• About SNS

    The Scuola Normale Superiore is a public institute for higher education that in its two centuries of life has earned itself a special place, both in Italy and abroad, a place characterised by merit, talent and scientific rigour.  Two types of course are available: the undergraduate course and the PhD course.The teaching activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, placed in Pisa, and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, located in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. 

  • Admission

    The evaluation for entrance to the first year of the undergraduate course does not include the high school leaving certificate, and the bachelor's degree is not taken into consideration in the entrance examination for the fourth year course. For each PhD course, candidates’ level of competence, talent, motivations and aptitudes to scientific research will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications and research project and an interview.

  • Academics

    The Scuola Normale Superiore offers two types of course: the undergraduate course, leading to first and second level university degrees, and the PhD course, the international equivalent of the Italian Dottorato di ricerca.The teaching and research activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences.The first two academic structures, housed at the Pisa site, organize courses for both the  undergraduate course and the PhD course. The Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, situated in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, deals only with the PhD course.

  • Research

    A highly qualifying feature of the Normale way is the strong link between teaching and research that is a characteristic of both the undergraduate and the graduate programmes of the Scuola. The research structures of the two Faculties welcome students with a relevant study interest, enabling them to collaborate in a mature way with the activities of the researchers.

  • International

    The Scuola Normale is an institute of a decidedly international nature. Examinations for admission to the undergraduate degree course and for the PhD course are open to all citizens worldwide. A certain number of places on the PhD course are reserved for students from other countries. During the pre laurea and  post lauream teaching courses, study and research programmes are made available at overseas universities and research centres with which the Scuola forms an intense network of collaboration.  The doctorate course in particular is taught in a veritable graduate school in line with the highest international standards. 

The set of buildings called the Compendio or Complesso di San Silvestro is located in an irregularly-shaped, tree-lined square near the Arno River. It was probably founded in 1118, when the Pisan Archbishop Pietro Moriconi gave the church and monastery connected to it to the Benedictine Monks of Montecassino , who remained there until 1270.

The Romanesque church, which can just barely be made out in the apse and bell tower, was decorated with many ceramic basins. In 1331 the buildings were given to the nuns of San Domenico from the nearby convent of Santa Croce in Fossabanda; they restored the church for the first time. The changes carried out in the 17th and 18th centuries were more substantial: In 1609 the church was divided into two parts in order to create a choir or internal room for the nuns; during the 18th century the façade was completely redone, the architrave (now kept at the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo) with the histories of Constantine and Silvestro removed, and statues added. The church was deconsecrated and used as a workshop for the restoration of art.

The 14th-century convent connected to the church has been used in various ways over the centuries. In 1782 the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopoldo, transformed the monastery into a conservatory for the daughters of nobles; at the beginning of the 19th century it became the property of the Order of the Salesians.  Also in the 19th century, it was the seat of the Scuola Normale, subsequently becoming a reformatory for minors and then a student residence.