The origins of the University go back to the VIII century AD thanks to the foundation of the celebrated Salerno medical school, an authoritative, prestigious, sanitary institution, which remained important throughout the whole Medieval Age. In addition to teaching medicine, the school also taught philosophy, theology and law. However, according to some historians, it was only after the second half of the IX century with the constitution of the Lombard principality of Salerno that it was possible to determine the establishment of an institute, which trained and produced doctors. A direct link across the centuries can be hypothesized between the traditional Salerno medicine of the Lombard Age and older medical practice of the Greek –Roman period which puts Salerno in first place, rather than its contender Bologna, for having the oldest university established in Europe.
Having obtained its first legal recognition in the Constitutions of Melfi (1231) and the title of Studium in the time of Conrad II, the Salerno medical school received its first statute from Charles of Anjou (1280). Later, Queen Jeanne formally recognised the legal value of the certification given to graduating doctors (1359), thus breaking the monopoly held until then by the Study of Naples, set up by Frederick II in 1224.