The University of Padova was officially founded in 1222, although the city had been a haven of study and research for many years prior to this. In fact, this was the date of the first notarial record indicating a proper organisation of Padua’s university, known as “Studium Patavinum”.
There was no prior authorisation to establish the University of Padova from the medieval powers that be (empire and papacy). It was instead founded thanks to a number of favourable circumstances: on the one hand, many professors and scholars moved here from Bologna and, on the other, the local council proved to be very charitable and supportive. Between 1224 and 1241, scholars and professors came to Padua from all over Europe, especially from German-speaking countries, but also from French, Provençal, English, Spanish, Polish, Czech and Hungarian areas, as well as from various parts of Italy. They came here to find freedom of culture and expression and a hospitable home for their studies. As was the case for the University of Bologna, Padua’s university also had three distinct components at this time: students’ associations, graduate colleges and the registrar.
The development and growth of the University of Padua during this period is also connected to the settlement in the city of the preaching Friars of San Domenico, an order that was particularly open to culture, who settled in the city. Not even the twenty-year dominion of Ezzelino III da Romano (1237-1256) was able to stop the development of this new University. Moreover, his expulsion from the city actually helped the University to flourish even more! The end of the century sees Padua, the last surviving independently governed city of the Veneto region, move towards what is probably the most important and splendid period of its independent history.