Italy certainly has plenty of charms to tempt tourists and international students alike: a diverse landscape including mountains, islands and active volcanoes; an immense cultural and historical legacy; iconic historic and architectural sites including Rome’s Colosseum and the Pisa’s Leaning Tower; incomparable cuisine; an impressive history of inventions and discoveries… and, of course, universities in Italy include some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious.
Aside from the monumental legacy of the Roman civilization, Italy has a long history of being ahead of the game, with many significant discoveries, inventions and innovations originating in Italy. Notable Italians include explorers Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Giovanni da Verrazzano and Marco Polo; Leonardo da Vinci, who proved the world is round and not flat; Alessandro Volta, who studied electricity (recognize the term ‘Volt’?); and Galileo Galilei, who discovered four moons around Jupiter and invented the thermometer.
Other famous Italian inventors include: Angelo Moriondo (espresso machine), Johann Maria Farina (eau de cologne), Francesco Di Giorgio Martini (automobile), Salvino Armati (eyeglasses), Bartolomeo Cristofori (piano) and Ambrogio Calepino (the first widely translated dictionary). The origin of the word ‘university’ is also attributed to Italy, and the University of Bologna is believed to be one of the very oldest in the world.
Italy is also known for famous fashion houses such as Gucci, Benetton, Armani, Prada, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, and its luxury car brands, including Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. Oh, and did we mention the food…?
Universities in Italy
The Università di Bologna (UNIBO) is Italy’s top ranked university in the 2013/14 QS World University Rankings®, at 188th in the world. It lays claim to being one of the first universities ever established, although the actual date of its founding is uncertain. If the name sounds familiar, that may be due to Italy’s continued leadership in higher education; the University of Bologna gives its name to the Bologna Process, a project that aims to make academic systems and qualifications more compatible across Europe.
A total of 27 universities in Italy feature in the 2013/14 QS World University Rankings, of which 16 make it into the world’s top 500. After the University of Bologna, the next Italian entries are: Sapienza – Università di Roma, Politecnico di Milano, Università degli Studi di Milano, Università di Pisa, Università degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD), Universitá degli Studi di Roma – Tor Vergata, Politecnico di Torino, Università degli Studi di Firenze (UNIFI), Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II and Università degli Studi di Torino (UNITO).
Overall, there are around 90 universities in Italy, of which the majority are publicly funded. There are also a number of specialized postgraduate centers, polytechnics and other academies that form part of the higher education sector.
Under the Bologna Process, Italy has implemented the nuovo ordinamento system, replacing the former vecchio ordinamento. Higher education in Italy now consists of a three-year bachelor’s degree called the laurea triennale, which can be followed by the two-year master’s degree (laurea magistrale, previously the laurea specialistica). There is a credit system in place to quantify the amount of work needed to pass each course (eg. 25 work hours = 1 credit), as well as an opportunity for students to change their course or continue their studies abroad after three years. Students wishing to study law must take the five-year Laurea Magistrale a Ciclo Unico, while medicine students must take a six-year degree.
Accredited Higher Education Institutions – Italy
Academy of Fine Arts of Macerata ( Macerata )
Academy of Fine Arts of Naples ( Naples )
Academy of Fine Arts of Palermo ( Palermo )
Academy of Fine Arts of Reggio Calabria ( Reggio Calabria )
Academy of Fine Arts of Rome ( Rome )
Academy of Fine Arts of Urbino ( Urbino )
Academy of Fine Arts of Venice ( Venice )
Architecture Institute of Venice ( Venice )
Cesare Pollini Conservatory of Music ( Padua )
Francesco Morlacchi Conservatory of Music ( Perugia )
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