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

Photo courtesy of 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 the CRSFA at the time and former principal (the first) and school inspector Giuseppe Murolo (the third). Vlnr: Vice-Prof. Vincenzo Cervellera (sweat)


Locorotondo. On the Centenary of the Death of Giovanni Basile Caramia

by Donato Bagnardi

1922-2022. We are on the centenary of the disappearance of Giovanni Basile CaramiaFounder of the Agricultural school in his hometown, Locorotondo. With his testamentary decisions announced on the day of his death, April 11, 1922, he began the path of a school reality that would mark the cultural and socio-economic life of our territory and beyond. The first seat of the school, the 19th century building of the Ferragnano farm, built in 1811 by the locorotondese Francesco Caramia, born from the marriage between Giuseppe Caramia di Martina Franca and Maria Maddalena Pinto, widow of the well-being Vito Antonio Montanaro, to it. the Masseria originally belonged. By a will of 1847, Francesco Caramia named the little Giovanni Basile, about four years old, as his general heir, who adopted the family name Caramia.

The centenary of the founder’s death is our reason for a quick survey of some of the school’s evolutionary stages, managed by the institution from the beginning. “Basile-Caramia“. Born with the intention of providing agricultural education to the children of poor farmers in its commune, it developed in three phases. The first was that of rooting. The school, inaugurated on March 21, 1937, opened in 1946. -47 from a modest two-year vocational training and an agricultural type from 1946-47 transformed into a 3-year school, from 1951-52 into an approved Agricultural Technical Institute, from 1958-59 into a state agricultural technical institute. 1953-54 she became with their first four classes moved to a new building, completed only in their first wing.In July 1959 he received the specialization course in viticulture and oenology, unique in Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.

Founder Giovanni Basile Caramia (Reproduction Photo Michele Giacovelli)

The roots of the school continued through the sixties and seventies on a structural, institutional and organizational level. Let us think about the creation of the didactic cellar; the expansion and expansion of the school building; to the publication in ’63 of the bi-monthly magazine “Apulian review of wine and agricultural techniques”; when the boarding school was opened in 1965, with its first 18 students. Among the main figures of this first phase: Prof. Giuseppe Boccardi, technical director of the organization, didactic director of the school and then first director; the Prefectural Commissioner of the Ente Pietro Curione; the pastor don Orazio Scatigna, president of the institution and then of the institute council; the main professors Angelo Giorgio Mutinati and Felice Petruzzi.

With the second phase, which began in the 80s, the institute expanded its wings in the territory, offering the requalification of the overall education of the students. Attention to the territory, already in the 70’s, was now built structurally into the strategic and operational scenario of the school. Among the initiatives: 1984-85 the beginning of the didactic experiments of the specialization course Viticulture and Oenology; 1986, the didactic experiments of the project “Cerere 90”; the following year the revival of the magazine with the new title “Cerere” e Participation in the founding of the Center for Research and Experiments in Agriculture, today under the leadership. Michele Lisi.

The third phase began in the early 1990s, when the school, which was then merged in 1997 with the similar “Francesco Gigante” of Alberobello, declined from the narrow local connection to wider European territories. Just think of the exchange in Strasbourg for the definition of the “Europea” project and the consistent establishment of the European Association. At the beginning of this new phase, the competent and passionate teamwork of the school inspector Giuseppe Murolo, the head prof. Martino Pastore, by Vice-Principal Prof. Vincenzo Cervellera and the Dean of ITAS by Remedello Prof. Luigi Mattioli. Achievements ranged from post-graduate courses to higher education and training courses (IFTS). In 2010, the Institute acted as Lead Partner in the founding of a Higher Technical Institute (ITS) Agroalimentare – Puglia (Polo di Locorotondo), current President Prof. Vito Nicola Savino. To support these processes, among others the later schoolchildren Giovanni Cardone, Marcello Ruggieri and Raffaele Fragassi. Today, it is the professor who takes over the legacy of this complex journey Angelinda GrisetaSchool Director of the IISS “Basile Caramia-Gigante”, continuously committed to promoting ever more qualified education in the name of innovation and the broadening of operational horizons.

The committee responsible for organizing the Centenary Celebration Day (June 15) has one of its main intentions since its inception, to give the event an opportunity to relaunch the school with renewed vigor and updated joint planning. This is evidenced by the planned passages: from the greetings of the various school and political authorities to the various interventions not only on the historical aspects but also on the current physiognomy of the school and on the new development perspectives.

Of course, if today this kingThe school has become prestigious, thanks to the persistent will of dozens of administrators, principals and teachers, who have joined together with the sole aim of bringing training places ever closer to those of production and the world of work. Proof of this are the various successes and awards that it still enjoys today for its intense and unobtrusive activity.

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

The centenary celebrations prompted the institute to make in detail the long journey with a specific publication, which collects various special contributions, under the title: From poor farmers to European citizens. From the will of Giovanni Basile Caramia to higher education in agriculture – AGA, Alberobello. This volume reinforces the crossing and arms of the fabric of a school, always new because it is constantly revised, and brings out the merits of the many weavers who have always been united by a deep “sense of community.”. The teacher, several times, noticed this in her Introduction to the volume, to which he added: “Common feeling is what has always distinguished our school community: finding us to remember Giovanni Basile Caramia on the centenary of his death means celebrating 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. His merit was to intervene on the link that linked poverty, lack of education and economic backwardness. A great lesson in civilization, guarded by his homeland.

If today Locorotondo is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, it is also because of the beauty of the testamentary choices of Giovanni Basile Caramia.

[Articolo pubblicato sulla rivista Agorà, numero Giugno 2022]

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