University of Rome La Sapienza

University Information, Campus and History
(Rome, Italy)

The University of Rome La Sapienza is a leading research-led university in Rome, Italy. It is the largest university in Western Europe and the oldest university in Rome. It is named after its anchor church La Sapienza, which means wisdom.

The University was founded by Pope Boniface VIII in 1303. It was largely under his control and was devoted primarily to ecclesiastical studies. In 1421, using money from increased wine taxes, the University acquired a palace that would later become the La Sapienza church. With the church at its centre, the University remained a papal university for the next 400 years. In 1870 it was given university status, and in 1935 it moved into a new campus planned by Italian architect Marcelo Piacentini.

Today, the University of Rome La Sapienza is one of the premier universities in Rome and Europe. It has one of the largest and most diverse academic communities, with 147,000 students and a staff of over 10,000. It has campuses in Rome and neighbouring cities, and several units located all over the city.


The University's library system consists of a central library and departmental libraries, each one devoted to a particular area of study. The entire collection of the library is compiled in a central database, which is accessible to all members of the University within and outside the campus.

There are two university hospitals, which provide student health services and serve as training sites for medical students from La Sapienza and other medical schools. The hospitals are accredited and approved by the Italian government as centres for public health service and education. The University also has a theatre and 21 museums offering exhibits in classic and contemporary art, science, and history.

Famous Students

The University of Rome La Sapienza served as home to several prominent people in different fields. Some of its most famous alumni are Newbery Award-winning author Scott O'Dell, Somalian president Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, and former Italian minister Jules Cardinal Mazarin.

The University has also produced three Nobel Prize winners: physicists Enrico Fermi and Emilio Segre and pharmacologist Daniel Bovet. Fermi and Segre were leaders of the famous Via Panisperna boys, a group of Italian scientists who made the first discoveries leading to the invention of the nuclear reactor and atomic bomb.

Contact University of Rome La Sapienza:
Address: Piazza le Aldo Moro 5, 00185, Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 49911
Fax: +39 06 4991 0978
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