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. The chronological entries are prticularly helpful in understanding how school and general fashions changed over time. mocks were popular for a time, but not very msny Otalian schools had uniforms. We also note trends at the different kinds of schools.
A HBC reader has sent us some images from 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.
This school photo was taken in Nuoro in the early-20th century, probably some time in the 1910s. Nuoro is a town in central-eastern Sardinia. Today the town has 36,000 inhabitants, but at the 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. Several of the boys seem to be wearing smock-like garments. 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.
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 Ginasio Parini 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 usre about the younger boys.
The Ginasio Parini 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 only 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 sure about the younger boys.
Here we have an unidentified class sometime in the 1930s (figure 1). There is no identifying information, but as the boys all wear light shirts (one boy wears a tie), shorts, and sandals without socks, we suspect that it was located in Naples or somewhere else in southern Europe. We believe it may hve been some kind of private school, primarily because the teacher is impecably dressed and the school is class is very small. And at the time, smocks were very common in the public schools. This would have been a primary class in a city. The boys look to be about 9-years old. Notice that the boys all have close-cropped hair.
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.
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 see a few boys wearing knickers and long pants.
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.
Most Italian schools were still single gender schools in the 1950s. The primary exceptions were small village schools. We still see many boys wearing suit jackets at the beginning of the decade even in village sdchools, although boys incresingly were just wearing shirts without jackets. Most boys wore short pants to school, but by the end of the decade, long pants were more common. We notice the traditional black/dark blue school smocks with wide white collars, with and without bows, at many schools, but the smocks were often optional and only some of the boys wore them. Both boys and girls wore them, but they were a little more common with the girls. This depended somewhat on age. Schools varied with the smocks. Some schools seem more insistent on smocks than others. The tradiyionazl back-buttoniong smocks were standard. Many children still cvsamr to school barefoot in the ealy-50s, but as the economy improved fter the War, this became less and less common by the end of the decade. We notice private schools, many of which were Catholic, where boys wore suits, mostly short psnts suits. Knee socks were less common than in northern Europe. We don't see Cub and Scout uniforms sat the state schools, but we see some at private schools. Scouting was refounded in Italy after two decades of Fascist contol suring which Scioying was bammed and there was a manditory Fasist youth movement.
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.
This photo was taken in Boglioni, 30 miles west of Bolonia durung the 1960s. We do not know much about the village. The photo shows a class at the village porimary school with younger children. All of the pupils are perfectly outfitted in smocks with white collars. The collars vary a likttle, but are mosdtly the Peter Pan style. Theseare not blouses worn by the children, but rather collars sewn in to the smocks to create vthe elusiin that they are wrearing white blouses. Even the teacher wears a smock-like dress with a whire 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."
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.
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