Florence, University of

Florence, University of

 

one of the oldest universities in Italy and in Europe. The university was founded in 1321 and financed by the Florentine republic; it succeeded a school established in 825 and referred to in 1203 as a university. Its charter, adopted in 1387, became the model for other universities in Italy.

The university flourished in the first half of the 15th century; its most advanced schools were those of medicine and jurisprudence. In 1472 the university was moved to Pisa. However, the schools of philology, philosophy, and theology remained in Florence; later, schools of mathematics, astronomy, physics, zoology, botany, and mineralogy were added. Many noted Italian scholars taught at the university, including Baldi, Niccoli, A. Poliziano, L. Pacioli, A. Cesalpino, E. Torricelli, and F. Redi; Galileo held the title of “first mathematician.” The activities of the various schools were centralized in 1859 by a government decree, by which the University of Florence became the Institute of Higher Practical and Advanced Studies; in 1924 it reverted to its former name.

In 1975 the University of Florence had faculties of jurisprudence, political sciences, economics and commerce, letters and philosophy, education, medicine and surgery, science, architecture, agriculture and forestry, and engineering. It has a library uniting the National Central Library (founded 1747), with more than 4 million volumes, and the Marucelli Library (founded 1752), with approximately 500,000 manuscripts, incunabula, and rare editions. The university also has an observatory and an observatory museum. In 1975 21,000 students were enrolled, and the teaching staff included 262 professors.

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