Nunziatella military academy

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The way as youth is here educated has no equal in the whole of Europe. Philosophy, patriotism, and experience would not have been able to conceive or carry more noble institution to form the temperament, reason, heart and all the knowledge required to military.

— Giuseppe Maria Galanti[1]
Nunziatella Military Academy
CoA mil ITA nunziatella.svg
Motto Preparo Alla Vita Ed Alle Armi
Established 1787
Type Military Academy / Military Preparatory School
Students future officer corps
Location Naples, Italy
Campus "Rosso Maniero", e.g. "Red Manor" on Chiatamone cliff facing Chiaia, Mergellina and Posillipo.

The "Nunziatella" Military School of Naples, Italy, founded November 18, 1787 under the name of Royal Military Academy, is the oldest military school in the world among those still operating without interruption; as well as the oldest Italian institution of military education among those still operating.[2][3] Its building, familiarly called "Red Manor" (it.: Rosso Maniero),[4] and the adjacent church of the Santissima Annunziata, is an architectural monument of the city of Naples.

Located in Pizzofalcone in via Generale Parisi, 16, it was a place of high military and civilian training since its foundation, and had among its teachers and students the likes of Francesco de Sanctis, Mariano d'Ayala, Carlo Pisacane, Guglielmo Pepe, Enrico Cosenz and even a king of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele III, and a Viceroy of Italian East Africa, Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta.

Among the many alumni of prestige, high degrees of the Armed Forces, including 1 Director of the European Union Military Committee, 2 Chiefs of Defence Staff, 4 Army Chiefs of Staff, 2 Navy Chiefs of Staff, 1 Air Chief of Staff, 2 Commanders General of the Guardia di Finanza (and 2 Vicecommanders), 1 Commander General of the Carabinieri (and 8 Vicecommanders) and two Directors-General of the Information Services need to be cited. As for the civilian alumni, 3 Prime Ministers, 14 Ministers, 13 senators and 11 deputies of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the Kingdom of Italy and the Italian Republic, a President of the Constitutional Court, as well as representatives of absolute importance of the cultural, political and professional Italian and international landscape, including a winner of the prestigious Sonning Prize, awarded to the most important European intellectuals, have to be remembered.

The flag of the school is decorated with a Gold Cross of Merit of the Carabinieri, and a Bronze Medal at the value of the Army. His former students have earned 38 gold medals, 147 silver medals and 220 bronze medals for military valor; 1 gold medal for civil valor; and numerous other awards for valor. A total of 21 of them are decorated with the Military Order of Italy and 56 of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

For its role in the last three centuries "in the field of higher education, as a academic, social and economic motor for Italy and all the Mediterranean countries linked to it", on February 22, 2012 it was declared "Historical and cultural heritage of the Mediterranean countries" by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean. The School is also the winner of the Cypraea Prize for Science (1994) and the Mediterranean Award awarded by the Fondazione Mediterraneo (2012).


The originating military institutes[edit]

The origins of the Nunziatella Military Academy should be traced back to the work of reorganization of the armed forces of the Kingdom of Naples, advocated by the statesman Bernardo Tanucci and implemented by Charles of Bourbon. Under his guidance was in fact identified for the first time the need to create ad-hoc institutions for the training of officers of various specialties: this initiative was necessary to free the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from subjection to the Kingdom of Spain, ruled by Philip V of Spain, father of Charles, and to limit the ambitions of his mother Elisabetta Farnese.

Charles of Bourbon, King of Naples

The initiative of Charles of Bourbon had its first result in the foundation of the Real Academia de los Guardias Estendartes de las Galeras (December 5, 1735), devoted to the training of naval officers: this institution, which has the primacy of the oldest Navy Academy in Italy, was initially housed in a building of the docks area in Naples, but then moved, after only two months, in the Palazzo Trotti, in the immediate vicinity of the royal palace of Naples and the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit, in the area later occupied by the palace of the Prefecture. After a brief and not very profitable experience of a military School, located in the Maddalena town district, it was founded the Academy of Artillery (1745), for whose organization was called the mathematician Nicola Antonio De Martino, who was serving in Spain as Embassy secretary. The new Academy was installed in the Palace of Panatica, in Saint Lucia town district, and provided with a solid educational program, both theoretical and practical: there were in fact taught mathematics, physics, design and fencing, while the practical exercises were carried out at Molosiglio, in the docks area and at Fort Vigliena. The students were officers and cadets of the Academy of Artillery, for which attendance was mandatory; officers and cadets of other specialties, and noblemen who had passed an entrance examination, were also admitted to the class. In accordance with the guidelines of the time, the programs of the Academy were specifically focused on math and science. The same Charles of Bourbon, in the ordnance for the establishment of the Academy, wrote: " Although we have with any of our other royal orders and instructions provided specially trained to make full use of our subjects sull'onorevole militia, although not of whereas in less expedient for the preservation of our states, the shine and the glory of our arms the body of the militia remains Yea well disciplined and educated in mathematics, science which mainly depend on the happiest success of the operations of the war, we moved to give even what the appropriate measure".

The work of expansion of the educational foundation of the officers of the Army continued with the establishment of the Academy of the Corps of Military Engineers (1754), dedicated to the officers of Military Engineering. If on the one hand the foundation of the Academy added a new piece to the work to improve the preparation of military officers, on the other hand made it clear the need for a single container that organically provided to this task . The departure of Charles for Spain, to ascend the throne of that kingdom after the death of Philip V, prevented him from continuing in his harmonizer plan, and therefore it became a responsibility of Tanucci to assist the young King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon in the progressive construction of a well-trained military ruling class.

To this end, in December 1769, it was issued a new ordnance, which ordered the merging of the Royal Academy of Artillery with that of the Corps of Engineers in the Royal Military Academy. The new institute (also based in the Palace of Panatica) opened its doors on 1 February 1770, after an inauguration ceremony marked by a speech by Captain Alonzo Nini. The organization of the institute, which had an initial budget of two thousand ducats a year, was similar to that of a university, as students went there only for classes and exams. Courses lasted four years, and attendance was mandatory for officers of artillery and engineering based in Naples. The battalions of infantry, cavalry and dragoons stationed in Naples had also to send two officers and two cadets each, while the regiments allocated elsewhere sent two cadets each. The general of brigade Luca Ricci was appointed commander, while the direction of the studies was entrusted to the famous experimental physicist and mathematician Vito Caravelli. The students sustained two exams a year and one at the end of the four-year course, at the presence of the Minister of War. The top four performers were promoted to the immediately higher rank in the units to which they belonged, the second four received a gold medal, the other ones a silver one. Although the scheme of studies was thick from the point of view of science, it was completely lacking in the humanities, and such deficiency began to be acutely felt in the educational environment, and would lead to the subsequent evolution of the Royal Military Academy.

Once it was provided to the training of the officers already in service, the work of reform turned to the cadets, i. e. the aspirant officers. To this end, and to establish a new unit that would serve "as a very keen tactical force in the most difficult war situations" it was established a Corps of Cadets, called the Battaglione Real Ferdinando (King Ferdinando Battaillon) (1772). The command of the Battalion, housed in two former convents of the Croce and Trinità di Palazzo (in the area now occupied by the palace of the Prince of Salerno, in the Piazza del Plebiscito) was entrusted to general Francesco Pignatelli, Prince of Strongoli, and Ferdinand IV of Bourbon himself wanted to acquire the rank of colonel. Students, sons of nobles and officers of rank higher than captain, were admitted at the age of eight, and continued their studies for six years, learning subjects like mathematics and military art. Once completed the entire course of studies with specialized institutes for the training of officers, from the rank of cadet to graduate school, it was considered appropriate to combine the different entities in a single entity. In September 1774, it was therefore decided to delete the Royal Academy, making its students to merge with the Battaglione Real Ferdinando ones. The new institution that was so originated was called Reale Accademia del Battaglione Real Ferdinando (Royal Academy of the King Ferdinand Battalion), who from the original 270 cadets split into three companies, grew to 810, divided into nine companies. The students of the new Academy were distributed among the Palace of Panatica, where younger cadets were housed, and the aforementioned convents of the Croce and the Trinità di Palazzo, who housed all the others. Even the study programs were diversified in order to take account of differences in age and preparation, and for the first time the humanities were introduced for the younger cadets. The final exam was intended to verify that the aspirants to the rank of officer possessed "the extension of the theories of all the sciences that are necessary to know to comprehend the reason for what we do in the job for which you compete and theories of the same profession , the frankness of the intellectual faculties , which are well known for precise conduct cases in the data, and finally the degree of invention than is necessary to be able to find in the trade ". The new institution quickly proved a valuable source of officers, prompting a growingly public appreciation by the king. However, in April 1755 the General Pignatelli was obliged to inform the king, with a wealth of evidence, the existence of a Masonic lodge among the students: this discovery was a source of deep conflict between Ferdinand IV and his wife Maria Carolina of Habsburg Alsace-Lorraine, which was notoriously protective of the Masonic movement in Naples. Consistent with the seriousness of the facts, serious measures were taken against those who were involved.

A new approach to training of officers happened after the dismissal of Tanucci, at the end of many years of service at the Bourbon court. The influence of Queen Maria Carolina was decisive for the arrival of the English admiral John Acton, who first assumed the post of Secretary of the Navy, and later, against the inertia of the Marquis della Sambuca, also that of prime minister. Acton began a process of renewal that would allow considerably strengthen the ethical and moral uprightness of the officers, so that they could function as an example for the rest of the population. Realising also the need to update the process of formation, consistently with the evolution of military doctrine, he was the architect of a historic decision: in fact, he constituted a small group of officers, which ordered to visit the military training institutions in the different European countries, and to draw from them all organizational and practical training aspects, which served to build an academy of a new kind. Also included in this group was a young lieutenant of Military Engineering Corps by the name of Giuseppe Parisi. This choice was particularly happy, because thanks to the detailed reports of Parisi before, and his work in person then, would be born the Nunziatella. During the period abroad, specifically in Austria, he was able to be appreciated by the Emperor Joseph II of Habsburg-Lorraine, as well as the Imperial Chancellor Anton Wenzel von Kaunitz-Rietberg, who often invited him to lunch with Pietro Metastasio. His ability to fit into the environment of the Austrian court led him to receive even the insistent invitation from the emperor to remain as War Major. Refused the assignment, Parisi returned to his homeland in 1785, where he was promoted to the rank of major and began to roll out the plan for the foundation of the new Academy. Far from being simply the local interpretation of the organization and methods of instruction observed abroad, the draft Parisi contained strong elements of originality, which would characterize the Nunziatella and would determine the uniqueness of the educational model. Unlike other military training institutions, it was held that the military training were strongly interconnected to the civilian one, so to lead to the formation not only of excellent officers, but also good citizens.

The foundation[edit]

In tracing the organization and curriculum of the new institution, Parisi proposed to abandon the old buildings and convents of the Panatica Palace where the cadets were housed until that moment, and to find a new home. The choice fell on the ancient Jesuit novitiate of Pizzofalcone, a large building that could be quickly adapted to the scope. The complex was built thanks to the generous donations of noblewomen Anna Mendoza, Marchioness della Valle and Countess of Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi,[5] and Delia Sanseverino, Countess of Briatico.[5] The donation was 19,500 ducats, divided in twelve years.[6] The novitiate was opened on 8 September 1587, and had greeted the seminarians previously housed the novitiate of Nola.[7] Along with the building, they had been given the attached Church of the Nunziatella, a jewel of the Neapolitan Baroque, so called to distinguish it from the larger Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata. Built in 1588, the church had been deeply remodeled in 1736 by the Ferdinando Sanfelice, which obliterated the original traits; and embellished with frescoes by Francesco De Mura, Paolo De Matteis, Ludovico Mazzanti and Pacecco De Rosa, as well as the splendid altar built by Giuseppe Sammartino.[8][9][10]

The "Nunziatella" Military Academy was founded November 18, 1787 with the name of Royal Military Academy, by a special ordinance of king Ferdinand IV. This document contained guidelines for the education of the students, in particular calling on officers and instructors to attend to "... the knowledge of the temperaments, inclinations and aptitudes of the students in order to be able to stimulate curiosity and increase the attention, talents and faculties, and finally, instilling in them a capacity for judgment". Similarly, it was felt necessary to introduce students to "mathematics ... and to firm up philosophical reasoning in young people and prepare them for the professions of science and to train them in the consciousness of their duties and the social and political system."

The first commander-in-chief of the Academy was Domenico della Leonessa, Marquis of Supino, who by a decree of 28 May 1787 was appointed by Minister John Acton and promoted to Field Marshal.[11] Traditionally, however, the real flowering of Nunziatella is traced to the appointment in 1794 of Giuseppe Parisi as commander;[12] the street where the school is located is still named after him.

La Nunziatella fu presto riconosciuta come luogo di elevata formazione militare, già pochi anni dopo la sua fondazione. A tal proposito, Giuseppe Maria Galanti scrisse nel 1792:

The way youth is educated here has no equals in the whole of Europe. No philosophy, patriottism, experience could have either conceived or built a nobler institution for growing character, reason, heart and every knowledge needed by soldiers.

— Giuseppe Maria Galanti[13]

The Neapolitan Republic (1799)[edit]

Soon a few years after its foundation, Nunziatella's history started to cross the landmark events that would have characterized the European scene in the last years of the XVIII century. On July 14, 1789, the people of Paris assaulted the Bastille, thus starting the French Revolution, that would have caused the king and queen of France, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to be beheaded.[14] These events, which marked the collapse of the Ancien Régime, could not be indifferent to the Neapolitan court, since Ferdinand IV was a member of the big royal family of Bourbons, while his wife Maria Carolina of Austria was Marie-Antoinette's sister.[15] The level of police awareness agaist Jacobins' activities sharply rose, while the latter increased their attempts to influence the Neapolitan Army's commanding personnel: their aim was, indeed, to make military to support a revolt and pull the king out of his throne for building a Republic like in France.

Nunziatella was soon at the center of this attempt, since some of its professors, among the leaders of the Jacobin movement, tried to involve the young cadets into their Republican ideas. One of them, Annibale Giordano, had been arrested in the past in 1784, and deprived of his post of Chemistry teacher. The Maths teacher Carlo Lauberg and his colleagues Clino Roselli (fortifications teacher), Pasquale Baffi (hellenist), Michele Granata (philosopher and mathematician) and Giustino Fortunato senior were all involved in the Jacobin movement, as members of the Società Patriottica.[16]

Notable teachers[edit]


The most illustrious student ever to attend Nunziatella was the future king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III. In addition, Nunziatella gave to Italy a high number of Prime Ministers, Ministers, a President of the Constitutional Court, and a huge number of top-ranked officers of the Italian Armed Forces, including Rolando Mosca Moschini, chief of the European Union Military Committee.

Mehmet Shehu, Albanian communist prime minister for 28 years was a graduate of this school. He has been recognized as an instrumental strategist in the victory of communists in Albania.

Eugenio Barba, Italian author and theatre director based in Denmark.


Especially valuable is the offer of sports training providing the practice of equestrianism, fencing, swimming, track & Field, boxing, basketball, volleyball and other sports.


  1. ^ Giuseppe Maria Galanti (1792) Breve descrizione della città di Napoli e del suo contorno. Gabinetto Letterario, Napoli. [1]
  2. ^ Appello della Nunziatella per tutelare l'Istituto Italiano per gli studi Filosofici, il Mattino, 5 ottobre 2012
  3. ^ Nunziatella: appello per l'Istituto Italiano Studi Filosofici, Virgilio Napoli, 6 ottobre 2012
  4. ^ The name derives from the colour of its external walls, which make it clearly visible on Naples' skyline.
  5. ^ a b La Marquise, sister of the Jesuit Giovanni de Mendoza, made a donation of 24,666 , 66 ducats; of these, 8,000 were used for the purchase and adaptation of the existing building Polignano, and 16666.66 to the maintenance of novices. See. Marco Author, Michele D'Aria, La Nunziatella. Expansions and renovations from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II", 1997.
  6. ^ Autore and D'Aria, p. 10
  7. ^ Celano, pp. 78-80
  8. ^ Sasso, p. 349
  9. ^ Cate, p. 192
  10. ^ "Naples and surrounding areas", p. 282, AA.VV. i
  11. ^ Bibliografiche Cards, Circle Youth, accessed 21 October 2013
  12. ^ Manufacturer, p. 1-50
  13. ^


    — p. 36
  14. ^ p. 213 e ss..
  15. ^

    Hacton 1997a

    — pp. 263-289
  16. ^


    — pp. 33-38

Coordinates: 40°49′57″N 14°14′40″E / 40.8326°N 14.2444°E / 40.8326; 14.2444