University of Catania
Università degli Studi di Catania
Seal of the University of Catania
Latin: Siciliae Studium Generale or "Siculorum Gymnasium"
Established1434; 588 years ago (1434)
Rectorprof. Francesco Priolo
Administrative staff
Sports teamsCUS Catania
Detail of the University of Catania, from the faculty of humanities in the Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena
Detail of the University of Catania, from the faculty of humanities in the Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena

The University of Catania (Italian: Università degli Studi di Catania) is a university located in Catania, Sicily. Founded in 1434, it is the oldest university in Sicily, the 13th oldest in Italy, and the 29th oldest university in the world. With a population of over 60,000 students, it is the main university in Sicily.


Following the Italian higher education reform introduced by the law 240/10 and adopted by the University of Catania in its new Statute, faculties have been deactivated and departments have been reorganized. The University of Catania has now 17 departments, the Faculty of Medicine, and two special didactic units established in the decentralized offices of Ragusa (Modern Languages) and Syracuse (Architecture).[1] that, additionally to the traditional assignments of scientific research, are in charge of the organization and management of educational activities. A special didactic unit is also the school of excellence "Scuola Superiore di Catania", a higher education centre of the University of Catania conceived in 1998 to select the best young minds and offer them a course of studies including analysis, research and experimentation.

Department Short name Director Field
Agriculture, Food and Environment Di3A Prof. Agatino Russo Agriculture
Economics and Business DEI Prof.ssa Michela Cavallaro Economics
Law LAW Prof. Roberto Pennisi Law
Civil Engineering and Architecture DICAR Prof. Enrico Foti Engineering
Electric, Electronic and Computer Engineering DIEEI Prof. Giovanni Muscato
Mathematics and Computer Science DMI Prof. Orazio Muscato Mathematical and Computer Science
Physics and Astronomy "Ettore Majorana" DFA Prof. Maria Grazia Grimaldi Physics
Chemical Sciences DSC Prof. Roberto Purrello Chemistry
Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences DIPBIOGEO Prof. Pietro Pavone Natural Sciences
Humanities DISUM Prof.ssa Marina Paino Foreign Languages, Letters and Philosophy
Medical, Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies “GF Ingrassia” DGFI Prof. Stefano Puleo School "Faculty of Medicine" - Medicine and Surgery
General Surgery and Medical-Surgical Specialties CHIRMED Prof. Ernesto Rapisarda
Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences BIOMETEC Prof. Filippo Drago
Clinical and Experimental Medicine MEDCLIN Prof. Francesco Purrello
Political and Social Sciences DSPS Prof. Giuseppe Vecchio Political Science
Drug Sciences DSF Prof. Rosario Pignatello Pharmacy
Educational Sciences DISFOR Prof.ssa Rosa Loredana Cardullo Education
Architecture SDSARCHITETTURA Prof. Bruno Salvatore Messina Special Didactic Units
Foreign Languages and Literatures SDSLINGUE Prof. Santo Burgio
Scuola Superiore di Catania SSC Prof. Francesco Priolo
School of Italian Language and Culture ITALSTRA
The Palazzo dell'Università, seat of the University.
The Palazzo dell'Università, seat of the University.


The university was founded by King Alfonso I of Sicily on 19 October 1434. A charter was granted after two royal councillors (Adamo Asmundo and Battista Platamone) convinced the king to accept the founding of a "Studium Generale" in Catania, with the papal recognition arriving ten years later from Pope Eugene IV (18 April 1444). Alfonso V with this gesture wanted to compensate the city (in which there had been recently established the Royal Court) for moving the Sicilian capital from Catania to Palermo. The activity of the Atheneum actually started a year later, in 1445, with 6 professors and 10 students. The first four faculties were Medicine, Philosophy, Canon and Civil Law and Theology. Lessons were initially held in a building in Piazza del Duomo, next to the Cathedral of Sant'Agata, and eventually moved to the Palazzo dell'Università in the late 1690s. This building remains the office of the rector of the university to this day. The first degree was awarded to Antonio Mantello, from Syracuse, in 1449. During the course of the 16th century, approximately 20-25 degrees were awarded each year. The University (which from the 16th century was referred to as "Siculorum Gymnasium") was named "Studium Generale" because it was the only entity that could release degrees equal to those released in the old Studia of Salamanca, Valladolid, Bologna and this contributed to spread envy in the other Sicilian cities that in culture and traditions didn't feel inferior to Catania. In 1934, the university celebrated its 500th anniversary with King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy, and, in 1984 the 550th one.

In the early centuries of its existence, the university was administered by the comune (municipality) of Catania, overseen by the bishop of Catania and protected by the royal power. But with a reform operated by the viceroy in 1679 the authority of the bishop (who was "Gran Cancelliere" = "Great Chancellor") prevailed: he had the control over the lecturers, the freshmen and students' curriculum. This led to various conflicts between the civil and religious authorities. From 1818 the office of Gran Cancelliere was assigned to the President of the Great Civil Court, instead of the bishop.

List of university scholars historic and famous



Points of interest

See also


  1. ^ "Scuole di specializzazione - University of Catania". Retrieved 17 April 2018.

Coordinates: 37°30′13″N 15°05′12″E / 37.50361°N 15.08667°E / 37.50361; 15.08667