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University of Siena

university of siena, university of siena for foreigners
The University of Siena Italian: Università degli Studi di Siena, abbreviation: UNISI in Siena, Tuscany is one of the oldest and first publicly funded universities in Italy Originally called Studium Senese, the institution was founded in 1240 It had around 20,000 students in 2006,1 nearly half of Siena's total population of around 54,000 Today, the University of Siena is best known for its Schools of Law and Medicine


  • 1 History
    • 11 The early studium
      • 111 The School of Humanities and Philosophy
    • 12 The university under changing states
    • 13 The university in the Risorgimento
    • 14 The university in modern Italy
  • 2 Notable students, alumni and faculty
  • 3 Organization
  • 4 Degree Courses
  • 5 Points of interest
  • 6 See also
  • 7 Notes and references
  • 8 External links
  • 9 Bibliography


The early studiumedit

Pietro Ispano Pope John XXI Palazzo San Galgano, The School of Humanities and Philosophy

The School of Humanities and Philosophyedit

On December 26, 1240, Ildebrandino Cacciaconti, the then podestà of Siena, signed a decree imposing a tax on citizens of Siena who rented rooms to students of the local "Studium Senese" The money from this tax went to pay for the salaries of the maestri teachers of this new studium2 The studium was further supported when, in 1252, Pope Innocent IV declared both its teachers and students completely immune from taxes and forced labour levied on their person or property by the city of Siena3 Moreover, the commune exempted teachers of law and Latin from military service and teachers of Latin were also excused from their duties as night watchmen By the early 14th century, there were five teachers of Latin, logic and law and two doctors of natural sciences medicine4

One of the most notable maestri of the School of Medicine was Pietro Ispano Pope John XXI Ispano was an illustrious philosopher, personal doctor to Emperor Frederick II, and in 1276 became Pope John XXI

In 1321, the studium was able to attract a larger number or pupils due to a mass exodus from the prestigious neighbouring University of Bologna when one of its students was sentenced to death by Bologna's magistrates for supposedly kidnapping a young woman Partly at the instigation of their law lecturer Guglielmo Tolomei, the student body there unleashed a great protest at the Bolognese authority and Siena, supported by generous funding from the local commune, was able to accommodate the students resigning from the Studium Bolognese

The university under changing statesedit

The studium of Siena was eventually promoted to the status of "Studium Generale" by Charles IV, shortly after his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor in 13555 This both placed the teachers and students under the safeguard of the imperial authority protecting them from the local magistracy and also meant that the licences licentiae docendi granted by the university were licences ubique docendi These licences entitled the person receiving them to teach throughout Christendom6

The Casa della Sapienza was built in the early 15th century as a center combining classrooms and housing for those enrolled in the Studium It had been proposed by bishop Mormille in 1392, was completed twenty years later, and its first occupants took up residence in 1416 Room and board in 1416 cost fifty gold florins for a semester2

By the mid-14th century, Siena had declined as a power in Tuscany, eclipsed by the rise in power of Florence, who defeated the Republic of Siena in 1555 The city authorities, however, successfully asked the Medici the hereditary dukes of Florence at the time to preserve the academy Francesco and later Grand Duke Ferdinando I, reforms were made with new statutes and new preogatives The post of Rettore Rector, elected by students and city magistrates, was also instituted

In 1737, the Medici line became extinct and the rule of Tuscany passed to the French House of Lorraine In this period, the Tuscan economist Sallustio Bandini, seemingly determined to "improve the intellectual stimulation of his native Siena" solicited scholarships from rich patrons for the university and also set up a large library, which he eventually bequeathed to the university7

In 1808, when the Napoleonic forces occupied Tuscany, they eliminated the Studium Senese and the doors of the University were not opened again until after the defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of Ferdinand III as the Grand Duke of Tuscany2

The university in the Risorgimentoedit

During the Risorgimento, the movement towards the unification of Italy as a single state, Sienese students organised groups which were openly patriotic They publicly expressed their dissent and, during the April 1848 revolts in Tuscany, three professors, one assistant and fifty-five students formed the Compagnia della Guardia Universitaria to participate in the battles of Curtatone and of Montanara The troop’s flag is still preserved in the Chancellor’s building All of this passion for the new republic could not but trouble the Grand Duke and in the end he closed down the School of Medicine permitting only Law and Theology to continue2

After the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859 and its aftermath, Tuscany and with it Siena were controlled by the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was to become the Kingdom of Italy The Sienese academy eventually recovered from the unrest, thanks to initiatives by the city’s private enterprises and a series of legislative acknowledgements that boosted the reputation of the School of Pharmacy and that of Obstetrics and consequently the School of Medicine itself while the old hospital Santa Maria della Scala was transformed into General University Hospital Some time later in 1880, the Law Faculty established the Circolo Giuridico or Legal Circle, where issues pertaining to law studies were examined in depth through seminars and lectures2

The university in modern Italyedit

In 1892, the Minister of Public Education, Ferdinando Martini, launched a proposal aimed at suppressing the Sienese academy’s activities Siena perceived this as a declaration of war and was backed immediately by a general tradesmen’s strike, the intervention of all of the town’s institutions and by a genuine uprising of the population – all of which induced to minister to withdraw the project Having escaped this danger, the town went back to investing its resources in the university setting up new degrees and new faculties The bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena financed the construction of the biology department2

The 20th century witnessed the growth of the University of Siena, with the student population escalating from four hundred between the wars to more than 20,000 in the last few years12

During the start of the academic year, on November 7, 1990 the Sienese academy celebrated its 750th anniversary

Notable students, alumni and facultyedit

  • Pietro Ispano c 1215–1277, pope John XXI, Professor of Medicine
  • Cino da Pistoia 1270–1336/37, Professor of Law
  • Antonio de Venafro 1459–1530, advisor to Pandolfo Petrucci, Ruler of the Republic of Siena
  • Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte 1487–1555, pope Julius III, studied law at Siena
  • Francesco Accarigi c 1557–1622, Professor of Civil Law
  • Piero Calamandrei 1889–1956, Professor at the Law school in Siena
  • Richard M Goodwin 1913–1996, Professor, mathematician and economist
  • Norberto Bobbio 1909–2004, Professor of Philosophy
  • Frank Hahn 1925–2013, Professor of Economics, Director of the PhD program of the Economics Department
  • Jean Blondel born 1929, Professor of comparative politics
  • Samuel Bowles born 1939, American economist, professor of Economics
  • Antonio Tabucchi 1943–2012, Italian writer, Professor of Portuguese language and literature
  • Paul Ginsborg born 1945, British historian, Professor of Contemporary History
  • Yusuf Garaad Omar born 1960, journalist and politician


Since 2012, after the general reform of Italian Universities "Gelmini Act", the University is composed of fifteen departments, grouped in four areas:

  • Biomedical and Medical Sciences
    • Department of Medical Biotechnologies
    • Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine
    • Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience
  • Economics, Law and Political Sciences
    • Department of Economics and Statistics
    • Department of Law
    • Department of Political and International Sciences
    • Department of Business and Law
  • Experimental Sciences
    • Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy
    • Department of Information Engineering and Mathematics
    • Department of Life Sciences
    • Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment
  • Literature, History, Philosophy and the Arts
    • Department of Philology and Literary Criticism
    • Department of Education, Human Sciences and Intercultural Communication
    • Department of Social, Political and Cognitive Sciences
    • Department of History and Cultural Heritage

Each department offers graduate and undergraduate courses

Since 2014 the Department of Economics and Statistics and the Department of Business and Law merged their undergraduate and graduate courses into the School of Economics and Management SEM

Formerly, the University was composed of nine schools:

  • The School of Economics
  • The School of Engineering
  • The School of Humanities and Philosophy
  • The School of Humanities and Philosophy - Arezzo
  • The School of Jurisprudence
  • The School of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences
  • The School of Medicine and Surgery
  • The School of Pharmacy
  • The School of Political Science

Siena’s campus is the city The academy lives as an integral part of the urban fabric in both space and time Thus there is an uneasy equilibrium between city and university, where 20 thousand students lived among the 50 thousand Sienese While the Sienese are proud of their native traditions, the more polyglot university prides itself on diversity, with which as the historian Guicciardini would put it, non havvi genio - there is no genius

Recently, the University has returned historical buildings to the city, which are being made into apartments or used by the contradas At the same time, it is thanks to the intervention of the University that many buildings which risked falling into ruin were saved, making institutions of study out of a part of the city patrimony that might have otherwise been lost The Faculties of Engineering and Literature, for example, have found space for their departments in the large rooms of what was once the San Niccolò Psychiatric Hospital The same holds true for the transformation of the former Convent of Santa Chiara into the first collegiate residence in Italy, reserved for those working towards a European postgraduate degree The church of San Vigilio serves as university chapel

New university buildings have even been built in the city centre such as the one that houses the Faculty of Political Science and Law, whose architectural style blends with the secular surroundings creating a balance between preservation and innovation The ten university dormitories are adapted to the urban fabric and are located within the historical centre Fontebranda, Porrione, Sperandie, San Marco, on the outskirts Acquacalda and near the extended areas of the university San Miniato

Degree Coursesedit

For the academic year 2017-18 the following degree courses are provided medium of instruction in parenthesis

  • Biomedical and Medical Sciences
    • Undergraduate 3 years
      • Biomedical laboratory techniques Italian
      • Biotechnologies taught in Italian
      • Cardiocirculatory and cardiovascular perfusion techniques Italian
      • Dental hygiene Italian
      • Dietistic Italian
      • Environment and the workplace prevention techniques Italian
      • Imaging and radiotherapy techniques Italian
      • Midwifery Italian
      • Nursing Italian
      • Orthoptic and ophtalmologic assistance Italian
      • Physiotherapy Italian
      • Speech and language therapy Italian
    • Graduate 2 years
      • Health professions of rehabilitation sciences Italian
      • Medical biotechnologies English
      • Nursing and midwifery sciences Italian
    • Single cycle 6 years
      • Dentistry and Dental Prosthodontics English
      • Medicine and surgery Italian
  • Economics, Law and Political Sciences
    • Undergraduate 3 years
      • Communication sciences Italian
      • Counsellor of labour law and labour relations Italian
      • Economics and banking ItalianEnglish
      • Economics and business ItalianEnglish
      • Political sciences Italian
      • Social work Italian
    • Graduate 2 years
      • Anthropology and visual studies Italian
      • Economics and management of financial institutions Italian
      • Economics ItalianEnglish
      • Finance English
      • International studies ItalianEnglish
      • Language and mind: linguistics and cognitive studies English
      • Management and governance ItalianEnglish
      • Public and cultural diplomacy English
      • Sciences of administrations Italian
      • Statistics for sample surveys Italian
      • Strategies and techniques of communication Italian
    • Single cycle 5 years
      • Law Italian
  • Experimental Sciences
    • Undergraduate 3 years
      • Biological sciences Italian
      • Chemical sciences Italian
      • Computer and information engineering Italian
      • Engineering management Italian
      • Geological sciences Italian
      • Mathematics Italian
      • Natural and environmental sciences Italian
      • Physics and advanced technologies Italian
    • Graduate 2 years
      • Applied mathematics English
      • Biology ItalianEnglish
      • Chemistry English
      • Computer and automation engineering English
      • Ecotoxicology and environmental sustainability Italian
      • Electronics and communications engineering English
      • Engineering management English
      • Geosciences and applied geology Italian
      • Health biology Italian
    • Single cycle 5 years
      • Pharmaceutical chemistry and technology Italian
      • Pharmacy Italian
  • Literature, History, Philosophy and the Arts
    • Undergraduate 3 years
      • Communication sciences Italian
      • Education Italian
      • History and cultural heritage Italian
      • Languages for intercultural and business communication Italian
      • Studies in literature and philosophy Italian
    • Graduate 2 years
      • Anthropology and visual studies Italian
      • Archaeology Italian
      • Classics Italian
      • Education sciences and educational consulting for organizations Italian
      • History and philosophy Italian
      • History of art Italian
      • Language and mind: linguistics and cognitive studies English
      • Modern literatures Italian
      • Strategies and techniques of communication Italian

Points of interestedit

  • Orto Botanico dell'Università di Siena, the university's botanical garden

See alsoedit

  • Coimbra Group a network of leading European universities
  • List of medieval universities
  • List of Italian universities
  • Siena

Notes and referencesedit

  1. ^ a b "Rapporto Nucleo di Valutazione 2006: Studenti e Carriere - POPOLAZIONE STUDENTESCA" Università degli Studi di Siena Retrieved 2008-04-05 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Short Story of University of Siena: 760 years of history" Università degli Studi di Siena Archived from the original on 2008-03-09 Retrieved 2008-04-05 
  3. ^ de Ridder-Symoens, Universities in the Middle Ages p93
  4. ^ Waley, Siena and the Sienese in the thirteenth century p159
  5. ^ de Ridder-Symoens, Universities in the Middle Ages p97
  6. ^ de Ridder-Symoens, Universities in the Middle Ages p36
  7. ^ Wahnbaeck, Luxury and public happiness p96

External linksedit

  • University of Siena Website Italian English
  •  Herbermann, Charles, ed 1913 "University of Siena" Catholic Encyclopedia New York: Robert Appleton Company 


  • de Ridder-Symoens, Hilde: A History of the University in Europe, Volume 1: Universities in the Middle Ages Cambridge University Press, 1992 ISBN 0-521-54113-1
  • Waley, Daniel: Siena and the Sienese in the thirteenth century Cambridge University Press, 1991 ISBN 0-521-40312-X
  • Wahnbaeck, Till: Luxury and Public Happiness: Political Economy in the Italian Enlightenment Oxford University Press, 2004 ISBN 0-19-926983-1

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