Historical mentions on the University and on High Schools of Sassari
Università degli studi di Sassari
During the fifteenth century Sardinia was dominated by Spain and the Sardinian
students who wanted to go to university had to travel to Italy or to Spain.
The birth of the University of Sassari is linked to the figure of Alessio Fontana who
left all his belongings to the municipality for the creation of a Faculty of studies.
In 1551 the Jesuits obtained from the pope the right to graduate in Philosophy and
Theology the lay-students who would follow their courses.
In 1617 Philippe III of Spain granted the status of Royal University to the Jesuits'
College for what regarded the academic degrees in Arts and Theology. This privilege was later
granted for the degrees in Medicine and in Law en 1632. There were then six hundred or seven
hundred university students.
In 1765 the University was later reformed on the model of the Piemontese University
but it kept the 4 faculties of Philosophy and Arts, Theology, Law and Medicine. By and by,
other departments were added.
The faculty departments of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences were born in
Sassari in 1953 with only the course in Biology. En 1970 and in 1971 came the courses in
Natural Sciences and in Chemistry.In 1994 began the course in Environmental Sciences with
its decentred department in Nuoro.
The instruments that can be found in the faculty of Maths and Physics comes from the
University of Philosophy and Arts.
Liceo Classico "Domenico Alberto Azuni"
The Liceo Classico was born in 1852, after the revolution of 1848 had put an end to
the old Church domination over school teaching.
In 1861, after the unity of Italy, it became the Regio Liceo Classico and in 1865 it
was named from Domenico Alberto , famous lawyer of Sassari.
In 1933 the Liceo moved to its present place, in Rolando Str. The building has a real
historical -cultural value as the walls of the large meeting hall show paintings by Mario
For many years the Liceo Azuni was attended by young people coming from the North and
centre of Sardinia and still today, thanks to its prestige and history it attracts students
not only from the neighbourhood of Sassari but from farther towns like Santa Teresa,
Valledoria, Oschiri e Mores.
Many students of this Liceo have become important personages in the history of Sardinia
and not only. Two presidents of the Italian Republic: A. Segni and F.Cossiga, two chairmen of
the Italian Communist party: P. Togliatti and E. Berlinguer, many M. Ps, intellectuals like
Attilio Deffenu, Gamillo Bellieni, painters like Filippo Figari and Giuseppe Biasi, writers
like Sebastiano Satta, Salvatore Ruiu, Salvatore Mannuzzu and Gavino Ledda have studied in
Liceo Scientifico "Giovanni Spano"
The Liceo Scientifico was born in Sassari according to a Royal Law in 1923 (following
Gentile's reform of the Public Education in Italy).
The newspaper "La Nuova Sardegna" explained the motivation for the creation of a new
type of secondary school in these terms: "to help young people face the scientific university
exams that they would not be able to sit, given the isolation of the region and the distance
that divides it from schools of the same type on the continent."
As the law allowed the creation of only one scientific High School in each province,
the Liceo Spano remained for 50 years the only possibility for this kind of studies in the
province of Sassari, the largest province in Italy.
It offered a four-year course and in the year of its creation any student with the
right qualifications from the Liceo Classico and the Technical Institute could register.
The Liceo Spano took the place of the physics-mathematics section in the Tecnical
Institute (suppressed by Gentile) and tried, in a rather confused way, some kind of compromise
between classical studies and scientific ones. Its basic aim was to prepare the students who
intended to attend the universities of sciences or medicine.
As regards the Physics laboratory in 1928 there was the purchase of 45 apparatus from
Paravia for a sum of 15055,50 liras. Three years later other 260 instruments were bought from
the Galileo Officine for a total cost of 89150, 90 liras.
Most of this apparatus is still present and in good state.
Until 1963 there were some small purchases, then, in that year, a more important number
of instruments was bought and since then the purchases have been rather regular.
Istituto Magistrale "Margherita di Castelvì"
On Dec 15, 1860 a teachers’ training school was opened in Sassari, in Pittalis
house, in Arborea Str. It offered a 3 year-course for the preparation of elementary
In 1889 the school was transferred to Santa Chiara Str. and in 1923 it became the
Istituto Magistrale, with a 4 year-course because of Gentile’s reform. It was then that it
was given the name of the lady Margherita di Castelvì, a noblewoman and benefactress of the
city, who died in 1639.
In 1938 the school was so ruined and its neighbourhood had become so squalid and
ill-famed that the mayor ordered the destruction of all the area. In 1952 the school found
at last its present place in Manno Str, in a much larger building with a great meeting-hall,
a gym and a library.
The first purchase note for apparatus of Physics that has been found dates from 1886
(April 12) for 12 objects regarding the teaching of Physics. The cost was 13,35 liras.
A week later there was another purchase note for the acquisition of 59 instruments from
the Galileo Officine at the cost of 427 liras. The note points out that the list and
description of the apparatus are in a joined letter (not to be found).
In the 1924 inventory 201 instruments are listed for a total value of 2391 liras.
Most of this apparatus is not present anymore.
Istituto Tecnico Agrario "N. Pellegrini"
The history of the Istituto "Niccolò Pellegrini" is long and prestigious: it was born
in October 1894. In 1995 has been celebrated the centenary of the foundation. It has been the
occasion for the balance of an activity during a century.
A long way has been travelled in this lapse of time. Today the Istituto appears as a
modern and functional complex which includes scholastic building, of a building where the
boarding premises are and the farm, that cover a surface of 30 hectares.
The building has 20 schools- room, 5 laboratories, 7 special classrooms, 2 projection
halls, the gymnasium, the office and the head-master’s office.
The boarding premises, recently restored, have some historical and architectonic
value. It was the siege of the school when, at the beginning, it was called “Practical school
of agriculture”. Today boards 60 male pupils who live in rooms for 2-3 persons. It has three
reading rooms, a dining-room and a kitchen, an infirmary, a recreation room with games and
The farm, born with the Istituto, it is divided into different parts:
a greenhouse where species produced in the laboratory of meristematic are grouped; a orchard; an olive-grove;
a vegetable garden a vineyard.