Public universities in Italy offer numerous benefits to international students, such as a vibrant multicultural study environment, affordable tuition fees, generous scholarships, and a diverse range of study programs. Learners are also offered a variety of educational opportunities and have access to highly advanced facilities.

So if you are interested in all those perks, keep reading. This article will provide you with an overview of public higher education in Italy, along with additional details on some of the best public universities in Italy for international students.

Top Public Universities in Italy

Italy is home to many top public universities that welcome international students. Here are the best among them:

1. University of Bologna

Founded in 1088, the University of Bologna is among the oldest educational institutions in the West. It is well known for its academic excellence, rich history, and unique characteristics. As one of the top universities in Italy, it attracts students from all over the world due to its inclusive and diverse study environment.

The University of Bologna offers extensive academic programs in various fields, including natural sciences, law, economics, humanities, engineering, medicine, political sciences, and social sciences. A popular graduate of this university includes the famous Italian film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini.

2. Sapienza University of Rome

Established in 1303, Sapienza University of Rome is among the oldest, largest, and best public universities in Italy. It is a reputed institution that offers high-quality education and training for international students. Not only that, one of the major reasons for its popularity is because of its affordability, offering cheap tuition without having to compromise the quality of education. It is also situated in one of the world’s most vibrant and popular cities, Rome.

Sapienza University’s architectural beauty and historic significance are some of its most unique features. It is also situated near some of Italy’s iconic landmarks like Vatican City, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum, thus, offering its students a truly spectacular and culturally immersive study experience.

3. University of Milan

The University of Milan, founded in 1924, is yet another reputed public educational institution in Italy that has evolved into a leading European university. It offers students a dynamic education in a range of academic areas, with programs being offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The University of Milan facilitates the development of a versatile skill set and a broader perspective in its students by encouraging them to explore different academic areas through interdisciplinary research. It also provides international students with an inclusive and warm student experience.

4. University of Padua

Established in 1222, the University of Padua is another one of Italy’s oldest and best universities. It is known for its historic significance and wide range of study programs. Thus, it is another great choice for international students in Italy.

This university is especially renowned for its medical college, boasting a colorful background in medical education and research. But it has produced more than top medical professionals. The institution has hosted many other prolific personalities, including Galileo Galilei, a renowned mathematician, physicist, and astronomer, who served as chair of mathematics at the University of Padua..

5. University of Florence

  • Admissions
  • Location: Tuscany, Italy | Medium of Instruction: Italian, English

The University of Florence was established in 1321. It is located in central Florence, a city that is famous for its artistic history and cultural heritage. This allows its students to enjoy an inspiring and vibrant study environment and delve into the university’s rich Renaissance history.

Additionally, the many galleries, historical sites, and museums available in the city offer international students much to learn from. The renowned figures, like Leonardo da Vinci who was part of the university’s faculty, who have once traipsed the university’s halls may also inspire learners.

6. University of Turin

Founded in 1404, the University of Turin is a renowned public university in Italy that has garnered much attention for its vibrant research community, and academic excellence. It is known for its multidisciplinary approach to education, and its extensive range of programs, which include science, social science, law, economics, humanities, and medicine.

Furthermore, a diverse and welcoming student community awaits foreigners who go to this institution. That, along with a culturally immersive study environment, makes the University of Turin an attractive choice among international students. A popular graduate of this university was Umberto Eco, a well-known philosopher and writer.

7. University of Pisa

Founded in 1343, the University of Pisa is an attractive study-abroad destination among international students. It offers a comprehensive range of degree programs and puts a significant emphasis on innovation and research. This has resulted in the institution and its students making several groundbreaking discoveries. Learners at the University of Pisa are also encouraged to pursue a well-rounded education by exploring a variety of study areas.

Additionally, the university’s strong connections to various local and international industries allow it to provide students with valuable opportunities like research collaborations and international exchange programs. Popular graduates from the University of Pisa include well-known astronomer and physicist, Galileo Galilei (who eventually taught at the University of Padua), and the Nobel laureate in physics, Enrico Fermi.

FAQs about Studying in Public Universities in Italy

Can International Students Enroll in Public Universities in Italy?

Yes, international students can enroll in public educational institutions in Italy and Italian universities mostly encourage international students to pursue higher studies in Italy. Additionally, the Italian education system has made available a wide range of study programs designed specifically for international students. For instance, the University of Bologna is a prestigious Italian public university that welcomes international students.

It is among the oldest education institutions in the country and offers a diverse range of academic programs for international students. Another similar university is the Sapienza University of Rome, a prestigious public university in Italy that is also among the largest universities in Europe, well known for its research and academic excellence. Both universities offer numerous support services for foreign students and boast of strong international communities.


The best public universities in Italy can be highly beneficial for international students, as they offer an excellent range of study programs, affordable tuition fees, and high-quality education. Students there also enjoy a culturally rich and diverse study environment, with access to various resources and support services to help them along their educational journey.


We hope this article has done a great job in introducing you to the best public universities in Italy. You can read more articles by checking the Study in Italy Page! We would also like to introduce you to these amazing open courses for your study abroad journey!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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