Best Universities in Italy 2023 | Universities for Free Education

With so many outstanding universities, it’s easy to see why Italy has become one of the most popular study-abroad locations. Following the most sought-after categories, here are the top ten Italian universities for studying abroad.

Italy is noted for having some of the world’s best cuisine and most distinctive cultures and some of the most renowned universities. Whatever your language proficiency and educational background, whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, or study abroad student, you will likely discover something that suits your needs. While not all colleges offer complete degree programs in English, many provide Italian and a few other English-language courses for students from abroad.

Finding a city that meets your needs is the first and most difficult step in deciding where to study in Italy. Think about the courses you want to take, your language skills, and the kind of neighborhood you want to live in. To match your budget with an Italian city, use tools like a number, which is the source for all cost of living information in this post.

While considering your alternatives, remember that private universities in Italy are substantially more expensive than public universities. For more ideas, please read our article on the top Italian cities for studying abroad!

Suggested Reads: English-taught Master Degree in Italy for International Students

Best Universities in Italy: QS World University Ranking 2023

Here is the list of the best universities in Italy according to the QS World University Ranking 2023.

  1. Polytechnic Univerity of Milan
  2. University of Bologna
  3. University of Rome – La Sapienza
  4. University of Padua
  5. University of Milan
  6. Polytechnic University of Turin
  7. University of Pisa
  8. University of Naples Federico II
  9. Vita-Salute San Raffaele University
  10. University of Trento

1. Polytechnic Univerity of Milan | Number 1 University in Italy

Politecnico di Milano is a public university that educates engineers, architects, and industrial designers.

The university has long placed a premium on its research and teaching caliber and originality, forging strong ties with industry and the working world through experimental study and technological transfer.

Research has always been connected to teaching, and Politecnico di Milano has made it a priority to do so to produce high-caliber outcomes on a global scale and connect the university to the corporate sector. A parallel path to that created through collaboration and partnerships with the industrial system is provided by research.

Departments of Polytechnic University of Milan

  • Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DAER)
  • Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DASTU)
  • Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering (DABC)
  • Department of Chemistry Materials and Chemical Engineering (DCMC)
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DICA)
  • Department of Design (DESIGN)
  • Department of Electronics, Information, and Bioengineering (DEIB)
  • Department of Energy (DENG)
  • Department of Management, Economics, and Industrial Engineering (DIG)
  • Department of Mathematics (DMAT)
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering (DMEC)
  • Department of Physics (DFIS)

Types of Degree Programs at Polytechnic University of Milan

The following are the degree programs taught at the Polytechnic University of Milan:

Laurea (Equivalent to Bachelor Degree) – 3 Years

Laurea Magistrale (Equivalent to Master Degree) – 2 Years

Research Doctorate (Ph.D.) – 3 Years

Specialized Master Degree in Post Graduate Program

Programs in Collaboration with Other Universities

2. University of Bologna

The University of Bologna is an Italian public research institution located in Bologna. It was the first institution of higher learning to provide degrees and was founded in 1088 by a guild of organized students. It is the oldest university still in existence in the world.

It is possible that the University of Bologna was the first university in the Western world due to its very old history. Its history is entwined with the lives of famous authors and scientists, and it serves as a crucial point of reference for examining the overall development of European culture.

Alma Mater Studiorum spans nine centuries, starting with the epoch traditionally referred to as the birth of the Bolognese Studio in 1088, moving through the bustling Middle Ages and the eclectic Renaissance, and ending with the modern era’s stagnation and the revival of the contemporary one. Here it is, the oldest university in the West.

Departments or Faculties of the University of Bologna

Bologna Univerity is ranked Number 2 among all the best universities in Italy. The faculties of the University of Bologna are as follows:

  • Agri-food sciences
  • Economy and management
  • Engineering and architecture
  • Humanistic studies
  • Languages ​​and Literature, Translation and Interpreting
  • Law
  • Medicine and Surgery
  • Motor Sciences
  • Pharmacy and biotechnology
  • Political sciences
  • Psychology
  • Science
  • Sciences of education and training
  • Sociology
  • Statistical Sciences
  • Veterinary medicine

Types of Degree Programs at the University of Bologna

Laurea (Equivalent to Bachelor Degree) – 3 Years

Laurea Magistrale (Equivalent to Master Degree) – 2 Years

Single Cycle Degree Program

University of Rome – La Sapienza

3. University of Rome – La Sapienza

The largest university in Europe and the oldest institution in Rome is Sapienza University. The oldest and biggest university in Europe, Sapienza, was established in Rome in 1303. Through research, top-notch training, and worldwide collaboration, it aims to contribute to the growth of the knowledge society. The University is ranked among the top universities in the world for its quality in teaching and research as well as its global reach.

In terms of research and teaching quality, worldwide scope, and other factors, Sapienza holds one of the top spots among Italian universities in the major global university rankings. The University performs exceptionally in the sectoral rankings and is recognized as a benchmark in many academic fields.

Faculties at Sapienza University

  • Architecture
  • Philosophy and Letters
  • Civil and Industrial Engineering
  • Communication
  • computer science and statistics
  • Economy
  • Information engineering
  • Law
  • Mathematical
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Medicine and Psychology
  • Pharmacy and Medicine
  • Philosophy and Letters
  • Physical and Natural Sciences
  • Physical and Natural Sciences
  • Political Sciences
  • Political Sciences, Sociology, Communication
  • Sociology

Types of Degree Programs at University Sapienza University of Rome

Laurea (Bachelor) – 3 Years Degree Program

Laurea Magistrale (Master’s Degree) – 2 Years Degree Program

Dottorati di Ricerca – Ph. D – 3 Years Degree Program

Single Courses

Specialization Courses

Advanced Training Courses

Summer and Winter School

4. University of Padua

One of Europe’s oldest and most prominent universities is the University of Padua. The University strives to give its students both a strong cultural foundation and professional training as a multidisciplinary institution of higher learning. The degree earned from the University of Padua serves as a representation of the lofty goals that are valued and wanted by both students and companies.

Studium Patavinum at Padua, which was established in 1222, accepted academics and students from other European nations as well as Italians who were seeking freedom of expression for their cultures. Under its motto, Universa universis patavina libertas, the University continues to define and express itself through this freedom.

The University of Padua still has some amazing stats. The University employs about 2,400 technical administrators in addition to over 60,000 students and 2,200 educators throughout its 32 departments. Each year, the university awards 5,000 scholarships, more than 2 million volumes are available in its 29 libraries, and more than 13,000 alumni are accredited.

By providing a wide variety of degree programs, the university continues to elevate its level of educational excellence. Including over a hundred bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, ten single-cycle degree programs, over a hundred master’s degree programs, more than twenty advanced programs, and more than ten specialized training courses. There are 40 Ph.D. schools and more than 60 technical schools.

Faculties at Padua University

  • Agricultural, Forestry, And Food Sciences
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Economics, Finance, Business Management
  • Education And Training
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare Professions
  • Humanities And Language Studies
  • Law, Economic nd Legal Studies
  • Medicine and Surgery
  • Pharmacy
  • Sport Sciences
  • Political Science, International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Science
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Veterinary Medicine and Animal Welfare

Types of Degree Programs Taught at the University of Padua

Bachelor – Laurea – 3 Years

Master – Laurea Magistrale – 2 years

Ph.D. – Doctoral Degrees

Joint Programs

Specialization Schools

Short Specialization programs

Professional courses

Higher-level training courses

5. University of Milan

The University of Milan is one of the more recent universities in Italy, in relative terms. Luigi Mangiagalli, a gynecologist and physician, worked tirelessly to establish La Statale in 1924, fulfilling a lifelong desire of his to establish a university in the regional hub of Lombardy.

The University of Milan, also referred to as UniMi or Statale, is a public research university in Milan, Italy. Its Latin name is Universitas Studiorum Mediolanensis. With around 60,000 students[5], it is one of the biggest universities in Europe. Also, there are about 2,000 permanent teaching and research staff members.

In addition to 140 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, 32 doctoral schools, and 65+ specialization schools, the University of Milan has ten schools. Over time, the University’s research and teaching initiatives grew and won significant accolades on a global scale.

The University is one of twenty-one research-intensive European Universities that make up the League of European Research Universities (LERU), of which it is the only member from Italy. In other rating systems, it is consistently ranked as one of the top institutions in Italy, both overall and in particular subject areas, sharing first place with the Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Pisa.

Faculties and Schools of the University of Milan

  • Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Political, Economic, and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Science and Technology
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • School of Exercise and Sport Sciences
  • School of Language Mediation and Intercultural Communication
  • Teacher Training Courses

Types of Degree Programs Taught at the University of Milan

Undergraduate Programs

Master’s Degree Programs

Doctoral Programs

Vocational Masters

Postgraduate Schools

6. Polytechnic University of Turin

In the surge of technological and scientific innovation that gave rise to the most esteemed European polytechnic institutions in the middle of the 19th century, Politecnico di Torino, the first engineering school in Italy, was established.

It was first established in 1859 as a School for Engineers before changing its name to Regio Politecnico di Torino in 1906. At Politecnico di Torino, engineers, architects, designers, and urban planners have received rigorous, honest, and high-level training for more than 160 years.

With 38,700 students and more than 1,000 faculty members, Politecnico has a rich and dynamic history that places it among the best technical universities in Europe for education and research.

Departments at the Polytechnic University of Turin

  • Department of Architecture And Design (Dad)
  • Department of Control And Computer Engineering
  • Department of Electronics And Telecommunications (Det)
  • Department of Environment, Land And Infrastructure Engineering (Diati)
  • Department of Management And Production Engineering (Digep)
  • Department of Mechanical And Aerospace Engineering (Dimeas)
  • Department of Structural, Geotechnical, and Building Engineering (Diseg)
  • Department of Mathematical Sciences “G. L. Lagrange” (Disma)
  • Department of Energy “Galileo Ferraris” (Denerg)
  • Interuniversity Department Of Regional And Urban Studies And Planning (Dist)
  • Department of Applied Science And Technology (Disat)

Types of Degree Programs at the Polytechnic University of Turin

Bachelor Degree Programs

Master Degre Programs

Specliazaiton Master Degree Program and Life Learning

Ph.D. Programs

7. University of Pisa

The University of Pisa is a public university with twenty departments and top-tier research centers in the fields of agronomy, astronomy, computer science, engineering, medicine, and veterinary medicine. Furthermore, the university maintains close ties with the Pisan Institutes of the National Board of Research, numerous cultural institutions of importance on both a national and international scale, and various industries, particularly those based in information technology, which underwent a period of rapid expansion in Pisa during the 1960s and 1970s.

Although many academics think that the University of Pisa’s founding dates back to the 11th century, it was not formed formally until 1343.

Departments at University Pisa

  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry
  • Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge
  • Department of Economics and Management
  • Department of Pharmacy
  • Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Law
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering
  • Department of Energy, Systems, Territory, and Construction Engineering
  • Department of Information Engineering
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
  • Department of Surgical, Medical and Molecular Pathology, and Critical Care Medicine
  • Department of Translational Research and of New Surgical and Medical Technologies
  • Department of Agricultural, Food, and Agro-Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Geosciences
  • Department of Political Sciences
  • Department of Veterinary Sciences

Types of Degree Programs Taught at Pisa University

Bachelor Degree

Master Degree Programs

Doctorate Programs (Ph.D)

Advance Courses

Teacher Training

8. University of Naples Federico II

In Naples, Italy, there is a public institution called the University of Naples Federico II (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II). It is the oldest public university in the world and has 26 departments as of today. It was founded in 1224. It is thought to be the oldest secular state university in the world and is renowned for being the oldest state-funded institution.

The institute’s creation aimed to establish a university that would replace the supremacy of northern Italian universities, especially those of Bologna and Padua, which were viewed as either being too independent or heavily influenced by the Pope.

Faculties at the University of Naples Federico II

  • Architecture
  • Biotechnologies
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Mathematics, Physics, and Natural Science
  • Politics
  • Humanities

Types of Degree Programs Taught at the University of Naples Federico II


Master Degree Programs

Single Cycle Master Programs

Ph.D. Courses

9. Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

Since its founding in 1993 by Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini and Andrea Moro, the Department of Cognitive Science has been home to the University of Vita-Salute San Raffaele’s Psychology program ever since its inception in 1996. The program is structured along both experimental-clinical and general-cognitive axes of inquiry.

Students at San Raffaele College and University, which grew out of a hospital that is itself known for its groundbreaking medical research, have access to basic research laboratories in a wide variety of disciplines. Over time, it has grown to incorporate studies from the fields of Philosophy and Cognitive Science.

Philosophy of science, perception, biolinguistics, generative grammar, and vision are just some of the topics covered at this university, in addition to the more obvious clinical issues. Even though San Raffaele University is a private institution, all of the professors who teach there are on par with those at public universities and must have gone through the same national selection process as professors at public universities like the Università Cattolica or the Bocconi University in Milan.

Faculties at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

  • Medicine and Surgery
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy

Types of Degree Programs at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

3 Years Degre

Master Degree

Single Cycle Master Degree

Single Courses

PhD Programs

10. University of Trento

Trento, Italy, is home to the University of Trento, as is the nearby town of Rovereto. According to CENSIS and the Italian Ministry of Education, it has accomplished significant results in the areas of didactics, research, and international relations.
Trento University began in 1962 as a Higher University Institute for the Social Sciences.
Later, it evolved into Italy’s pioneering sociology school. The university was seen as a driving force for cultural openness and the creation of a new leading class, but it was also seen as a fracturing element of protest, having quite contradictory effects on the city. 

To meet the rising demand for higher education at the University of Trento, the Faculty of Science was established in 1972, and the Faculty of Economics followed a year later in 1973. In 1984, the Law and Arts and Humanities Faculties were added to the academic endeavor, and in 1985, the Engineering Faculties joined them. The Department of Cognitive Science was established in the Faculty in 2004. With support from Trento’s academics and the Edmund Mach Foundation, the C3A, or Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment opened its doors in 2017.


  • Civil, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering
  • Cellular, Computational, and Integrative Biology – CIBIO
  • Information Engineering and Computer Science
  • Psychology and Cognitive Science
  • Economics and Management
  • Sociology and Social Research
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Faculty of Law
  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Types of Degree Programs Taught at the University of Trento

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Master Degree Programs

Doctoral Programs

Single Cycle Degree Programs

Suggested Reads: Computer Science Master Degree Programs in Italy

Final Words!

Foreign students interested in obtaining a high-quality education in Italy should consider applying to one of these universities due to its excellent academics, prolific research, and well-established reputation abroad.

These universities offer international students unique and rewarding educational opportunities due to the various courses and programs in multiple disciplines.


Which is the number 1 university in Italy as per QS ranking 2023?

According to QS Ranking 2023, the Polytechnic University of Milan is the number 1 university in Italy.

Which is the most famous Engineering university in Italy?

The Politecnico di Milano, established in 1863 in one of Italy’s preeminent industrial centers, is regarded as the country’s top technical university. Two of the seven campuses are located in Milan.

Which Universities in Italy offer degree programs in the English Language?

Many universities in Italy offer English-taught programs. The top-ranked universities for foreigners are:
– Polytechnic Univerity of Milan
– University of Bologna
– University of Rome – La Sapienza
– University of Padua
– University of Milan
– Polytechnic University of Turin
– University of Pisa
– University of Naples Federico II
– Vita-Salute San Raffaele University
– University of Trento

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