Gateway to International Education


About Italy

Facts and Figure
Original name
from the "Italy" population living in the present-day Calabria (the tip of the Italian peninsula) in the first millennium BC.
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Area: 301.260 square kilometers, 125.470 square kilometers of which are hills and mountains.

Regions: 20 regions, five of which with special autonomy status.

Capital city: Rome.

Major cities: Milan, Rome, Turin and Naples.

Population: about 57 million inhabitants. Italy has the third largest European population with the majority living in the North of the country.

Ethnic composition: Italian (includes small cluster of German, French and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian–Italians and Greek-Italians in the South).

Official language: Italian.

Other languages spoken: German (parts of the Trenton-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking); French (small French speaking minority in Valle d’Aosta region) and Slovene in the Trieste-Gorizia area.

Religions: 84% Roman Catholic; 16% other including Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant.

Education and Literacy: education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 154. The adult literacy rate is 97 %.

Labour force: 24.000.000 of which services account for 60%, industry and commerce 33%. Unemployment is currently around 11%.

Government: a parliamentary republic; the head of state is the president.

On the map Italy looks like a boot stretching from Europe into the Mediterranean sea and this accounts for the variation in climate from North to South and according to altitude.

The Northern part of Italy has hot summers and cold winter, although the temperature rarely drops below freezing during the daytime. The South enjoys mild winters and long, dry, hot Summers. Mountain areas such as the Alps and the Apennines have long, cold winters long and short, cool summers.

Italian Lifestyle
Italians are warm, welcoming people who love to relax, celebrate and socialise with family and friends. And celebration and relaxation usually take place around the table either at home or in a restaurant, where they can enjoy the traditions of the Italian cuisine. Italians have a passion for eating but also for talking.

In Italy conversation is an art form. As you walk in the streets or stop at a café in one of the many squares, you will notice Italians of all ages engaged in intense and animated discussions on a wide variety of topics ranging from family, work, politics, gossip, food, wine and sports, especially soccer.

To the real Italian, lunch is a 1 to 2 hour affair with traditionally a two to three course meal, which explains why most things halt for two hours during the day. Stores shut down, banks close, and the streets are empty. At around 2 o’clock people start to emerge from their houses and populate the streets again until around 19.30 when it is time for dinner.

After dinner, the streets come to life again as Italians stroll around the piazza to work off their meal or head off for their evening engagements.
International Community
Up until the 1960’s Italians were still emigrating to other parts of the world and there was no influx of other nationalities into Italy.

This situation has since changed and in the last decades there has been a steady influx of people from different countries outside Europe seeking employment in Italy.

This phenomenon is particularly apparent in the larger towns where these communities have sought employment or have set up ethnic shops and restaurants, offering alternatives to Italian food.

The main religion in Italy is Roman Catholic and the Vatican City, the seat of the Catholic Church, is in Rome. There are other minor religious communities present and some of these such as the Islamic community have been growing in recent years with the arrival of immigrant workers mainly from North Africa and the Middle East.
Travelling to Italy
There are flights from major cities in Europe and the world arriving in the main international airports of Rome or Milan every day, either directly or through other European hubs such as London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris.

Many other Italian airports such as Bologna, Florence or Naples link directly to European cities and all Italian airports are linked to Rome and Milan, so it is easy to make connections to other destinations in the country.

Many budget airlines now fly into a number of Italian airports so check these out on the Internet when making your travel plans. You may also choose to come to Italy by rail or coach and there are frequent day and night services from a wide range of European cities.

Another option may be to come by car and there is an extensive motorway network from the North to the South of Italy.

General safety rules
These rules are common sense rules which probably apply in your country too. There are obviously greater risks in large towns but it is always best to exercise caution everywhere.
Pickpockets and thieves
Use common sense – as everywhere, there is small time theft, especially in the cities. Pickpockets and thieves specifically target unwary foreigners.
So follow these basic rules

Watch your personal possessions - especially on public transport, in crowds or at markets.

Don’t leave bags or jackets unattended - especially in pubs, cinemas, fast food restaurants.

Don’t carry valuables or wear expensive looking jewellery.

Keep wallet and purse out of sight.

Keep your handbag securely closed.

Don’t keep your passport money and credit cards etc together.

Take special care in and around the stations and on public transport especially the metro.

If alone, avoid stations, parks and areas you do not know.

If you are travelling by car:

Avoid parking in unlit back streets and areas around stations.

Never leave any valuables or luggage visible in cars

Why Italy?
Italy has played an important role in European higher education: it is one of the four countries that first engaged to create the so-called "European Area of Higher Education" (Sorbonne Declaration, May 1998), thus starting that type of higher education reform which, known as "Bologna Process" (Bologna Declaration, June 1999) is being implemented all over Europe.
Today Italy ranks among the 8 most industrialized countries in the world. Alongside some big companies, both state-owned and private, it has developed a sound network of small and medium-sized undertakings, promoted a few scientific parks, and is incentivizing basic and applied research in a great variety of fields (Biology, ICT, Medicine, Physics, etc.).

Higher Education Institutions in Italy:
Typologies and Lists

The Italian Higher Education System

  • Italian higher education is structured in a binary system, consisting of two main articulations:
    • The university sector.
    • The non-university sector.
  • At present, the university sector is made up of 89 university institutions which are classified in:
  • 58 State universities.
  • 17 non-State universities (legally recognized by the State).
  • 2 Universities for foreigners.
  • 6 Higher schools specialized in postgraduate university studies.
  • 6 Telemetric universities.
  • Higher schools of design: polytechnics for the arts, academies of fine arts, higher institutes for applied arts, music conservatories and recognized music institutes, higher institutes for musical and choreographic studies, national academies.
  • Higher education in language mediation: higher schools for language mediators.
  • Higher integrated education (FIS): programmes of higher technical education & training (IFTS)
  • A few specific fields (e.g. archiving, diploma tics, restoration, military studies, etc.) which, along withtheir respective institutions, fall under the supervision of ministries other than that of Education.
  • The non-university sector includes 4 education typologies with their institutions:

Practical information
Academic Calendar

The academic year in Italy is made up of two semesters. The first semester starts in September/October and ends in January/February. The second semester starts in February and ends in July. The actual start and finish dates will vary in the different universities but each semester lasts around 20 weeks and is made up of a teaching period lasting around 14 weeks and an exam period lasting around 6 weeks.

Teaching and learning
Most teaching still takes place in large lecture halls but this will depend very much on the single course of study. Students are also expected to carry out a considerable amount of self study outside the classroom in order to prepare for exams.

Exams are held after the teaching period and are mainly oral exams although some courses will have written tests taking place during the semester or before the oral exam. Each exam will have a number of dates offered during the exam period and students can choose which date they wish to take the exam. They are also entitled to turn down a mark and take the exam again if they are not satisfied with the result. Rules apply as to how often a student can take an exam within an examination period.
Grading systems
Examinations are graded according to a scale ranging from 0 to 30, with 18 as a pass mark. A "cum laude" may be added to the highest grade (30; 30 e lode) as a mention of special distinction.

All examination results are used to calculate the overall degree mark on a scale of 0 – 110. The final result is based on exam results plus the presentation of a project or dissertation in front of a Board of Examiners. The pass mark is 66 and students who obtain full marks of 110 may also be awarded ‘summa cum laude’ (110 e lode).

Definitions and characteristics of higher education institutions: university sector
State Universities (Università statali)
State universities are public entities endowed with scientific, teaching, managerial, financial and book-keeping autonomy; they have full legal capacity in matters of both public and private law. Their major tasks are scientific research and higher education. Due to the principle of university autonomy, each university may draw up its own statutes and regulations, issued by rectoral decrees.

At this implementation stage of the 1999 reform, all universities have adopted their autonomous statutes which define the organs for institutional governance, and teaching and research structures. The main governing authorities within a university are the Rector, the Academic Senate, the Board of Directors.

Through the faculties universities organise their action in the various subject areas. Faculties coordinate subject courses and arrange them within the different degree programmes; they appoint academic staff and decide -always respectful of the principle of teaching freedom- how to distribute roles and workload among university teachers and researchers. The Faculty is run by the Faculty Council and the Dean.
Service centres may be set up by individual Faculties or by the university itself to provide services of general interest. For the achievement of common research or teaching purposes, a university may establish interuniversity centres or consortia with other universities or with public and private organisations. Interdepartmental research centres and interdepartmental service centres may also be set up; the first to carry out research work of special relevance, the second to fully exploit particularly complex services and equipment.

Taken for granted the unity of the teaching function, university teachers are organised in two different categories sharing the same guarantees of teaching and research freedom:

  1. Full professors (first category)
  2. Associate professors (second category).

The following profiles are also a part of the teaching staff:

  1. Researchers
  2. Assistants (a category in extinction) and a few similar categories.

Besides, a university may call to cooperate to its teaching activities the so-called:

  1. Contract teachers.

At the university structures the holders of research stipends and post-doctoral fellowships carry out research, while postgraduates enrolled in doctoral programmes or in specialization schools attend seminars and/or subject courses and carry out research as well.
Non-State Universities (Università non statali, legalmente riconosciute)
Non-State universities may be recognized by a decree of the Minister of Education. Legal recognition takes place after an evaluation process concerning the university statute, its organization model, budget, etc. The degrees awarded by non-State universities legally recognized by the State have the same legal value as those of State universities. Non-State universities have to comply with the same general principles and criteria as defined by the national university legislation for State institutions. The differences between State and non-State universities concern funding and governance.

Technical Universities (Politecnici)
In the Italian system those universities are named "Politecnici" (techincal universities) that concentrate exclusively in the subject fields of the two Faculties of Engineering and Architecture. They adopt the same institutional model as that of State universities.

Universities for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri)
Universities for foreigners are State institutions specialised in teaching and research for the development and diffusion of the Italian language, literature and culture.

Telematic Universities (Università telematiche)
Telematic universities are non-State universities specialised in e-learning. They, when legally recognised, provide distance programmes accredited by the State.

Definitions and characteristics of higher education institutions: non-university sector

Academies of Fine Arts (Accademie di Belle Arti)
The main purpose of academies of fine arts is to provide education and training for the practice of artistic professions. They offer the highest level of traditional art education under State supervision. Engaged in education, specialisation and research in the artisitc sector, academies also carry out related production activities. They are endowed with juridical personality and enjoy full autonomy (statutory, teaching, scientific, administrative, financial and book-keeping). They set up and run 1st level programmes (admission by school leaving qualification and entrance exam) as well as advanced and specialisation courses, on completion of which they award specific academic diplomas at 1st and 2nd level as well as diplomas of advanced or specialization studies, or of training to research in artistic fields. The 5 great subject areas

The 5 great subject areas covering the whole of university education are:
Health, Humanities, Sciences, Social Studies, Technology. Each area is subdivided in the following main subject sectors:

  1. Health: Dentistry, pharmacy, human medicine & surgery, midwifery, nursing, physic-and-rehabilitation therapy, preventive care, technical sanitary assistance.
  2. Humanities: Arts (performing, visual, fashion, music), cultural heritage, education, geography, history; Italian and classical/oriental studies, language mediation (applied foreign languages, interpreting, translating), modern languages and cultures (glottology, linguistics, literature, philology, etc.).
  3. Sciences: Agriculture, animal production & husbandry, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, environmental sciences, food industry & forestry, math’s, natural sciences, physics, statistics, etc.
  4. Social Studies: Administration, business, communication, cooperation & development, defense & security, economics, law, physical education & sports, psychology, political science and international relations, social service & sociology, tourism.
  5. Technology: Architecture & building engineering, design (industrial), engineering (civil, industrial, information), regional & environmental planning, urban planning, etc.

Some facilities and financial support are offered to those who otherwise would be without the necessary means. Candidates must give proof of possessing adequate merit.

The benefits consist in:

  • Grants, both ordinary and special.
  • Grants for research work towards dissertations and final degree projects.
  • Grants to encourage post-graduate studies.

Part-time jobs
Universities generally offer their students a maximum of 150 hours/each in part time rewarded activities. Students who are regularly enrolled and have passed the examinations required each year can apply for these part time jobs. Students who have not received the E.DI.SU. grants have priority.

Counseling and Tutoring Service
Universities promote a series of initiatives to help students, by providing them with information: on degree courses, other teaching/learning opportunities, and job placement, etc. This service is related to the three phases of the student's career:

  • Counseling on entry;
  • Counseling during the study course;
  • Counseling on outgoing to help transition to the labour market.

Job, stage and placement
Job, stage and placement offices of higher education institutions facilitate contacts among companies/job opportunities on the one side and students on the other, both during their study course and on leaving.
Student Visa Requirements

Documents Required:

  1. Application form fully completed and signed by applicant.
  2. Two recent passport-size photographs (white background).
  3. Passport/Travel Document must:
    • Have been issued within the previous 10 years.
    • At least have a validity of 3 months after intended stay.
    • Have 2 Blank Pages.
  4. Overseas medical insurance with minimum coverage of Euro 30,000-with the inclusion of a repatriation flight, if required (Photocopy)
  5. One set photocopy of applicant’s Passport.
  6. Declaration of Value of the applicant’s educational certificates duly legalized by the Consular officer of this Embassy. The local Institution or School should advise this Embassy directly in case it is not required.
  7. Education Certificates duly Apostilled by Ministry of External Affairs.
  8. Acceptance of enrolment by the Italian School or Institution, stating the duration of course.
  9. Receipt of full payment of Tuition fees.
  10. Documentation regarding the applicant’s economic status:
    1. Bank Statement of applicant or family.
    2. Proof of scholarship.
    3. Bank Loan.

Adequate financial guarantees regarding the means of sustenance (Boarding and Lodging).

In case applicant is minor, affidavit from both parents/legal guardians stating consent of minor traveling to Italy for study reasons and declaring their will to entrust the minor to the care of boarding institution or relative residing in Italy where he/she is supposed to stay.

(For visa requested more than 90 days)The applicant has to submit his/her original (not scanned) admission letter stapled with the passport. At the time of collection of the passport applicant has to make sure that the admission letter or the declaration letter by the university is duly stamped by the Embassy.

Undertaking by the school that the applicant will not work in Italy during the validity of study visa.

VISA Fee- INR 5225:

Other fee from embassy can be checked from link below:  

NOTE: This Embassy reserves the right to ask for a Personal Interview or Additional Documents

Processing Time

Embassy of Italy in New Delhi  


50 E, Chandragupta Marg Chanakyapuri  
110021 New Delhi  India  
Tel: +91-11-26114355 
Fax: +91-11-2687-3889  
Telex: 0081-3172489
Website URL:

For Nepal:

Embassy of Italy in Kolkata Consulate of Italy


3, Raja Santosh Road  
700027 Calcutta India  
Tel: +91-33-24792414 
Fax: +91-33-24793892