Accademia della Farnesina

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The Monolito at the Foro Italico

The Academia della Farnesina, also known as the Accademia fascista maschile di educazione fisica or Accademia fascista della Farnesina, was a center for sport and political education in fascist Italy.

The Fascist School of Physical education[edit]

The school opened on 5 February 1928.[1] Initially housed in the Military Academy of Physical Education, the Institute moved to its final seat at Foro Mussolini in November 1932.[2] The Institute had an essential aim: to train the Physical Education teachers of the Italian schools and the sport instructors of the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB). However, the lack of youth leaders obliged Renato Ricci, president of the ONB, to partially change the aims of the Institute. As a consequence, the school became the most important center for training the male leadership of the Fascist Youth Organisations.

The ONB[edit]

Study at the Farnesina lasted two years. After students obtained their certificate, they attended a nine-month apprenticeship. After that, they were permanently hired by the Opera Nazionale Balilla. During the course the students played many sports and gymnastic activities and attended many classes like, for example, anatomy, physiology, first aid, traumatology, hygiene, psychology, fascist laws, philosophy, pedagogy, history of physical education, art, singing, French and English.[3] One year after its inauguration, the school changed its name to "Accademia fascista di educazione fisica" (Fascist academy of physical education"). Ricci wanted it to be «the biggest educational experiment» ever tried in order to create the new man.[4] The Institute had to guarantee to the Fascist Youth Organisation the educators and leaders it needed.

Since 1929 being members of the Fascist Party became essential to apply for a post at the school. The applicants were chosen taking into consideration the years spent in the Fascist organisations. Also the syllabi at the school changed. All the subjects, considered necessary in order to train from a political point of view the future leaders of the Youth Organisations, became more and more important. To the former students of the school were assigned different roles according to the capacities showed during the course. Some of them became teachers in the schools, others, the most suitable ones from a political point of view, became youth leaders.[5] Two laws stated clearly the organisation and the aims of the Foro Mussolini Institute: the royal decree 1.227 of 28 August 1931 and the royal decree 1.592 of 31 August 1933. According to such legislative measures the school had to be a center to train and select the Fascist Youth leadership.[6]

The GIL[edit]

In 1937 the Fascist Youth Organisation became a party organisation and changed its name, from Opera Nazionale Balilla to Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (GIL). Consequently, the school also had to be reorganised. In April 1938 the General Command of the GIL appointed two commissions. Their aim was to draft new Statutes and new syllabi for the Fascist Academies of Rome and Orvieto.[7] Following the lines drawn by the two commissions, the Italian Parliament promulgated a new law, no. 866 of 22 May 1939, which ordered both institutes until the end of the fascist regime. The Foro Mussolini Institute changed its name to "Accademia della GIL". The Farnesina depended on the Fascist Party directly rather than, as before, on the Ministry of National Education. It became an educational centre closely tied to the Party. The courses now lasted for three years.[8] Studying the German language became compulsory in 1940.[9] The subjects were divided into four sections: political, military, biological-scientific and sport.[10] Unlike all other Italian Institutes, the degrees of the Academy were awarded not in the name of the King, but in the name of the Duce.

To become a student at the Academy, it was necessary to pass a public selection and to demonstrate to be deserving from a moral, political, racial, personal and family point of view. The applications were not sent by young people themselves, but by the local commands of the Youth organisation. These selected the applicants they found most suitable to attend the school.[11] After 1938 racial purity became an essential requirement and Jewish students were expelled.[12]

On 30 October 1940 Riccardo Versari, who had been chancellor of the school since its foundation, left his seat to Nicola Pende, father of the Italian Somatotype and constitutional psychology and one of the scientists who wrote down the Manifesto of Race. He tried in vain to transform the schools in Rome and Orvieto into universities.[13]

Post-regime[edit]

After the end of the Fascist regime on 25 July 1943, the GIL was dissolved and the schools were closed. In the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (RSI), Renato Ricci created a new youth organisation known as Opera Balilla. He also founded once again the male and female academies respectively in Gallarate and in Castiglione Olona.[14] When the war ended, many students, who couldn't finish the courses at the Fascist academies, asked to complete their training and to get the final degree. As a consequence, the Parliament approved in 1950 the law number 415. It stated that it was necessary to organise some courses so that the former students, who had to stop attending the academies, could pass the final exams. This law gave the possibility to many students, first of all those expelled for racial reasons, to finish their courses. The law stated also that the courses organised in the RSI and the degrees granted by the academies of Gallarate and Castiglione Olona were not to be acknowledged by the Italian democratic state.[15] On 20 February 1951 the High Council of Public Education approved the regulation for the organisation of the courses that took place in Rome from 1951 to 1954.[16] To guarantee the training of the physical education teachers of the Italian democratic republic it was opened in Rome the Istituto Superiore di Educazione Fisica (ISEF) (or High Institute for Physical Education) in 1953. Only on 25 January 1967 the Institute obtained a final seat at the former GIL Music Academy located at the Foro Italico (former Foro Mussolini).[17]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ L’inaugurazione della Scuola Superiore di Educazione Ginnico-Sportiva, in «Bollettino quindicinale dell'Opera Nazionale Balilla», 15 febbraio 1928, 1.
  2. ^ Cfr. Comitato dei monumenti moderni, Il Foro Italico, Clear, Roma, 1990; M. Caporilli e F. Simeoni, Il Foro Italico e lo Stadio olimpico: immagini dalla storia, Tomo edizioni, Roma, 1990; A. Greco A. e S. Santuccio, Foro Italico, Multigrafica, Roma, 1991.
  3. ^ Delibera di Ricci del 30 marzo 1928, in Archivio Centrale dello Stato, Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, 1928-1930, 1.1.15, 2104, 22.
  4. ^ R. Ricci, Prefazione, in A. Pica, Il Foro Mussolini, 1937, Bompiani, Milano, p. 5.
  5. ^ Cfr. Attività svolta dall’Opera Nazionale Balilla nell’anno VII, in La Scuola Fascista, 17 novembre 1929, p. 10.
  6. ^ A. Pasetti, Nuove ondate di giovinezza sotto il segno del Littorio, in Almanacco fascista del «Popolo d’Italia», 1934, pp. 352-353.
  7. ^ The Accademia Nazionale Femminile di Educazione Fisica ("national academy of female physical education") opened in Orvieto in 1932, a female equivalent of the Farnesina. It trained the physical education teachers and the leaders of the Fascist female youth organisations.
  8. ^ Discorso del Rettore Senatore Prof. Dott. Riccardo Versari all’inaugurazione dell’IX anno accademico dell’Accademia della GIL al Foro Mussolini il 6 novembre XVIII, Roma, 1940, p. 7.
  9. ^ Art. 11 decreto del Capo del Governo, 1 febbraio 1940.
  10. ^ Cfr. M. Di Donato, L’evoluzione storica della formazione del personale insegnante di educazione fisica in Italia (1847-1943), in «Alcmeone», nn. 5-6, 1985, p. 179.
  11. ^ PNF, Gioventù del Littorio, Accademie, Collegi e scuole, Bando di concorso anno XVIII–XIX, Roma, anno XVIII, p. 6.
  12. ^ Accademia della GIL, Roma, s.d., pp. 6–7.
  13. ^ A. Ponzio, La Palestra del Littorio. L’Accademia della Farnesina: un esperimento di pedagogia totalitaria nell’Italia fascista, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2009, pp. 141-146.
  14. ^ Ibidem, pp. 220-232.
  15. ^ Approvato il disegno di legge per la sistemazione degli ex allievi delle Accademie di EF, in «Educazione fisica-Organo ufficiale dell’associazione nazionale di e.f.», 15 maggio 1950, p. 2.
  16. ^ Notiziario di educazione fisica, in «Educazione fisica-Organo ufficiale dell’associazione nazionale di e.f.», 24 maggio 1951, p. 5.
  17. ^ Cfr. Il Foro italico e lo stadio Olimpico. Immagini dalla storia, a cura di M. Caporilli e F. Simeoni, Roma, Tomo edizioni, 1990, p. 70, 220, 265 e 275.

Bibliography[edit]

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See also[edit]

Foro Mussolini viltual tour