29 January 1377, Pope Gregory XI accepted the request of Gentile Da
Varano, Lord of Camerino, and issued a Bull in which he granted the city
the right to have a general university. In particular, he authorized the
interpretation and teaching of Civil and Canon Law and gave permission
to award Doctorate and Bachelor degrees.
This did not imply the founding of a new school, it raised to a higher
level the private university which had been guaranteed by the local
authorities, and extended to the whole of the Christian world the
validity of its academic titles, which could now be conferred “with
No documents remain about the beginning of the city’s
university. Camerino was then the capital of a large territory, its only
rival for dominion being Fermo.
It was the seat of Governement of one of the leading “Signorie” in
the political and military affairs of the peninsula and home to
magistrates and scholars who were scattered throughout its principals
A fragment of the Statutes of Camerino University from 1355, inform us
that the following courses were active in the city: Canon Law, Civil
Law, Medicine and Literature, whereas the bull of 1377 recognized only
legal Studies. The truth is that, following an ancient Justinian law, it
was especially easy for a university authority to legitimize a law
school because of the political role played at all times by
The Pontifical provisions were subjected to a time limit and proposed a
period of experimentation for the university.
This reservation was due more to the doubtful fidelity of Camerino to
the Papacy than to the inefficiency of its school.
The Western Schism, which split the Church for forty years, and the
alternative loyalty of the Da Varano to Rome and Avignon have made it
impossibile, up to now, to ascertain if and by whom the definitive
recognition was made.
Students came to Camerino initially as a result of an ancient privilege,
conceded by Frederik Barbarossa to university towns, which was adopted
by the Town Council within its Statute; they were exempted from the
payment of all taxes and duties and freed from the ranger of reprisals,
even when hostilities existed between Camerino and their native city.
enjoyed unconditional freedom to enter, live in and leave the city.
This priviledge applied also to their servants.
Under the Papal State, the small formal adjustments made to university
legislation in 1563 did not resuscitate an institution that had long
been without its original cultural and political justification. The
decline of the “Signoria” and of Camerino, once capital of the
dukedom, into the principal town of a limited Pontifical district, and
the economic crisis which had descended on the city signalled the end of
By 1600 the university disappeared.
The college of Doctors survived but limited itself to setting exams for
prospective members who had graduated elsewhere. Towards the end of the
century, advanced courses were still being taught in the city at the
expense of the Town Council, but they were organized by academics who
were guests in local monasteries.
On 27 November 1726, the General Council of Camerino, seeing an
opportunity to increase its numbers of teachers, asked Pope Benedict
XIII to be allowed to allocate to this end certain civic funds which
were tied to other uses.
On 15 July, the Pope, with the Bull “Liberalium Disciplinarum”
granted the request but required that the courses be organized according
to the curricula of, and with the same ends as, the Papal Universities.
He conferred on institution the title “Universitas Studii
With the rebirth of the university, Camerino blossomed as a university
Yet the records of the past had been lost and no references were made to
the history of the City, nor was the Pontifical concession hailed as a
renewal of the university.
Four faculties were initiated: Theology, Law, Medicine (which awarded
degrees inPhilisophy and Medicine) and Mathematics.
In 1753, a document of Francis I of Hapsburg-Lorraine extended the
recognition of degrees from Camerino to the whole territory of the Holy
Roman Empire and, among other things, conferred the honour of Count
Palatine on the Vice-Chancellor.
A brief description of the university’s following two and a half
centuries of intense and well documented life is difficult. Of major
importance were the early years of the Restoration.
New science laboratories led to increased and improved scientific
In 1870, with the Unification of Italy, Camerino was recognized as a
It mantained this status until 1958 when it became a State university.