According to the tradition Bologna University was founded in 1088, which is considered the date in which free teaching began in the city, independently from the ecclesiastic schools. The need to updated the Code of Justinian I (VI century), masters of grammar, rhetoric and logic began to apply themselves to law in Bologna. The earliest recorded scholar was Irnerius, whose activities cataloging the Roman laws can be considered the first written, systematic, comprehensive and rational, European law based on the Roman one.
The XIV century marks the opening to the so-called "artists", scholars of Medicine, Philosophy, Arithmetic, Astronomy, Logic, Rhetoric and Grammar. Several illustrious people studied in Bologna such as
Dante Alighieri. The golden area of Medicine started in the XVI century thanks to the studies of Gaspare Tagliacozzi and the teachings of Marcello Malpighi one century later. In 1562 the Archiginnasio Palace, the first permanent seat of Bologna University was built. The purpose was that to give a unique seat to the university teaching until then dispersed in various seats. The building can be considered one of the most beautiful Renaissance palaces in Italy with its porticoes, vaults and open galleries decorated with inscriptions and monuments commemorating the masters of the ancient university and over 6.000 thousands fresco-ed coats of arms. On the first floor it is possible to visit the Anatomy Theater where anatomy lessons were held, the Stabat Mater, former Hall of the Jurists, and the Library with over 850000 volumes, 2500 incunabula, 120000 ancient books.
In 1988, on occasion of the celebrations for the 900 year anniversary, the rectors of 430 universities from all the continents met in Bologna to sign the Magna Charta Universitatum Europaeum in which they formally recognized Bologna University as the Alma Mater of all Universities, the mother of all universities. This important document states the autonomy of all universities, the solid link between teaching and research, and rejects any limits posed by geographical or political boundaries.
In more recent times, during the last Edition of the Qs World University Ranking, which is a classification of 4.438 universities from all over the world, Bologna University has recorded an excellent position, especially in the Natural Science area, where it reaches the 72nd position moving forward of 55 spots. In Arts and Humanitas Bologna rises the chart up to the 59th position and it is the first in Italy. The Ateneum has also obtained excellent positions for Social sciences & Management, Engineering & Technology and Life science & Medicine. Bologna University classifies among the first 100 best university in the world and at the top of the chart in Italy in 7 branches of learning.
Since its beginnings, Bologna University has always maintained its central position on the scene of global culture and it is committed to the European dimension leading to the innovation of the university system. Today 87.000 students attend Bologna University which is one of the most popular school in Italy with 5 campuses, 11 schools, 33 departments, and 210 degree programs.
Sources: Qs World University Ranking, Università di Bologna, Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio