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The University of Salerno (Italian: Università degli Studi di Salerno, UNISA) is a university located in Salerno, Italy. It is organized in 10 Faculties.
Salerno, a city in which, as Michelet said, “emperors, kings, popes, and the richest barons all had their own doctor”, developed during the Middle Ages around its prestigious School of Medicine. Previously, the town of Velia, a little south of Salerno, had a medical College with a school of medicine, which was established in Greek and Roman times. Many important men, such as Paulus Emilius, Cicero, Brutus, and perhaps even Horace and Augustus, had had villas built while staying in Velia for therapeutic reasons.
The barbarian invasions following the fall of the Roman Empire caused the last doctors from Velia to move to the neighbouring city of Salerno. The philosophical and scientific tradition of medical studies carried on there, in the form of a free and autonomous guild of erudite men, a College of masters, which became the first nucleus of the Salernitan Studium, later to be used as a model for other European universities.
The Salerno Medical School reached the height of its glory between the 10th and 13th centuries, especially due to the contribution of Alphanus of Salerno and Constantine the African, who deemed Salerno worthy of the name of “City of Hippocrates” (Hippocratica Civitas), after the well-known Greek physician and mathematician.
People from all over the world came to the Salerno School, sick people hoping to recover, or apprentices wishing to learn medical skills. Its fame became international, as proved by historiographical testimonies as well as the Salernitan manuscripts present in many libraries in Europe.
The School kept the Greek and Latin medical heritage alive, combining it harmoniously with the Arabic and Hebrew traditions. This combination of different cultures led to a wider medical knowledge and is illustrated by the legend which credits the foundation of the School to four masters: Helinus the Jew, Pontus the Greek, Adela the Arab, and Salernus the Roman.
In the School, besides medicine, which was studied and practised by women too, philosophy, theology and law were taught.
The “Giovanni Cuomo” University Institute of Education, founded in 1944 was therefore set up with this renowned and ancient tradition in mind.
In 1968 this institute became a State university, the University of Salerno, and it has since seen a great increase in student numbers.