University of Naples Federico II


The University of Naples Federico II (Italian: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II) is a public university in Naples, Italy. Founded in 1224, it is the oldest public non-sectarian university in the world, and is now organized into 26 departments. It was Europe's first university dedicated to training secular administrative staff,[1] and is one of the oldest academic institutions in continuous operation. Federico II is the third University in Italy by number of students enrolled,[2] but despite its size it is still one of the best universities in Italy and the world, in southern Italy it leads 1st Ranking since it started,[citation needed] being particularly notable for research; in 2015 it was ranked among the top 100 universities in the world by citations per paper.[3] The university is named after its founder Frederick II. In October 2016 the university hosted the first ever Apple IOS Developer Academy and in 2018 the Cisco Digital Transformation Lab.[4]

University of Naples Federico II
Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Logo unina.gif
MottoAd Scientiarum Haustum et Seminarium Doctrinarum
Motto in English
For the inculcation of the sciences and the dissemination of knowledge
Established5 June 1224; 798 years ago (5 June 1224)
Endowment€473 million
RectorProf. Matteo Lorito
Administrative staff
5,517 (2013)
Students93,280 (2020)
Sports teamsCUS Napoli
AffiliationsCampus Europae, UNIMED, PEGASUS
Main building, university of Naples, Federico 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 world's oldest state-supported institution of higher education and research. One of the most famous students was Roman Catholic theologian and philosopher Thomas Aquinas.

Political project of Frederick IIEdit

Frederick II had specific 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), as well as preparing lawyers and judges who would help the sovereign to draft laws and administer justice. Second, 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.[5][6][7]

The University of Naples was arguably the first to be formed from scratch by a higher authority, 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.[8]

The artificiality of its creation posed great difficulties in attracting students; Thomas Aquinas was one of the few who came in these early years. Those 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 of competing 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.[9] 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.[8]


The university has 13 faculties:


University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[citation needed]201–301(2022)
QS World[citation needed]416(2023)
THE World[citation needed]401–500(2022)
USNWR Global[citation needed]185(2023)

Noted peopleEdit

Notable alumniEdit

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

Presidents of the Italian RepublicEdit

Notable professorsEdit

Honoris Causa graduatesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Astarita, Tommaso (2013). "Introduction: 'Naples is the whole world'". A Companion to Early Modern Naples. Leiden: Brill. p. 2.
  2. ^ "University of Naples Federico II".
  3. ^ "University of Naples – Federico II". Top Universities. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Polo Universitario di San Giovanni a Teduccio: inaugurato il Cisco Digital Transformation Lab – Primo Piano – Regione Campania". Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  5. ^ Capitani, Ovidio (1981). Storia d'Italia. Vol. 4. Turin: UTET. p. 122.
  6. ^ "Cenni storici (English version)". Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  7. ^ Kamp, Norbert. "Federico II di Svevia". Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  8. ^ a b Rashdall, Hastings (1895). The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages. Vol. 2. p. 22ff. ISBN 9780790580487. Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  9. ^ Briggs, C.A. (1916). History of the Study of Theology. Vol. 2. p. 48. Archived from the original on 1 May 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Marta Filizola – The Mount Sinai Hospital". The Mount Sinai Hospital. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.

External linksEdit

  • (in Italian) University of Naples Federico II Website
  • (in Italian) Girolamo Arnaldi, Studio di Napoli in Enciclopedia Federiciana, Rome, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana, 2005.

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