Property buying guide for Italy
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Education in Italy

About 32,000 international students attend universities in Italy. Rome, Milan, Pisa and Bologna are the most popular cities among students. Italian academies for fine arts, fashion and design are considered the best in the world.

Preschool, primary and secondary education

All children, including those of foreign nationals, can attend free public nurseries from the age of three. Compulsory education at public (scuola primaria) or private primary schools (scuola elementare) starts at six.

Children attend secondary school (scuola secondaria formerly known as scuola media) from eleven without any prior exams. Junior secondary school (scuola secondaria di primo grado) lasts until fourteen years old and pupils must pass exams in the main subjects (Licenza media) to be able to continue their education. The majority of international schools are located in Rome and Milan. Annual tuition in these schools is €10,000–20,000, the exact fee depends on the level of education.

Senior secondary school studies (scuola secondaria di secondo grado) can be completed in 4–5 years at academic lyceums (liceo), technical institutes (instituto tecnico) or vocational schools (istituto professionale). Lyceums prepare their students to enter humanities, technical, economics universities as well as the universities of education. They provide ample theoretical knowledge. Technical institutes have a balanced course of practical and theoretical subjects; many of them offer internship programmes during the last year of studies. Vocational schools help pupils to acquire practical skills over a period of three to five years and to enter the job market immediately afterwards.

To be eligible for university admission, applicants must complete five years of secondary education, pass the state exam and obtain a secondary education certificate.

Higher education

Italy has over 70 accredited higher education institutions. They include universities, higher design schools, fine arts academies, conservatories, musical institutes, languages institutes, technical education establishments (IFTS) and schools of higher integrated education.

Bachelor degree (laurea triennale) programmes in Italy last three years and Master's degrees (laurea magistrale) require two years of graduate studies. A full cycle at a law university takes five years and medical studies last six years.

Top Italian Universities 2014-2015

World Ranking University Italian name
182 University of Bologna Università di Bologna
202 Sapienza University of Rome Università di Roma
La Sapienza
229 Polytechnic University
of Milan
Politecnico di Milano
238 University of Milan Università degli Studi
di Milano
245 University of Pisa Università di Pisa
262 University of Padua Università degli Studi
di Padova
305 University of Rome Tor Vergata Università degli Studi
di Roma Tor Vergata
345 University of Naples Federico II Università degli Studi
di Napoli Federico II
352 University of Florence Università degli Studi
di Firenze (UNIFI)
365 Polytechnic University of Turin Politecnico di Torino
371 University of Pavia L'Università di Pavia
377 Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Università Cattolica
del Sacro Cuore (UCSC)
394 University of Turin Università degli Studi di Torino
411-420 University of Trento Università degli studi di Trento
471-480 University of Siena Università degli Studi di Siena

Source: QS World University Rankings

Foreign nationals can apply to public Italian universities through their embassy. Most courses offered by the Italian universities are free but are limited to 200 students. Admission includes an interview and a language test.

Restricted access courses are intended for the students of Medicine, Applied Sciences or those who go on international internships. To attend this type of course students need to pass a compulsory exam (test di amissione).

Universities establish their own tuition fees, which are usually the same for EU and non-EU students. Annual tuition ranges from €500 to €3,500 in state universities while the private institutions charge €8,000–15,000 per year.

The cost of living is relatively high in Italy, particularly in the north. A one-bedroom flat costs €450–600 per month and monthly meal expenses are €200–300. Average living expenses of a student in Italy are €8,000–12,000 per year.

Required documents

Non-EU applicants need to submit the following documents:

  • notarised secondary education certificate or university diploma copy (with Italian translation)
  • CILS (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera) B2 certificate (if lower, there are additional language tests at university) or TOEFL/IELTS certificate to study in English
  • academic transcripts for any higher level studies accomplished
  • Dichiarazione di Valoro in Loco statement
  • preinscrizione modello A or A-bis form (depending on the academic programme)
  • two photos, legalised by the consulate

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    Property buying guide for Italy
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