9 Top Colleges in Italy for Study Abroad in 2021

Did you know, Italy has been one of the most popular destinations in the world to study in? Well, we will be listing the 9 top colleges in Italy for study abroad in 2021.

Before anything else, Italy is known as the home to the world’s oldest university – the University of Bologna. It has one of the richest cultures in the world.

Also, with its wealth of history, food, beautiful landscapes and institutions that offer top-quality education, and also, with their friendly locales, Italy is sure one of the abroad destinations to experience. There are quite a several study abroad programs in the country available for the locales and international students.

With the great number of time-honoured, creative and innovative universities in the country, it is fast becoming a famed study abroad destination for international students from all around the world. In this article, we will be looking at the top colleges in Italy for study abroad for international students.

Why Study in Italy?

Set in the heart of South-Central Europe, Italy is known for its distinct landscapes, astounding architecture and terrific cuisine. Also, Italy doubles as home to more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country in the world. With its wealth of renaissance art and home to world-famous and prominent musicians.

It is home to the oldest university in the world, and then with about 90 universities which quite a great number of them are publicly funded. There are also specialised postgraduate centres, polytechnics and other academies that all shape the higher education sector of the country.

Italy is rich with universities offering exceptional opportunities for students who are interested in all areas of studies especially humanities, language and business.

These universities offer a great number of programs – much for a country whose every major town has a university; a country rich in cuisine, music and history. A country whose streets and lands the great Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei and Sophia Loren all once walked.

One of the beautiful things about studying in Italy is that you do not only get to study in the college classrooms but also outside as you witness the histories and everything else you are being taught.

9 Top Colleges in Italy for Study Abroad in 2021

Top Colleges in Italy 1: University of Bologna

Founded and established in 1088, the University of Bologna, the first on the list of our top colleges in Italy is believed to be the oldest university in the world. If you are looking to find colleges in Italy rich in history, food and edginess, then the University of Bologna is your best bet.

It has been home to students for hundreds of years. me of the prominent individuals who had their college education here are Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket; the Nobel-winning inventor and engineer Guglielmo Marconi, and Enzo Ferrari and Giorgio Armani, founders of their eponymous brands.

The University is considered one of the most prestigious in the world with its campuses in Bologna, Forli, Cesena, Rimini and Ravenna in Italy. Also, the university has an international campus in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The University birthed the Bologna Process which is a series of agreements between European countries whose aim is to guarantee cooperation and parity between the higher education systems of Europe.

The Bologna city where this university is located is known for its bold and political-minded population. It blends the best of both worlds for international students coming to Italy to study.

It is a relatively big city home to quite a greater number of international students although the university is located in a medieval town in Bologna – the heart of Bologna’s historic centre.

However, if you are looking to study in a city with various attractive sites for tourists and in city with many non-Italian speakers, the University of Bologna is not for you. Aside from the top-quality education, this is one of the top colleges in Italy that can offer you a totally immersive cultural experience.

Top Colleges in Italy 2: The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC)

On our list of the top colleges in Italy is the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC) set in the heart of Milan. Milan is a vibrant city set in northern Italy and famous for its grandeur, the stunning cathedral and its cutting-edge fashion with its young and trendy residents.

The university is the largest university in Europe and courses taught in both English and Italian languages.

It is one of the top colleges in Italy with a much more central and campus feel. This is unlike most other Italian universities which have their campuses spread out in buildings throughout the city.

This college is known for its excellence in the following courses:

  • Law
  • Economic
  • Finance
  • Business programs.

However, this university might not be for you if you are looking to live and study in an environment with a completely immersive Italian experience.

The Università Degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD)

On our list of the top colleges in Italy is the Università Degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD) called “Padua” in English. It was established in 1222 as a school of law and theology by a group of scholars with the aim of pursuing academic freedom.

The university is the second oldest university in Italy. Also, it doubles as the world’s fifth oldest surviving and thriving university and is a perfect fit for students looking to thrive in engineering or the sciences.

This University is also one of the most well known in Italy and all of Europe. It has always been known as a college town with incredible medieval and renaissance architecture.

The Università Degli Studi di Padova is made up of 32 departments and eight schools. It has its broad and multidisciplinary degrees ranging from Information engineering to Cultural heritage and then to Neurosciences. Also, it has a university hospital, 14 halls of residence and a museum and it was home to prominent individuals like Copernicus, Casanova and Tasso.

The city, Padova, where this university is set In a fairly a small city although with large scenic streets, a grand palazzo and vibrant student life. Living in Padova to study is simply asking for a microcosm of student life settled in the hills of northern Italy. Very simple!

Lorenzo de’ Medici — The Italian International Institute in Rome

The Lorenzo de’ Medici (LEM) is one of the top colleges in Italy which provides study abroad programs for international students looking to study arts, history or international affairs.

LdM is set in Rome to offer students the amazing opportunities to be completely immersed in la città eterna—to walk among Roman ruins. Also, the movie sets of iconic Italian films at the time Italy’s cinema was at its climax. Also, to offers these students the opportunity to be one of its locals and not just tourists.

Unlike most colleges in Italy, this university is similar to American or British classes. That is, classes with fewer cultural shocks and struggle for students who are more immersed in learning the materials.

However, studying in this city won’t offer you the full Italian cultural immersive experience if that’s what you’re looking for. Although you will mostly be surrounded by international students which we think is after all a great way to help you broaden your worldview, however, you won’t get the complete Italian perspective.

Florence University of the Arts (FUA)

The Florence University of the Arts (FUA) is one of the largest and most outstanding cities of art in the world. It is one of our top colleges in Italy to study abroad.

If you are coming to Italy for art, music, food and life, then this university is the perfect fit for you. Studying here goes way beyond visiting museums, listening to singers on the street and eating. The university allows you to study about anything you are most passionate about – just whatever it is.

Here, you won’t only get to learn about the arts but also completely immerse yourself in it. This is because this university bursts with culture and history.

However, this city has a lot of tourists and as a result, is a very busy and populated destination. This also means that you get to be surrounded by international travellers and not by most Italians if that has always been your dream.

Top Colleges in Italy 6: University of Verona

Verona is famous for the tale of Romeo and Juliet. It is still considered to be in the city of love where the spirit of theatre and art still lives. Also, the university has since the past three years been ranked the first on the list of the best public colleges in Italy.

This is one of the top colleges in Italy offering endless opportunities to international students for study and cultural explorations.

If you are looking to relinquish on your romantic side and as much experience the romance and beauty of Verona, then the University of Verona should be the best fit for you. It is specifically known for its endless arts and humanities programs. Also, they offer programs on history and the sciences.

If you are a lover of romantic scenes and would fancy a renaissance-lover’s playground with gorgeous palaces set against a backdrop of rolling hills, and with a vibrant arts scene abound.

However, just like most other Italian cities, Verona is touristy. It is one of the most toured cities in the country. Unless you do not care for a busy city, you may have to deal with a constant invasion, however peaceful, of tourists.

Top Colleges in Italy 7: Sapienza University of Rome

Established in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII, the Sapienza University of Rome is considered the oldest university in Rome. Also, it sits as the first university in Italy in the Academic Reputation category to attract over 1500 international students every year.

It is popular for its historical library, its 18 museums and the school of Aerospace engineering.

Ranked 217th in the world, the university is one of the top colleges in Italy as well as one of the largest European universities. It is with a big student population of over 112,000 students, over 8,000 of which are international students. And it has over 4,000 academic staff.

The University offers 280-degree programmes and 200 specialist courses across 63 departments with 50 libraries open and available for student use.

The University has amongst its alumni and faculty members Nobel prize winners one of who is the particle physicist and inventor Carlo Rubbia. It has also been home to notable historical figures and significant individuals in Italian politics.

This University is big on classic and ancient history as well as archaeology. Also, it has notable contributions in biomedical sciences, humanities, natural sciences and engineering.

Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa

Another one of the top colleges in Italy, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa, is a public university focusing on applied sciences.

It is one of the colleges in Italy offering degrees in the following fields:

  • Political sciences
  • Business sciences
  • Legal sciences
  • Economic sciences
  • Medical sciences
  • Agricultural sciences
  • Information engineering
  • Industrial engineering.

However, getting into this school requires a harsh entrance examination. This could be a great benefit if the participants are able to attain high marks and prove language proficiency in two popular languages. This could qualify a student to study for free.

If you are economically challenged and looking to study in one of the top colleges in Italy but is academically talented, you should give this your best shot.

This college accepts fewer than a thousand students. This means that it is competitive and you could actually be one of them because you can!

Politecnico di Milano (PoliMi)

Another one of our top colleges in Italy, Politecnico di Milano also known as the Polytechnic University of Milan, is Italy’s largest technical university. It is primarily focused on engineering, architecture and design.

From a recent QS World University Ranking in 2020, the university is on the 20th in Engineering and Technology. Also, it ranked 9th for Civil and structural engineering. And also, 9th for Mechanical aerospace engineering. And finally, 7th for architecture and 6th for arts and design.

The university has always placed importance and experimental research and technological transfer for a more creative and productive world. It cooperates with prominent European institutions and has expanded into countries from North America to Southeast Asia.

Also, the university participates in global scientific researches with more than 2000 patients and 700 inventions.


Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

The Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa established in 1810 by Napoleon, is an integral part of the Pisa University system together with the University of Pisa and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies. It was founded as a branch of the École Normale Supéieure in Paris. And it was aimed at training teachers in the empire and thereafter, its citizens.

The first university to a PhD program all the way back in 1927 was the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and it’s the reason it is on our list of the top colleges in Italy.

The University provides programmes for students in humanities, mathematical and natural sciences, political and social sciences and in the science field. However, the admission process is similar to that of Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa. It has a tough entrance examination. However, students who are able to attain high scores and get accepted won’t to pay tuition fees in the school.

Preparing to Apply to Top Colleges in Italy

Before you begin on your applications to top colleges in Italy, you will need to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements for applications.
Also, you will need to check through the websites of the colleges in Italy – of your choice, for more detailed information on things like tuition fees and living costs in the cities to ascertain if they are what you can afford.

If you can, then do well to contact the colleges of your interests and request a prior assessment. That’ll help you confirm if or not you are eligible to apply. And if you do, you will be required to submit a pre-application request to the Italian embassy or consulate in your .

This office then submits your application and documents to the Italian higher education institution you are applying to. ally, at the end of August, the Italian embassy publishes the list of admitted students for the admission session.

To help make the application easy for you, we have a listed a few things you should know:

The language requirements for applications to top colleges in Italy:

Universities in Italy provide study programmes taught in both English and Italian languages. However, most of the English programmes are only available at the postgraduate academic level.

At some of the universities, you may be provided with the opportunity to be able to apply for degrees taught in Italy but have the assignments taken and done in the English language.

Below are the language tests accepted by top colleges in Italy:

Italian language tests include:

  • CILS
  • CELI

English language tests include:

  • IELTS Academic
  • PTE Academic
  • C1 Advanced

The Required University Application Documents:

  • Identity document
  • Passport type photograph
  • Academic transcript
  • University application form
  • Detailed study programmes/course description.

Note: your detailed study programmes or course descriptions must have the number of hours of the courses that you have completed. This should be according to your academic curriculum.

And then the list continues:

  • Your CV
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Letter of motivation
  • Language proficiency (English or Italian)
  • Portfolio (only for applicants to architecture, urban planning, or any design programme)
  • Official score SAT or ACT

Steps to Follow After Receiving your Acceptance Letter

You have made all the big decisions – from choosing institutions, degrees, to writing an excellent application and submitting it. Bravo! Now, here are more steps to follow after the application process:

  • Apply for a student visa – this is for students that come from non-EU/EEA countries.
  • Apply for a residence permit by registering with the local police (Questura). You are required to do this within eight working days of your arrival in Italy.
  • Ready a health insurance plan that covers not less than 30,000 EUR. EU citizens holding a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) have access to the same range of medical services as the Italian citizens. Both EU (without an EHIC) and non-EU citizens can either pay for a health insurance policy from their country before they come into Italy or, they can obtain one almost immediately after their arrival. Also, they can subscribe to the Italian National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale – S.S.N.).
  • Students are required to officially enrol in the university after arriving in Italy, if not, they cannot start their classes.

Here are Fast Facts you Need to Know as you Plan to Apply to Top Colleges in Italy

  • Official name: Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana)
  • Capital: Rome (Roma), nickname “The Eternal City”
  • Europe’s third-largest economy, eighth largest in the world
  • 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country
  • Official language: Italian. Other recognized linguistic groups have co-official status including French, German, Ladin and Slovene
  • Living expenses costs: €12,000 (~US$13,500) per year
  • International undergraduate tuition fees: from €900 (~US$1,000) per year
  • Italy has numerous islands, and the mainland is famously shaped like a boot
  • There are two independent states within Italy, both enclaves: the Republic of San Marino and Vatican City.
  • Italy has the only active volcano in mainland Europe: Mount Vesuvius. Of Italy’s 14 volcanoes, three others are active: Mount Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano.


Did you ever think that finding the top colleges in Italy could be this easy? Well, we have made it. And we hope you can find the college that catches your interest.

We wish you the best!


Can international students work in Italy while studying?

Yes, international students and holders of a residence permit for study can work while they study in colleges in Italy. However, their job should not go over 20 hours per week and a total of 104 hours per year.

Also, non-EU students will need a work permit to work in Italy. To obtain this permit, they must have job offers from Italian companies or employees.

Can international students stay in Italy after graduation?

Yes, international students can stay in Italy after graduation. However, if you are one, you may need to apply for a residence permit for work.

What are the university application deadlines for top colleges in Italy?

Mid-April to mid-May: contact the Italian embassy/consulate to receive a Letter of Academic Eligibility and Suitability (Dichiarazione di Valoro in Loco).

However, deadlines for applications may vary according to each institution. We will recommend you check the website of the college you are applying to for more details.

Articles: 144

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *