The 16th century

At the beginning of the 16th century, many of the activities carried out by the University of Padova were suspended. In fact, the Cambrai war (lasting from 1508 to 1516) transformed Padua from a ‘city of study’ into a ‘city of weapons’, owing to its important strategic and logistic role in defending and reconquering the mainland from the Venetians. However, from 1530 onwards, the number of scholars in the city began to increase again, as did the university’s funding (in 1542, the Venetian chancellors estimated that there were around 1,300 students in Padua). By 1538, the university was able to offer approximately sixty professorships. After these initial difficult years, the 16th century became a “golden” era for the University, contributing to transforming the city of Padua into a centre for scientific renaissance. This was also the century when the university acquired its main seat, Palazzo Bo (Hospitium Bovis), which was definitively purchased in 1539.
Although the university seemed to recover well from the post-war crisis, it recorded a drastic decline in student power in the second half of the century. Following violent unrest in 1560, the Senate decided to definitively deprive students of the possibility to choose their professors, therefore removing any dependency of professors on the students.
The 16th century was also characterised by a number of important initiatives that contributed to reaffirming the University of Padova as the most advanced centre for scientific research and in terms of its facilities. In fact, the world’s first botanical garden was opened here in 1545 and, in 1595, the world’s oldest Anatomy Theatre was built.
The Republic continued to ‘protect’ the university, alongside the existence of ‘Patavina libertas’, which is still guaranteed today to some extent. This status quo meant that the century of the Counter-Reformation, which also involved the University of Padova and its students, came to an end with substantial stability at the turn of the 17th century.

1501

Niccolò Copernico

Niccolò Copernico

Niccolò Copernico studied medicine at the University of Padova

1508-1516

THE SIEGE OF PADUA

The siege of Padua was one of the biggest battles at the start of the Cambrai League war , after which the city wall was built that can still partly be seen today

1537

ANDREA VESALIO AND HIS “DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA

ANDREA VESALIO AND HIS “DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA

Andrea Vesalio was awarded a doctorate in medicine by the University of Padova. Shortly afterwards, he was appointed a professor of surgery at the university and taught anatomy, going on to publish his “De humani corporis fabrica” in 1542

1539

THE HOSPITIUM BOVIS BECAME THE SEAT OF THE UNIVERSITY

THE HOSPITIUM BOVIS BECAME THE SEAT OF THE UNIVERSITY

The University of Padova definitively became the owner of the Hospitium Bovis guest house which it had been using since the end of the XV century

1542

THE JESUIT COLLEGE IN PADUA

The Jesuits opened a college in Padua which later became a non-university institution

1545

BOTANICAL GARDEN FOUNDED

BOTANICAL GARDEN FOUNDED

The world’s oldest botanical garden was founded

1551

Gabriele Falloppio

Gabriele Falloppio

Gabriele Falloppio or Falloppia taught anatomy, surgery and botany in Padua.

1559

Girolamo Fabrici d’Acquapendente

Girolamo Fabrici d’Acquapendente

Girolamo Fabrici d’Acquapendente was awarded a doctorate in medicine from the University of Padova and went on to hold the surgery and anatomy professorship here

1560

Torquato Tasso

Torquato Tasso

Torquato Tasso enrolled with the University of Padova where he studied for two years.

1565

THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

Anyone who wished to graduate from one of the sacred colleges had to profess their faith

1590

Cesare Cremonini

Cesare Cremonini

The Aristotelian philosopher, Cesare Cremonini, who stood trial at the Roman Inquisition, taught natural philosophy in Padua; he later disputed the theories of Galileo

1592

GALILEO GALILEI ARRIVED TO PADUA

Galileo Galilei began teaching at the University of Padova

1595

ANATOMY THEATRE COMPLETED

ANATOMY THEATRE COMPLETED

The Anatomy Theatre was completed: the world’s first example of a permanent structure created to teach anatomy through the dissection of corpses