The University of Salerno has very ancient origins as it is one of the oldest universities in Europe together with Paris and Bologna. The Salerno School of Medicine was founded in the 8th century and was the principal institution in Europe for the study of medicine, reaching its utmost splendour during the Middle Ages. The School marked an enormous step forward in the evolution of medical science and easily fitted into the city of Salerno, which had been thriving economically and culturally since it had been part of Magna Graecia. The university remained active until 1811, when it was closed by royal decree while in 1944 the university was re-opened by king Vittorio Emanuele II, and the Istituto Universitario di Magistero "Giovanni Cuomo" was founded, which became state-controlled in 1968 as the Facoltà. Within a few years other faculties were founded and they formed the basis of an important university. In 1988, the University, which now has over 43,000 students, moved to the village of Fisciano in the Irno valley, a few miles from Salerno.