The University of Urbino dates back to 1506 when Duke Guidobaldo I founded the “Collegio dei Dottori”, and from its inception, it continued to grow and develop.
While the student body and faculties gradually increased and developed over time, it was under the long and fruitful presidency of Senator for Life, Carlo Bo, that the University enjoyed unprecedented growth in size and prestige, prompting the former President of the European Community Commission, Roy Jenkins, to state that “the University of Urbino is an incisive presence in contemporary thought, contributing in original ways to the cultural and intellectual life of Europe”. The University of Urbino now has around 20,000 students and is known for the quality of its teaching and research.
The size and organization of the University encourage a direct relationship between students and teachers and allow students to take full advantage of all campus services and facilities. Urbino, the ideal Renaissance city, has become the ideal city for study, a lively and stimulating campus-town perfectly suited for student life.
The University of Urbino grew out of the Collegio dei Dottori which was already active around the middle of the fifteenth century and “authorized to act as an appeal court for suits involving the Duchy of Urbino”. At the request of Duke Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, this college was officially recognized in a papal bull of 1507, issued by Pope Julius II of the della Rovere family, and entrusted with the administration of penal and civil law throughout the Duchy.
In 1564, Pope Pius IV granted the Collegio “leave to crown two poets laureate annually, to confer degrees in canon and civil law, to award academic qualifications in the arts, in medicine and in the other faculties recognized by the University articles, and to appoint notaries”. At the start of the seventeenth century, the Collegio dei Dottori became a Studio Pubblico , a transformation sanctioned by Duke Francesco Maria II della Rovere and one that meant that it would now set about teaching as well as administering the law. Shortly afterwards, the Duchy of Urbino was absorbed into the Papal State, though the privileges previously bestowed upon the Collegio were all reconfirmed.
The Urbino Community took the place of the Dukes and the Studio Pubblico resumed its activities on an even grander scale than before, with chairs of Mathematics, Physics, Logic, Metaphysics and Theology being added to those of Law. Finally, in 1671, Pope Clement X issued a bull founding “Una Universitas Studij Generalis”, the University of Urbino, which promptly broke away from the Collegio dei Dottori , drafted its own constitution and pursued its own course. Pope Clement X’s successor, Clement XI, a descendant of the Albani family of Urbino, enlarged the University, gave it fresh impetus, broadened the curriculum and opened a newcitizens and studUniversity library.
If the early history of Urbino University is closely linked to the Montefeltro and della Rovere families, it owes its later recognition and enlargement to various popes as well as to the enterprise of the Albani - a family who provided Italy with a number of popes committed to ensuring the continuing prosperity first of the Collegio dei Dottori and later of the Studio Pubblico and the University. In a brief of 1721, Pope Innocent XIII finally reconfirmed all the rights granted over the years to what was to become the University of Urbino. Italian unity in 1860 marked the start of a new period. A Royal Charter of 1862 declared Urbino an Independent University and instructed the provincial administration to provide it with a charter and an annual grant. The Law Faculty and a certain number of two-year courses held at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics were ratified, as well as courses at what was to become the Pharmacy Faculty.
In the 1920’s, “Urbino University gained recognition as an Independent University” with a charter which made state aid possible though not mandatory. So the University had to continue to make do with student enrolment fees, the contribution from the provincial administration and income from its own estates. Once fully recognised as an Independent University, student numbers gradually increased as more faculties were opened. During the 1960’s and 1970’s the University succeeded in buying up quite a number of derelict palaces in the old centre which have since been restored and used as faculty and department buildings.
This was also the period that the architect Giancarlo De Carlo designed and built the University Halls of Residence which can accommodate 1500 students. Today the University of Urbino is a State University. It numbers 10 faculties and about 17,000 students. Its numerous departments are housed in buildings of outstanding architectural interest, and it offers students and scholars a wide range of courses and research opportunities. Urbino provides the ideal setting for a university: the ancient cwithin walking distance and tpeople, teachers and students.