the schools of human and veterinary medicine moved to the premises of the former S.Mattia monastery. In 1890 the Institute for Pharmaceutical Chemistry and the Obstetrics Clinic were housed in buildings at the Municipal Hospital. They were followed in 1899 by the Pediatric Clinic , while in 1893 the engineering school was given its new place in Palazzo Cavalli at the Porte Contarini.

The “Nationes” of the students

At the law school At the University of Fine Arts
Natio Germanica Ultramontana (all countries beyond the Alps)
English people
Ultramarina Ultramarina (also called Cypriot)
Lombards Lombards
Tuscan Tuscan
Trevisan Trevisan
Friulian Friuli
Dalmatian Dalmatian
Piedmontese Piedmontese
Paduan Natio


Scuola Galileiana di Studi Superiori

In 2004 the university founded the Scuola Galileiana di Studi Superiori to promote particularly talented students .

Personalities and alumni

See also


  • Lucia Rossetti: The University of Padua. A historical cross-section. Trieste 1985.
  • Massimo Parodi: Padua. In: Franco Cardini , Mariateresa Fumagalli Beonio-Brocchieri (ed.): Universities in the Middle Ages. The European sites of knowledge. Südwest-Verlag, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-517-01272-6 , pp. 78-87.
  • Francesco Piovan, Luciana Sitran Rea: Studenti, universia, citta nella storia padovana. Atti del Convegno. Padua 1998.
  • Gastone Lambertini: The School of Salerno and the Universities of Bologna and Padua. In: Illustrated History of Medicine. German adaptation by Richard Toellner et al., Special edition Salzburg 1986, Volume II, pp. 726–729.
  • Piero Del Negro: L'Università di Padivo. Otto secoli di storia. Padua 2001.

Web links

Commons : University of Padua  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Members of AARC. In: Rector's Conference of the Universities of the Alpes Adriatic Region, accessed on September 14, 2019 .
  2. ^ The University of Padua came into being through a large exodus from Bologna; Friedhelm Golücke: Student Dictionary . Becker, Würzburg 1979, 4th edition. P. 44
  3. Loris Premuda: The medical relations between Vienna and Padua during the 19th century. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 13, 1995, pp. 341-350; here: p. 341.