Sicily’s University of Catania is the oldest university on the island of Sicily, and is among the oldest universities in the world. It was founded in 1444 with four faculties: canonic and civil law, theology and arts, medicine and philosophy. Just ten students attended in the university’s first year.
Now, the university has thousands of students in some 18 departments, ranging from agricultural science to politics. It retains its location in the historic Piazza Università, but also has several state of the art facilities in the modern “university town” district of Catania.
The university offers undergraduate degrees in English in agricultural science, arts, law, engineering and political science.
The university has a strong commitment to the European Union’s ideal of researcher mobility, and its staff roster boasts a high number of eminent international researchers from across the continent.
Catania is acclaimed for its scientific research. Notably, the university carries out research into astronomy and astrophysics through the Catania Astrophysical Observatory. For almost 100 years, the observatory has been continuously tracking the activity of the sun, providing priceless research that continues to this day.
Catania itself is a port city that was formerly the capital of Sicily. It sits to the south of Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe. It’s possible to take one of the walking trails that lead out of Catania all the way to the summit of Mount Etna.
While in Catania, it’s also advisable to take advantage of the city’s famous street food scene and sample some local specialities, all washed down with a glass of the region’s zibibbo wine.