On 29 January 1377, Pope Gregory XI accepted the request of Gentile Da Varano, Lord of Camerino, and issued a Bull in which he granted the city the right to have a general university. In particular, he authorized the interpretation and teaching of Civil and Canon Law and gave permission to award Doctorate and Bachelor degrees.
This did not imply the founding of a new school, it raised to a higher level the private university which had been guaranteed by the local authorities, and extended to the whole of the Christian world the validity of its academic titles, which could now be conferred 'with apostolic authority'.
No documents remain about the beginning of the city's university. Camerino was then the capital of a large territory, its only rival for dominion being Fermo.
It was the seat of Governement of one of the leading 'Signorie' in the political and military affairs of the peninsula and home to magistrates and scholars who were scattered throughout its principals cities.
A fragment of the Statutes of Camerino University from 1355, inform us that the following courses were active in the city: Canon Law, Civil Law, Medicine and Literature, whereas the bull of 1377 recognized only legal Studies. The truth is that, following an ancient Justinian law, it was especially easy for a university authority to legitimize a law school because of the political role played at all times by jurisprudence.
The Pontifical provisions were subjected to a time limit and proposed a period of experimentation for the university.
This reservation was due more to the doubtful fidelity of Camerino to the Papacy than to the inefficiency of its school. The Western Schism, which split the Church for forty years, and the alternative loyalty of the Da Varano to Rome and Avignon have made it impossibile, up to now, to ascertain if and by whom the definitive recognition was made.
Students came to Camerino initially as a result of an ancient privilege, conceded by Frederik Barbarossa to university towns, which was adopted by the Town Council within its Statute; they were exempted from the payment of all taxes and duties and freed from the ranger of reprisals, even when hostilities existed between Camerino and their native city.
They enjoyed unconditional freedom to enter, live in and leave the city.
This priviledge applied also to their servants.
Under the Papal State, the small formal adjustments made to university legislation in 1563 did not resuscitate an institution that had long been without its original cultural and political justification. The decline of the 'Signoria' and of Camerino, once capital of the dukedom, into the principal town of a limited Pontifical district, and the economic crisis which had descended on the city signalled the end of the university.
By 1600 the university disappeared.
The college of Doctors survived but limited itself to setting exams for prospective members who had graduated elsewhere. Towards the end of the century, advanced courses were still being taught in the city at the expense of the Town Council, but they were organized by academics who were guests in local monasteries.
On 27 November 1726, the General Council of Camerino, seeing an opportunity to increase its numbers of teachers, asked Pope Benedict XIII to be allowed to allocate to this end certain civic funds which were tied to other uses.
On 15 July, the Pope, with the Bull 'Liberalium Disciplinarum' granted the request but required that the courses be organized according to the curricula of, and with the same ends as, the Papal Universities.
He conferred on institution the title 'Universitas Studii Generalis'.
With the rebirth of the university, Camerino blossomed as a university town.
Yet the records of the past had been lost and no references were made to the history of the City, nor was the Pontifical concession hailed as a renewal of the university.
Four faculties were initiated: Theology, Law, Medicine (which awarded degrees inPhilisophy and Medicine) and Mathematics.
In 1753, a document of Francis I of Hapsburg-Lorraine extended the recognition of degrees from Camerino to the whole territory of the Holy Roman Empire and, among other things, conferred the honour of Count Palatine on the Vice-Chancellor.
A brief description of the university's following two and a half centuries of intense and well documented life is difficult. Of major importance were the early years of the Restoration.
New science laboratories led to increased and improved scientific research.
In 1870, with the Unification of Italy, Camerino was recognized as a Free University.
It mantained this status until 1958 when it became a State university.