The roots, the wings, the flight of an agricultural school

Photo highlighted by Donato Bagnardi. Rome 2007 – Presentation of the book: Murolo G., Facts and figures of Agricultural Education, Reda, 2007. From right: Prof. Martino Pastore, President of CRSFA at the time and former principal (the first) and school inspector Giuseppe Murolo (the third ). From left: Deputy Principal Prof. Vincenzo Cervellera (second)

100th anniversary

Locorotondo. On the centenary of the death of Giovanni Basile Caramia

by Donato Bagnardi

1922-2022. We are at the centenary of the disappearance of Giovanni Basile Caramiafounder of Agricultural school in his hometown, Locorotondo. With his testamentary decisions made known on the day of his death, April 11, 1922, he started the path to a scholastic reality destined to mark the cultural and socio-economic life of our territory and beyond. The school’s first seat, the nineteenth-century building on the Ferragnano farm, built in 1811 by locoroton dancer Francesco Caramia, born of the marriage between Giuseppe Caramia di Martina Franca and Maria Maddalena Pinto, widow of benefactor Vito Antonio Montanaro, to whom Masseria originally belonged. With a will from 1847, Francesco Caramia appointed the little Giovanni Basile, about four years old, as his universal heir, who thus also adopted the surname Caramia.

The centenary of the founder’s death gives us reason for a quick review of some of the evolutionary stages of the school, administered by the institution from the beginning. “Basile-CaramiaBorn with the intention of offering agricultural education to children of poor farmers in its municipality, it developed in three phases. The first was to root. Inaugurated on March 21, 1937, the School changed from a modest two-year vocational education course to a type of agriculture from 1946 -47 to a three-year school, from 1951-52 to an approved Agricultural Engineering Institute, from 1958-59 to a State Agricultural Engineering Institute.In 1953-54 she was moved with her first four classes to a new building, which was just finished in its first wing.In July 1959 he obtained the specialization course in viticulture and oenology, unique in Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.

Founder Giovanni Basile Caramia (reproduction photo Michele Giacovelli)

The school’s roots continued through the sixties and seventies on a structural, institutional and organizational level. Let us think of the creation of the didactic cellar; expansion and elevation of the school building; for the ’63 publication of the second monthly magazine “Apulian review of wine and agricultural techniques”; when the boarding school was activated in 1965, with its first 18 students. Among the leaders in this first phase: Prof. Giuseppe Boccardi, technical director of the organization, didactic head of the school and then first principal; Prefectural Commissioner for Ente Pietro Curione; the parish priest don Orazio Scatigna, chairman of the institution and then of the department council; Principals Professors Angelo Giorgio Mutinati and Felice Petruzzi.

With the second phase, which began in the eighties, the department spread its wings on the territory and proposed a re-qualification of the students’ overall education. The attention to the territory, already present in the seventies, was now structurally deployed in the school’s strategic and operational scenario. Among the initiatives: in 1984-85 the start of the didactic experimentation of the specialization course in Viticulture and Oenology; in 1986, the didactic experimentation of the “Cerere 90” project; in the following year, the revival of the magazine with the new title “Cerere” e participation in the establishment of the Center for Research and Experiments in Agriculture, today led by rag. Michele Lisi.

The third phase began in the early nineties, when the school, then merged in 1997 with the similar “Francesco Gigante” from Alberobello, eased from the narrow local enclosures towards the wider European territories. Just think of the exchanges in Strasbourg for the definition of the project called “Europea” and the consequent creation of the European Association. At the beginning of this new phase, the competent and passionate teamwork of School Superintendent Giuseppe Murolo, Principal Prof. Martino Pastore, of the Vice-Principal Prof. Vincenzo Cervellera and the Dean of ITAS in Remedello Prof. Luigi Mattioli. Among other results, it went from postgraduate courses to higher education and training courses (IFTS). In 2010, the Institute participated as a Lead Partner in the establishment of the Foundation of a Higher Technical Institute (ITS) Agroalimentare – Puglia (Polo di Locorotondo), current president Prof. Vito Nicola Savino. To support these processes, the subsequent school leaders include Giovanni Cardone, Marcello Ruggieri and Raffaele Fragassi. Today, it is the professor who takes up the legacy of this complex journey Angelinda Grisetaschool director of IISS “Basile Caramia-Gigante”, continuously committed to promoting increasingly qualified education in the name of innovation and broadening operational horizons.

The committee responsible for organizing the day of the 100th anniversary (June 15) has had one of its main intentions since it took office to make the event an opportunity to relaunch the school with renewed vigor and updated joint planning. The planned passages testify to this: from the greetings of the various scholastic and political authorities to the various interventions, not only on the historical aspects, but also on the school’s current physiognomy and on the new development perspectives.

Of course, if today this kingThe school has become prestigious thanks to the tenacious will of dozens of administrators, principals and teachers, who have followed each other with the sole purpose of bringing the places of education ever closer to the places of production and working life. Proof of this is the various successes and awards that it still enjoys today for its intense and relentless activity.

1936-37 – Right, Masseria Ferragnano’s nineteenth century building. First Headquarters of the Agricultural School of Locorotondo (Paola Boccardi Archive)

The 100th anniversary event led the department to explain in detail the long journey made with a specific publication that brings together various specialist contributions entitled: From poor peasants to European citizens. From the will of Giovanni Basile Caramia to higher education in agriculture – AGA, Alberobello. This volume reinforces the chain and the shot in a school’s fabric, always new because it is constantly being revised, and highlights the merits of the many weavers who have always been united by a deep “sense of community”. The headmaster notices this on several occasions in his Introduction to the volume, where he adds: “Common sense is what has always characterized our school community: to find ourselves in remembering Giovanni Basile Caramia on the centenary of his death means to celebrate School and Education”.

Giovanni Basile Caramia will be remembered as a builder of common and relational goods, with a strong sense of belonging to his country. Its merit was to intervene in the connection that linked poverty, lack of education and economic backwardness. A great lesson in civilization, guarded by his homeland.

If Locorotondo is today among the most beautiful villages in Italy, it is also due to the beauty of Giovanni Basile Caramia’s testamentary choices.

[Articolo pubblicato sulla rivista Agorà, numero Giugno 2022]

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