The roots, the wings, the flight of an Agricultural School


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

for Donato Bagnardi

1922-2022. We are on the centenary of the demise 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 aimed at marking the cultural and socio-economic life of our territory, and beyond. The first headquarters of the School, the 19th century building of the Ferragnano farm, built in 1811 by the locorotondess Francesco Caramia, born from the marriage between Giuseppe Caramia di Martina Franca and Maria Maddalena Pinto, widow of the benefactor Vito Antonio Montanaro, to whom the Masseria originally belonged. With a will of 1847 Francesco Caramia appointed as universal heir the little Giovanni Basile, about four years old, who also assumed the surname of Caramia.

The centenary of the death of the founder gives us reasons to make a quick review of some of the evolutionary stages of the School, administered by the institution since its inception. “Basile-Caramia“. Born with the intention of offering agricultural education to the children of poor farmers in his municipality, it evolved in three phases. The first was that of rooting. Inaugurated on March 21, 1937, the School passed d a modest two-year vocational training course in an agricultural modality from 1946-47 to a three-year school, from 1951-52 to an approved Agricultural Technical Institute, from 1958-59 to a State Agricultural Technical Institute. 54, with his first four classes, moved it to a new building, just finished in its first wing.In July 1959 he obtained the specialization course in Viticulture and Oenology, unique in Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.

The founder Giovanni Basile Caramia (reproduction of the photo Michele Giacovelli)

The School’s roots continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s at a structural, institutional, and organizational level. We think of the creation of the didactic winery; the expansion and erection of the school building; to the publication in the year 63 of the bimonthly magazine “Apulia Review of wine and agricultural techniques”; when the boarding school was activated in 1965, with its first 18 students. Among the protagonists 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 rector don Orazio Scatigna, president of the institution and after the council of the institute; professors Angelo Giorgio Mutinati and Felice Petruzzi.

With the second phase, which began in the 1980s, the Institute spread its wings throughout the territory, proposing the reclassification of the overall training of students. The attention to the territory, already present in the seventies, is now structurally inserted in the strategic and operational scenario of the School. Among the initiatives: in 1984-85, the beginning of the didactic experimentation of the specialization course in Viticulture and Oenology; in 1986, the didactic experimentation of the “Cerere 90” project; the following year, the resurgence of the magazine with the new title of “Cerere” e participation in the constitution of the Center for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture, today chaired by rag. Michele Lisi.

The third phase began in the early 1990s, when the School, then unified in 1997 with the similar “Francesco Gigante” of Alberobello, took off from the narrow local precincts into the wider European territories. One only has to think about the exchanges in Strasbourg for the definition of the project called “Europe” and the consequent constitution of the European Association. At the beginning of this new phase, the competent and passionate teamwork of the school inspector Giuseppe Murolo, the director prof. Martino Pastore, of the deputy director prof. Vincenzo Cervellera and the dean of ITAS of Remedello prof. Luigi Mattioli. Among other achievements, it went from postgraduate courses to higher education and training courses (IFTS). In 2010, the Institute participated as a leading partner in the creation of the Foundation of a Higher Technical Institute (ITS) Agroalimentare – Puglia (Polo di Locorotondo), current president prof. Vito Nicola Savino. To support these processes, among others, later school principals Giovanni Cardone, Marcello Ruggieri and Raffaele Fragassi. Today it is the teacher who receives the legacy of this complex journey Angelinda Grisetadirector of the IISS “Basile Caramia-Gigante” school, he is constantly committed to promoting increasingly qualified training in the name of innovation and the expansion of operational horizons.

The Commission in charge of organizing the day of the celebration of the centenary (June 15) has had one of its main intentions since its inauguration to make the event an opportunity to relaunch the School with renewed vigor and an updated shared schedule. This is evidenced by the planned passages: from the greeting of the different 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 perspectives of development.

Of course, if today this kingThe school has acquired prestige thanks to the tenacious will of dozens of administrators, directors and teachers who have succeeded each other with the sole aim of bringing training spaces closer to those of production and the world of work. Proof of this are the different successes and awards that he still enjoys today for his intense and relentless activity.

1936-37 – On the right, the 19th century building of the Masseria Ferragnano. First headquarters of the Agricultural School of Locorotondo (Paola Boccardi Archive)

The centenary event prompted the Institute to give a detailed account of the long journey made with a specific publication that includes several specialized contributions, entitled: From poor farmers to European citizens. From the will of Giovanni Basile Caramia to Higher Education in Agriculture – AGA, Alberobello. This volume enhances the warp and weft of the fabric of a School, always new because it is constantly being reviewed, and draws the merit of the many weavers, who have always been united by a deep “sense of community.”. The director, on several occasions, notices this in his Introduction in the volume, where he adds: “Common feeling is what has always distinguished our school community: to find ourselves remembering Giovanni Basile Caramia on the centenary of his death means to celebrate School and Formation.”

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

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

[Foto in evidenza da Donato Bagnardi. Roma 2007 – Presentazione del libro: Murolo G., Fatti e figure dell’insegnamento agrario, Reda, 2007. Da destra: si riconoscono il prof. Martino Pastore, all’epoca presidente del CRSFA e già preside (il primo) e l’ispettore scolastico Giuseppe Murolo (il terzo). Da sinistra: il vicepreside prof. Vincenzo Cervellera (il secondo)]

[Articolo pubblicato sulla rivista Agorà, numero Giugno 2022]

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