University of Naples Federico II

University of Naples Federico II
Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Motto Ad Scientiarum Haustum et Seminarium Doctrinarum
Motto in English
For the inculcation of the sciences and the dissemination of knowledge
Type State-supported
Established 1224
Endowment 473 million €
Rector Prof. Gaetano Manfredi
Administrative staff
Students 78,324
Undergraduates 44,700
Postgraduates 33,600
Location Naples, Italy
Sports teams CUS Napoli
Affiliations Campus Europae, UNIMED, PEGASUS
Main building, university of Naples, Federico II

The University of Naples Federico II (Italian: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II) is a university located in Naples, Italy. Founded in 1224 it is the oldest public and laic university in the world, and is now organized in 13 faculties. It was Europe's first university dedicated to training secular administrative staff,[1] and one of the oldest academic institutions in continuous operation. Federico II is the third University in Italy by number of students enrolled, despite its huge dimensions it still represents one of the best Universities in Italy being an excellence in particular for research; in 2015 it was ranked among the first 100 universities in the world by citations per paper. In 2016 it's the only generalist Italian university in the Times higher education reputation, which considers the best 200 best universities in the world. The university is named after its founder Frederick II.


The University of Naples Federico II was founded by emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Frederick II on 5 June 1224. It is the most ancient state-supported institution of higher education and research in the world. One of the most famous students of this university was Roman Catholic theologian and philosopher Thomas Aquinas.

Political project of Fredrick II

Fredrick II had precise objectives when he founded the university in Naples: first, to train administrative and skilled bureaucratic professionals for the curia regis (the kingdom's ministries and governing apparatus), also it was necessary to prepare lawyers and judges who would help the sovereign to draft laws and administer justice. Secondly, he wanted to facilitate the cultural development of promising young students and scholars, avoiding any unnecessary and expensive trips abroad (by creating a State University, emperor Frederick avoided having young students during his reign complete their training at the University of Bologna, which was in a city that was hostile to the imperial power).[2][3][4]

The University of Naples was arguably the first to be formed from scratch by a higher authority, and one not based upon an already-existing private school. Although its claim to be the first state-sponsored university can be challenged by Palencia (which was founded by the Castilian monarch c.1212), Naples certainly was the first chartered one.[5]

The artificiality of its creation posed great difficulties in attracting students (Thomas Aquinas was one of the few who came in these early years). The university's early years were further complicated by the long existence, in nearby Salerno, of Europe's most prestigious medical faculty, the Schola Medica Salernitana. The fledgling faculty of medicine at Naples had little hope to compete with it, and in 1231, the right of examination was surrendered to Salerno. The establishment of new faculties of theology and law under papal sponsorship in Rome in 1245 further drained Naples of students, as Rome was a more attractive location. In an effort to revitalize the dwindling university, in 1253, all the remaining schools of the university of Naples moved to Salerno, in the hope of creating a single viable university for the south.[6] But that experiment failed and the university (minus medicine) moved back to Naples in 1258 (in some readings, Naples was "refounded" in 1258 by Manfred Hohenstaufen, as by this time there were hardly any students left). The Angevin reforms after 1266 and the subsequent decline of Salerno gave the University of Naples a new lease on life and put it on a stable, sustainable track.[5]


The university is divided into 13 faculties:

Noted people

Notable alumni

Among those who have attended the University of Naples Federico II are Italian presidents Enrico De Nicola, Giovanni Leone and Giorgio Napolitano; Italian political leader Luigi de Magistris; manager Fabrizio Freda; philosophers Benedetto Croce and Nicola Abbagnano.

Presidents of the Italian Republic

Notable professors

Honoris Causa graduates


Several professors from various disciplines are among the top Italian Scientists by H-index. According to the 2016 QS World University Rankings by subject the University of Federico II ranks respectively: 51–100 for civil engineering, 101–150 for mechanical engineering, pharmacy and pharmacology, agriculture and forestry and physics and astronomy, 151–200 for law and legal studies, medicine and chemical engineering, 201–250 for electrical and electronic engineering, mathematics, economics and econometrics, 251–300 for biological sciences, computer science and chemistry.

See also


  1. Astarita, Tommaso (2013). "Introduction: "Naples is the whole world"". A Companion to Early Modern Naples. Leiden: Brill. p. 2.
  2. Capitani, Ovidio (1981). Storia d'Italia. 4. Turin: UTET. p. 122.
  3. "Cenni storici (English version)". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  4. Kamp, Norbert. "Federico II di Svevia". Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  5. 1 2 Rashdall, Hastings. The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages. 2. p. 22ff.
  6. Briggs, C.A. (1916). History of the Study of Theology. 2. p. 48.
  7. "Marta Filizola - The Mount Sinai Hospital". The Mount Sinai Hospital. Retrieved 2016-01-24.

Coordinates: 40°50′50″N 14°15′25″E / 40.84722°N 14.25694°E / 40.84722; 14.25694

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