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HISTORICAL-ARTISTIC OUTLINE

The complex of S. Maria in Gradi was for several centuries a Dominican convent. Built in 1244 at the behest of Raniero Capocci, a papal notary from Viterbo, it was recovered after major restoration works carried out by the University of Tuscia starting in 1996. The complex is still impressive and rich in historical and artistic heritage. Among these, particular importance is represented by a cloister dating back to the mid-thirteenth century, in which the original decorative apparatus is still readable in its entirety: five pentafore with small arches on each side, which insist on twin columns in marble, 160 overall. Each pillar has a beautiful lion-head gargoyle which, even today lacking the original function of draining rainwater, constitutes a significant decorative element. At the center there is a well from 1557 (the date is engraved on the entablature), resting on a base made up of tombstones of recovery from the ancient church of S. Maria in Gradi.

 

In front of a cloister that remained almost intact for more than eight centuries, there is a second one, built in 1306, but remodeled several times, which today has severe seventeenth-century forms. In the center, in this case, stands a fountain, built in 1480; classic in its layout, but characterized by an original octagonal "enclosure" surmounted by a classicistic entablature of Renaissance spirit.

altThe whole complex has its fulcrum in what remains of the imposing church of S. Maria in Gradi, founded in the second half of the thirteenth century. The place name suggests that the church was characterized from the outset by an entrance stairway ("ad gradus"). Modified at the end of the fifteenth century and then radically rebuilt in the mid-eighteenth century, by the Roman architect Nicola Salvi, also author of the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome, it suffered obvious damage attributable to the bombing, the collapse of the roof following the heavy snowfall of winter of 1956 and to the state of abandonment during the period in which the whole complex was converted into a prison (1873-1993).

 

 

Viterbo headquarters of the University of Tuscia:

 

The choice of Viterbo as the seat of the University does not fall by chance but is closely connected to the history and cultural traditions of the city and partly to the history of the complex of S. Maria in Gradi. In fact, it seems that already in the middle of the 13th century there were itinerant schools in Viterbo, where the disciplines of trivium and quadrivium were taught. In the year 1546 a "Studium" was founded by Pope Paul III Farnese. This School, which established the chairs of logic, philosophy, jurisprudence and medicine, was based in the Palazzo dei Priori and worked, albeit with some brief interruptions, until 1581.

Later, in the early 19th century, a university-level medical-surgical school was established in Viterbo, also including a professorship in physics and chemistry. alt The university clinic was located at the Ospedale Grande degli Infermi and worked until 1853 when, following the "Quod divina sapientia" of Leo XIII which reorganized the Papal States, it was suppressed. In more recent times, in 1969, the Free University of Tuscia was established -with the Faculties of Magisterium, of Economics and Commerce and Political Sciences- and suppressed in 1979. Repeated attempts by citizenship to make Viterbo the seat of a University became successful with the creation of the Tuscia State University, established by law n. 122 of 3 April 1979.

 

 

These are the faculties established and activated in the period 1980-2002:

 

1980 - Faculty of Agriculture (DPR 1 July 1980, No. 549, Official Journal No. 254 of 16 September 1980);

1983 - Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures - European address (Presidential Decree 17 May 1983, No. 311; Official Journal No. 182 of 5 July 1983);

1987 - Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences (DPR 25th July 1987; G.U. n. 267 of 14th November 1987);

1990 - Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage (Presidential Decree 15 July 198; Official Journal No. 304 of 31 December 1987);

1991 - Faculty of Economics and Commerce (Rector's Decree No. 3102 of June 21, 1989; G.U. No. 255 of October 31, 1989);

2002 - Faculty of Political Sciences (Rector's Decree No. 20/2002 of January 8, 2002 pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 25/1998).

 

altIn addition, the Faculties of Agriculture, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences and Conservation of Cultural Heritage have had their headquarters in Riello, while the offices of the Faculties of Economics and Political Sciences have been, respectively, the former Convent Santa Maria del Paradiso and the San Carlo complex. alt In implementation of the Law of December 30th 2010 n. 240 (the so-called Gelmini law), from June 18th 2011 the functions relating to the proposal of the educational offer as well as the organization and management of the teaching were transferred from the Faculties to the Departments. The Faculties have maintained until October 31, 2011 the only skills necessary to ensure the regular completion of the teaching courses of the 2010-2011 academic year, the performance of the exams and graduation exams up to the autumn session of the same academic year.

 

 

These are the departments set up and activated at the University:

  • Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (DAFNE)

Location: Largo of the University (Riello) - Viterbo

Contacts: 0761-357544; dafne@unitus.it

  • Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences (DEB)

Location: Largo of the University (Riello) - Viterbo

Contacts: 0761-357109; deb@unitus.it

  • Department of Economics, Engineering, Society and Enterprise (DEIM)

Location: Via del Paradiso, 47 - Viterbo

Contacts: 0761-357716; deim@unitus.it

  • Department for Innovation in Biological, Agri-food and Forestry Systems (DIBAF)

Location: Largo of the University (Riello) - Viterbo

Contacts: 0761-357583; dibaf@unitus.it

  • Department of Linguistic-Literary, Historical-Philosophical and Legal Studies (DISTU)

  Location: Via San Carlo, 32 - Viterbo

  Contacts: tel. 0761-357881; distu@unitus.it 

  • Department of Humanities, Communication and Tourism (DISUCOM)

Location: Via Santa Maria in Gradi, 4 - Viterbo

Contacts: 0761-357604; disucom@unitus.it