Friday, November 27, 2009

Rome's Old La Sapienza University

One big project of Mussolini was to transfer Rome's giant univeristy from here (St. Ivo in downtown Rome) to another neighborhood near Roma Termini (San Lorenzo). 

There he had built on the cheap a quick, modern looking campus.  Nice and modern in the thirties to impress the Germans and others, ghetto and falling apart by the seventies and today just beyond repair.  So beyond repair that today it ought to be changed into a fine Italian hospital or the like. 

The same dictator also changed the name of the University to just La Sapienza "the wisdom" while dropping the reference to the Madonna, or so I heard.   

If they were smart they would transfer the campus back to this original location.  An Italian professor recently complained as we walked by the new campus: "These buildings do not speak of a university.  Go to Constantinople and there you will see a university which is housed in buildings that speak of it being a university." 

Above the main entrance of the old campus these glorious words from Proverbs 1:7 remain in travertine: Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini ("The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom").


  1. Mussolini had nothing to do with changing the name of the Roman university, which was called Studium Urbis. It was changed to "La Sapienza" during the Eighties.

  2. "Studium Urbis" is/was the motto.