HBC is collecting information on individual Italian schools. The school portraits over time offer a great deal of useful information on fashion trends. They also provide helpful informatioin on educational trends. We have some at this time information on several schools, both public and state schools in different parts of the country. Information from these schools show how schoolwear has varied over time at several different schools. We also note trends at the different kinds of schools. This is the alphabetical list. This helps archive information on specific schools and add to that information as we acquire additional infomation over time. It also allows Italian readers go provide us information on their schools. Such contributions provide invaluable insights. Unfortunately the language barrier is a problem here.
Here we see the Safety Patrol at the Armnando Diaz Primary School in Rome. We know little about the school other than it is was in the center of the city near an ancient Roman aqueduct. The safety patrol boys had white belts ad shouldr nrnesses like American safety patrols, but wire white gloves like police traffic policemen.
We do not know where the Liceo Bianca Villa was located. Of course it could be the Liceo located in Bianca Villa where ever this was. We do not know when the school was founded, but believe it operated most of the 20th century. The image here shows a class at the school in 1957 (figure 1). All that we know about it was that the school was a liceo, although that term was variously used in Italy. Here it looks to be a primary school. The school at the time seems to have incouraged the boys to wear smocks, but did not require it.
This photo was taken in Biancade, a little village about 30 km north of Venice (north-east Italy). The photo was taken in 1944. The children in the front row attended preschool. It seems that they had their photo with the pupils of primary school. The little children wear white smocks. Some of the younger pupils of primary school wear black (or other colors) smocks. The other children don't wear any uniform.
This photo was taken in Boglioni, 30 miles west of Bolonia duruing the 1960s. We do not know much about the village. The photo shows a class at the village primary school with younger children. All of the pupils are perfectly outfitted in smocks with white collars. The collars vary a little, but are mostly the Peter Pan rounded tip style. These are not blouses worn by the children, but rather collars sewn on to the smocks to create the illusion that the children are all are wearing trim white blouses. Even the teacher wears a smock-like dress with a white collar. For some reason she has chosen the boys' color. An Italian reader tells us, "This is about the situation I knew in the same decade where I grew up near near Milan: white smocks with pink bows for the girls and black smocks with lighter-colored blue bows for the boys."
This primary school class photo was taken in Bonefro, a small town about 250 kms east of Rome. The population at the time was less than 5,000 people and has since declined. The photograph was taken during the 1922-23 school year. It would have been the only school in town. There are 30 boys who look to be about 6-7 years old with their teacher. Center front is a girl in a white dress that that seems a bit older. We are not sure what she is doing there. She could be the teacher's daughter. The children are wearing regular clothing. we do not see any smocks. Most of the boys wear suits, both collar buttoning and lapel styles. One boy wears a sailor suit. Short pants were beginning to become common in Europe at thus time, but these boys wore both long pants or longish knee pants. Several of the boys seem to be wearing what look like awards of some kind. At least two of the boys are barefoot.
Although smocks were common in Italian schools, till 1910 in the village schools, many children attended wearing their everyday clothing. This photo shows the 1st grade boys of Caerano in 1913. Caerano is a village about 50 km north of Venice.
Capoterra is a village on the southern coast of Sardinia, near Cagliari. Its territory includes the coast and the inland hills. The traditional activities of the inhabitants were farming and sheep breeding.
This photo shows a group of village primary schoolboys. It was taken in 1915. At the time Capoterra had about 2,000 inhabitants. All but one boy seem farmers or shepherds children. Almost all children wear long trousers or knickers-length pants with jacket and go barefoot. There is only a boy sitting down near the teacher that is better clothed. He wears bloomer knickers, a jacket with a big stripped collar, stripped knee socks and shoes. He could be the son of a wealthy farmer or of the village doctor or chemist (if there was someone at the time), or also the son of the teacher.
The Collegio di Casaglia was a private school in Bolonia, an industrail cuty in northern Italy. It was a boys' boarding school which presumably also had day boys. An Italian reader tells us, "Probably the boarding school that the boys attended was something mixed, with boarding fees, but also a state funding for the school activities. I know that the name of the school has changed to Scuola Longhena. It is no longer a boarding school.
(Differently from the Spanish "Colegio", in Italian Collegio means Boarding School)." They had a uniform. Younger children which included girls wore smocks with white Peter Pan collars. Older boys seem to have worn smocks without the collars. We do not know nuch aboit it, but it seems to have included a British-style school cap. We also notice closed-toe sandals. The school had a summer camp for the boys. It was located at the seaside summer camp (colonia estiva) in Pinarella, a beach resort about 30 kms north of the better known Rimini resort. We see the Malaguit Brothers wearing the uniform of the summer camp: striped t-shirts and boxer-style short pants. We are not sure about the color, but blue and white seems likely. The striped t-shirts give the uniform a kind of sailor look. We don't know if the cap worn by the younger brother is part of the camp uniform. More likely it was part of their school uniform. It looks like a British-style school cap. It seems to have what looks like a long chin strap. Surely the uniforms were completed with the footwear when they left the beach, probably open toe sandals.
We see a Cittanova school during the school year 1948-1949 (probably spring 1949). Cittanova is a little town in Calabria (south-west Italy). At the time, just after Wotld war II, there were about 16,000 inhabitants. During 1950s and 1960s there were at least two state primary schools: Diomede Marvasi and Regina Elena. We don't know in which of the two schools that the photo was taken, perhaps Diomee because all the children are boys. They are sitting around the doorway of the school. They all wear simple shirts, short pants, and are barefoot. Some of the boys have book bags.
We note a photograph of a school in Fidenza, a little town about 100 km east of Bologna. We do not know the name of the school, but
Fidenza is not a big city, so perhaps an Italian reader might know. The background suggests it was a fairly, substantial school. The children are of primary age, but this is far too many for a single class. And we notice that several teachers are pictured with the children. Perhaps two or three classes are seen here. Strangely while most of the children are boys, there are a few girls present. We are not sure what kind of school this was, but woukld guess it is a Caholic colegio, meaning a school with both primary and secondary sections. Here we probably see just some of the younger children. There was no uniform at the school. The photograph was taken in 1946. Interesting about half the boys are Boy Scouts. The Fascists in the 1920s banned Scouting and created theue own youth organization--the Balilla. Here after the war and the end of Fascism we see Scouting up an running again. Unlike the occupied countries of Europe, these boys would have had no memory of Scouting.
Fossato Jonico is a little village in Calabria, the southern-most Italian region (except islands). Southern Italy was the poorest part of the country. The village had a primary school which like most village scgools was just known by the name of the village. A village primary school would have a ?-year program. Most Italian children, especially in the south and other rural areas ended their educatin when they finished primary school. A few of the children from the wealthier families may continue their education with secondary studies, but they will have to live with relatives in larger towns. After World War II, education reforms began to expand the educatioinal system. We have some class portraits of the students.
The Liceo Foscarini was located in Venice. We have no information about it at this time. It looks to be a secondary school with boys entering at about age 12. It was a single gender school in the 1940s and 50s. There was no uniform. Some boys wore suits, but most did not. Most of the junior boys in 1949 and 51 were wearing short pants and ankle socks, but we ee a few boys wearing knickers and long pants.
HBC has little information on the Tangiers Scuola Italiano, but we have noted several images illustrating schoolwear trends during the 1950s. The pupils wear the classic dark Italian back-buttoning school smock with emaculate wide white colars. The school appears to have been very strict about the style and color of the smocks woren to school. Not only are the smocks identical, but so are the white collars. While almost all of the children wear school smocks, in most of the class photographs there usualy were some that did mnot.
Longhena is a state primary school in Bologna. This school has a special curriculum with many activities made in open air. The children don't wear any uniform, but casual style clothing, as we can see in the photo.
The picture shows a 3rd grade class some time in the 2000s.
Mazara del Vallo is a fishing village on the southwestern Sicilian coast. The photo shows a second grade class in 1947. It was an all boys class. A couple boys wear the classic blur smocks wiyth white collars. These smocks may have been more common before the War. At least three children are attending barefoot. That was surely a consequence of the war, but also earlier it was quite common among fisherman families that children went shoeless. Sicily and the rest of Italy in 1947 had still not brgun to recover grom the World War dusaster.
Giulia Civita Franceschi (1870-1957) directed the Nave Scuola Marinaretti Caracciolo for poor street boys (1913-23). This was a school like the Brititish naval training ships for young boys. Unlike the British naval training ships there was no close connection with the Navy, in this case the Italian Navy. Naples in southern Italy was a major port, but there were many derelict street children, many abandoned, in the city. The main principles of her educational method were as she explained them were: 1) Instilling discipline as a personal responsibility. 2) Building a caring community for the boys. The school/ship became a family and a formative community.
3) Seeing play as a positive formative experienbce. Mussolini's Fascists upon seizing control, shut down the school (1923). Fascism lkike other totalitarian regimes sought to control the eduction and preparation of young people. Part of thiswas to control the schools and curriculum. They introduced a compulsory subject: "cultura fascista" Fascist culture, basically teaching Facist politiical ideolohgy. This primnarily mean5 control of the public schools. Private schools were tolerated as long as they accepted Fascist control including the ptomotion of Fascist ideology. Franceschi refused to accept this.
This school photo was taken in Nuoro in the early-20th century. Nuoro is a town in central-eastern Sardinia. Today the town has 36,000 inhabitants, but at ghe gime there was about 7,000 people. The photo shows an all boys class, as was usual at least in town schools. Most of the boys belonged to working-class families, but we can see some differences. Two boys in the center are wearing sailor suits, and also another boy (standing in the center of last row) seems better dressed than his mates. We also see two boys at the right who are wearing traditional costumes.
The Ginasio Parini school is located in Milan. We have information at this time about the school other than it is a gynasio. This would mean a secondary school with high academic standards. We have information on oly one years at this time. Our information on the school is from the 1930s. There was no school uniform. Many moys wore suits, but others did not. We see a few boys wearing sailor suits, but not very many. In the first 3 years almost all boys wore short pants. We are not sre about the younger boys.
Salina is one of the Aeolian Islands, a group of small volcanic islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily. The islands have an amazing history even featuring in Homer's Odyessey. They have been occupied by the Greeks Cathheginians, Romans, Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzabtines, Normans, Germans, French, Aragonians, Ottomans, Aragonians, Spanish, and finally the Italians. The islands are now a populst tourit detination. The photo shows he pupils and the teachers of 'scuola media' (intermediate school, i.e. 6th to 8th grades) in 1973. There was no uniform or smocks, pupils attended the school wearing confortable everyday clothing, including short pants. You can see the impact of American-styled clothing. Several of pupils are wearing flip flops. Note how much better the children are dressed compared to before World War II--the result of the Italian Economic Miracle. We also see children in a remote provincial school dressing as fasionably as children in Rome. Notice that the girls are mostly wearing pants.
The area of San Gavino Monreale (Santu ‘Engiu) was already settled in the Roman Republican era, known as the Nuragic on Sardinia. The center of the mnodern town is of medieval origin. It was a possession of the Giudicato of Arborea. One of the four independent judicates into which the island of Sardinia was divided during the mnedieval era. Aragon becane an imoperial power in the Mediterranean and gained control of Sardinia. Castille in contrast ventured out into the Atlantic. Sardinia was transferred from Aragon/Spain to the House of Savoy (early 18th century). The House of Savoy became the Italian ruling family (mid019th century). San Gavino was a fief of the Centelles and the Osorio families, Spanish grandees until 1839. Sardinians were involved in the migration to the Americas (late-19th and eaely-20th centuries), but unlike Sicily, mostly emigrated to South Anerica. San Gavino in southern Sardinia is located about 45 km northwest of Cagliari and midway Cagliri and Oristano. Here we have a colorized copy of a class photo taken in the San Gavino village school. The photo is undated, but probably taken in the 1950s.
A HBC reader has sent us some images frim the village school at "San Giorgio della Richinvelda", a village in North Italy. San Giorgio della Richinvelda is a small village in the north-eastern part of Italy. San Giorgio lies 110 km from Venice. It is a flat area (86 meters above sea level), with a surface of 48 sq/km. It has now a total population of about 4,500 inhabitants. The photograph shows the school beginning at the turn of the century.
Here we have a picture showing pupils of a state primary state in Calabria (southern Italy) in the early 1960s. The photo was taken in San Nicola, a village about 100 km from Reggio Calabria (the most southern town in the peninsula). At the time school attendance was mandatory only in primary school (scuola elementare) for 5 years (children started when they were 6 and ended when 11). The Italian Government beginning October 1, 1963 also made "scuola media" (intermediate school) another 3 years mandatory. This mean children were required to attend school until age 14 years. Small villages like this had time until October 1, 1966 in open intermediate schools. The photograph here was published in 1963 with a journalistic inquiry about Italian schools in the Italian Touring Club magazine. This image shows a poor school attended by largely indigent village children. Note the rough desks. Kids clothing indicate their social rank. We can assume also the bare feet as a poverty indicator. Although many Italian children went barefoot there are very few school photos showing pupils without footwear. Bare feet for play in everyday life may be the child's choice. But if you see a child barefoot to school you can think that his parent can't provide him footwear. Moreover the photo here was taken in winter.
The first Italian Rudolf Steiner school was founded in Milan after World war II. The school was a project persued by Lavinia Mondolfo. She as a young woman graduated in letters at a time when university studies were difficult for women. She traveled to Italy doing her job as a teacher in various locations. She ended her career as a lecturer at the Academy of Brera. After teaching at the Master Charles Tenca, a normal school. Graduates received the "license" enabling them to teach in primary schools. Priest married noted socialist Ugo Guido editor of "Social Critica" (1909). They worked together tompromote socialism and the after World War I to fight Fascism. She worked with the rehabilitation of veterans and war blind. She develope an interest in the Anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner, a German philospher intereted in educatioin among other topics. She was particularly interested in his thoughts on education and the arts. She had to leave Italy during the Fascist era. She retuned after the War. Together with the poet Lina Schwarz and other individuals from the Milan cultural life she worked to establish aschool based on Steiner's works. Hundreds of such schools exist around the world today, mostly in Europe and the United States. Milan was heavily damaged during the War. The chaotic years of the World War II favored the foundation and refoundation of many city institutions. They found a location in the garden of Palazzo Sormani and built the school with pre-fabrigated materials. The mayor, Antonio Greppi, supported the effort. Mondolfo, at an ahe when many were retiring, launched an entire new career. She and a group of pioneer teachers, created a small school as a pilot effort to show case innovative teaching principles (1946). Steiner's work promoted what he called Anthroposophical cultural teaching which stressed character formation. Numerous other Steiner schools were subsequently fouded in Italy. One source writes, "Children from the school have now reched 50 years of age. They have not forgotten the small, elegant, kind director who knew each of them. She consoled them with her sweet nature, cautioned them firmly when necessary, gave them a book when they left school. She helped their teachers judge with insight, fairness and impartiality in the brief profiles prepared for their parents. And their parents have not forgotten lessons in the difficult art of educating." Lavinia Mondolfo Priest died (1972).
The photo was taken at the rural Scoula Tre Cancellilocated in the Pontine Marshes (Agro Pontino) south of Rome. It looks like the in early-1930s. The The photo was taken in 1950s in Villalunga, a village 30 mi West of Bolonia--an industrial city in northern Italy. Italy had been devestated by World War II, especially the Italian canpaign (1943-45). By the 1950s, the Italian Economic Miracle was in process and transforming the country. In this school both girls and boys wore black smocks eith white collsrs and bows -- the standard primary school outfit throughout Italy. At the time sandals were very common. Before the war, many of these children would have been barefoot. All the pupils we can see, in front and central rows are wearing open toe sandals without socks.
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Created: June 5, 1999
Last updated: 2:34 AM 5/28/2021
The photo was taken in 1950s in Villalunga, a village 30 mi West of Bolonia--an industrial city in northern Italy. Italy had been devestated by World War II, especially the Italian canpaign (1943-45). By the 1950s, the Italian Economic Miracle was in process and transforming the country. In this school both girls and boys wore black smocks eith white collsrs and bows -- the standard primary school outfit throughout Italy. At the time sandals were very common. Before the war, many of these children would have been barefoot. All the pupils we can see, in front and central rows are wearing open toe sandals without socks.
Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
Navigate the Relate Boys Historical Clothing Style Pages
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing School Pages
Navigate the HBC School Section: