Sienese example of research and innovation
The University of Siena is one of the oldest universities in the world. A university rich in history and tradition, it was founded in 1240 with the Schools of Medicine and Law. In over eight centuries of existence, the university has been a key player in advance and research and is one of the most innovative universities in these fields today.
The University of Siena has seen a conspicuous growth in the 20th century going from the four hundred students enrolled between the wars to over 20 thousand in recent years. As a result of this increase, the number of faculties also increased: the historical faculties of Medicine and Surgery and Law were joined by Pharmacy (1933), Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences (1962), Economics (1966), Literature and Philosophy in Arezzo (founded in 1969 as Magisterium), Literature and Philosophy (1970), Engineering (1992) and Political Science (1997).
The history of the University of Siena is closely linked to the cultural tradition of Tuscany, starting in the Middle Ages. The first document that testifies to its existence is a civil decree dated 26 December 1240, which illustrates the judicial structure of the Sienese Athenaeum that wasn’t directly organised by the Municipality. In fact, citizens who rented accommodation to students had to pay a tax.
From this tax, the municipality collected the salary for the teachers, selected out of the best. The University of Siena experienced significant expansion in 1323 when many students transferred from the University of Bologna. At this point, the municipality realises the value of this body, which gradually becomes a cultural and political centre and therefore needed to be developed.
So, the municipality invested large sums of money to better accommodate its students. From that moment on, the university’s fame grew becoming one of the top choices of thousands of students, who still today come to Siena every year to continue their education.