Italy certainly has plenty of charms to tempt tourists and international students alike: a diverse landscape including mountains, islands and active volcanoes; an immense cultural and historical legacy; iconic historic and architectural sites including Rome’s Colosseum and the Pisa’s Leaning Tower; incomparable cuisine; an impressive history of inventions and discoveries… and, of course, universities in Italy include some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious.
Aside from the monumental legacy of the Roman civilization, Italy has a long history of being ahead of the game, with many significant discoveries, inventions and innovations originating in Italy.
Italy is also known for famous fashion houses such as Gucci, Benetton, Armani, Prada, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, and its luxury car brands, including Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. Oh, and did we mention the food..?
Universities in Italy
Overall, there are around 90 universities in Italy, of which the majority are publicly funded. There are also a number of specialized postgraduate centers, polytechnics and other academies that form part of the higher education sector.
Under the Bologna Process, Italy has implemented the nuovo ordinamento system, replacing the former vecchio ordinamento. Higher education in Italy now consists of a three-year bachelor’s degree called the laurea triennale, which can be followed by the two-year master’s degree (laurea magistrale, previously the laurea specialistica). There is a credit system in place to quantify the amount of work needed to pass each course (eg. 25 work hours = 1 credit), as well as an opportunity for students to change their course or continue their studies abroad after three years. Students wishing to study law must take the five-year Laurea Magistrale a Ciclo Unico, while medicine students must take a six-year degree.
With beautiful landscapes and cities, friendly and vibrant people, a truly rich history and culture, and world-class universities specialized in a variety of subjects, it’s no surprise that there’s always a steady stream of Italophiles wishing to live and study in Italy.
Facts about Italy
- Official name: Italian Republic (RepubblicaItaliana)
- Capital: Rome (Roma), nickname “The Eternal City”
- Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
- Head of state is the elected President (currently Giorgio Napolitano), but the government is led by the Prime Minister (currently Enrico Letta)
- Borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia
- Italy has numerous islands, and the mainland is famously shaped like a boot.
- There are two independent states within Italy, both enclaves: Republic of San Marino and Vatican City.
- Italy has the only active volcano in mainland Europe: Mount Vesuvius. Of Italy’s 14 volcanoes, three others are active: Mount Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano.
- Europe’s fifth largest economy, ninth largest in the world but also one of the highest levels of public debt in the Eurozone (116% of GDP in 2010)
- 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country
- Official language: Italian. Other recognized linguistic groups have co-official status including French, German, Ladin and Slovene.
- Main religion: Roman Catholic
- Currency: 1 Euro = 100 cents (previously Italian Lira)
- Main exports: engineering products, textiles and clothing, machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals, tobacco, minerals, and nonferrous metals
- Italy’s national football (soccer) team has won the FIFA World Cup four times, in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 – only Brazil has been more successful.
- Other popular team sports in Italy include volleyball, basketball and rugby.
- There is a European law safeguarding the ‘traditional Italian pizza’.
- The language of music is in Italian (for example mezzo, lento, andante, allegro, vivace and presto).
- Famous Italian cheeses include Parmesan, from the Parma area in Northern Italy and mozzarella, traditionally made using Italian buffalo milk.
- Time zone: Central European Time (UTC+1), UTC+2 in the summer
- International dialing code: +39
- Internet domain: .it
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