‘FAI Autumn Days’: six schools that belong to the history of the territory are open to visitors in Ferrara and in the province

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October 2022 the eleventh edition

FERRARA – Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October 2022 the FAI Autumn Days return for the eleventh edition, the great street event that FAI – the Italian Environment Fund ETS – dedicates every year to the cultural and landscape heritage of our country.

The event is animated and promoted by the FAI Youth Groups, with the participation of all the Delegations, the FAI Groups and the FAI Bridge Groups between widespread and active cultures throughout Italy.

There are 700 places that will open in this edition, in 350 Italian cities, inaccessible or under-valued contexts or known only for their function and not for their historical, architectural and cultural significance.

The Ferrara delegation led by the manager Barbara Pazi and by the regional delegate Carla Di Francesco on 10 October presented the local program in the presence of the councilors Marco Gulinelli for Ferrara, Enrico Belletti for Portomaggiore e Silvia Bidoli percent.

This edition opens the doors of some schools that have marked the history of the city and the province from the beginning of the twentieth century to today, taking advantage of a suggestion from the national FAI, aimed at deepening the themes and places that are fundamental for our society, such as EDUCATION and EDUCATION (schools, universities or research centers of particular historical, artistic or cultural value, including for innovation).

In his speech the Councilor for Culture Gulinelli, – recalling how the Municipality of Ferrara is a member of the FAI – he stressed the importance that the environments present in our daily life – such as schools and institutes of the last century – are also seen as “unexpected” factors to rediscover the value of the places in our territory , praising FAI’s choice to place the role of places dedicated to education and dissemination of knowledge at the center of its 2022 agenda. The FAI plays a fundamental role in enhancing the past in a future perspective, especially for the younger generation – not surprisingly represented here by the students of the Student TG of the Einaudi Institute – but it also has a value in a “today” made of value of ideas, such as the FAI Days confirmed by the eleven cumulative editions.

There are six open sites:
– in Ferrara: the (former) Alfonso Varano elementary school, now the seat of the Vergani-Navarra Institute; the “Luigi Einaudi” IPSCT School (formerly T. Bonati); Palazzo Tassoni, seat of the Department of Architecture of Ferrara
– in Portomaggiore: the Ida and Rina Nigrisoli Kindergarten and the Maria Montessori Primary School
– in Cento: the Giovanni Pascoli municipal schools

Visitors will be accompanied to all the sites, except for Palazzo Tassoni in Ferrara and the G. Pascoli Municipal Schools in Cento, by young “Ciceroni Apprentices”: in the nursery and elementary schools of Portomaggiore, of the Comprehensive IIS Rita Levi Montalcini of Argenta and Portomaggiore (IV of the technical, technological and economic institute of Portomaggiore; III, IV and V of the traditional high school; class IV scientific high school of applied sciences); at the Alfonso Varano School, by the students of the IISGB Aleotti institute (III, IV, V class) and at the IPSCT Einaudi institute by a mixed group formed by the students of the same institute L. Einaudi (V class) and those of the Aleotti above cited. At Palazzo Tassoni and at the G. Pascoli Municipal Schools, visitors will be accompanied by FAI delegates and volunteers.

Visits will be possible from 10 to 13 and from 14.30 to 18 on both days, done except for Saturday 15 at Einaudi, where the first visit will leave at 11.30; the reservation it is no longer needed and groups will be trained on site.

THE FILE edited by the FAI Delegation of Ferrara

Why is it worth visiting the sites proposed by the delegation in these Autumn Days?
First of all because we all have a bond with the school, especially elementary, when we saw everything big, the doors, the corridors, the classrooms, when our perception was only in the stomach.
Because today that we are more adults we can understand the immense importance that school buildings assume in the social fabric of a community, as container and content, for training, education and innovation.

The school teaches us the importance of knowledge in the broadest sense of the term and the enhancement of our cities and our assets as a testimony of our identity and civilization.
That said, on the occasion of the FAI autumn days, visitors will be able to ‘return’ to school, discovering its history, projects, intellectual value and cultural richness.

The path addressed in this edition of the Autumn Days therefore, is all aimed at the places of Education: different cases with a single purpose, education and the education of minds, from kindergarten to university.

The history of the sites chosen also offers us various points for discussion: the schools built in an empty or emptied urban lot, of shape and size as per the requirements of the Government Regulations in force at the time, which still maintain their intended use today; the reconversion of a residential building that maintains its identity to accommodate the youngest children in a sort of other home; the demolition of part of a historic section to make way for a modern building; the recovery of a building compromised by the change of intended use.


Alfonso Varano elementary school
The Alfonso Varano elementary school is in via Ghiara at number 25, built between 1912 and 1913 on a project by engineer. Duprà, was born as a school and maintains its intended use until today, with the exception of the years of the two world wars of the twentieth century. where it is destined for a military hospital. The size of the classrooms, in plan and in height, of the corridors and ancillary rooms (premises for the Management, latrines, etc.) refers to the requirements of the Government Regulations in force at the time. The importance and charm of this container lies in the fact that it has been so since its construction and that it is made thinking about how children could feel good, wide-ranging spaces and open spaces to breathe well. Currently the school is owned by the Province of Ferrara and is the seat of the Higher Education Institute, ‘Vergani Navarra’.

the “Luigi Einaudi” IPSCT School (formerly T. Bonati)
The Luigi Einaudi Institute of Higher Education is located in Ferrara, in via Savonarola, at number 32, in an area full of historic buildings of great value that have existed since the beginning of the 15th century. The school complex is owned by the Municipality of Ferrara, given in concession to the Province of Ferrara since 1999. The building was built in 1906 on a project by the chief engineer of the Municipality of Ferrara, ing. Giacomo Duprà, as the seat of the ‘Teodoro Bonati’ technical schools for men and women. The building has a T conformation. This planimetric configuration is typical of a series of seven school models, of different order and degree, developed in that period by Eng. Duprà, these models were divided into one or two-storey buildings, with separate entrances for pupils of both sexes, they were sober in the decorations, but functional planimetrically. About forty were built in the Ferrara area.

Tassoni Estense Palace
Palazzo Tassoni is located in Ferrara in a very important sector of the city, from the historical point of view and its evolution; it was built around the 80s of the fifteenth century within the urban Addition commissioned by Duke Borso d’Este in 1451. Some historical notes report that in 1482 a house “suxo la Ghiara” was built by Rainaldo de Rainaldo, in name of Condolmiero Condolmieri, chamberlain of Duke Ercole d’Este, who was assassinated in the same year. Following this event, the palace became available to the Duke Ercole who donated it, in 1487, to Sigismondo Cantelamo, and then in 1491, it became the residence of Count Giulio Estense Tassoni, hence the name of the palace. Today the building is the seat of the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara, and it can certainly be said that following the recovery and restoration work necessary for the establishment of the faculty, it has regained its dignity and space. Palazzo Tassoni is the perfect example of the enhancement of a cultural asset, to achieve this goal an in-depth path of research was carried out, study of the factory, through the archive documentation and the traces found on site, and comparison between the different disciplines involved in the project. A study path still in progress.

Montessori Elementary School
The Montessori elementary school is located in the historic center of Portomaggiore, overlooking Piazza XX Settembre, in the center of which stands the monument to the fallen of the First World War. The building was built between 1920-1930, with the project of the municipal technical office preserved in the historical archive, to be used as a primary school. Today it is the only elementary complex in the Municipality of Portomaggiore with about 300 students. The horseshoe configuration is the original one. It develops between Via G. Mazzini, Via Roma and the Piazza.
The even symbolic importance of the building can be read in its central location and in the sober architecture. In 1992 the school was affected by works to adapt to fire prevention regulations and to remove architectural barriers. In 2020 the school was the subject of further works for seismic improvement and regulatory compliance. The project, in agreement with the Superintendency, was of a conservative type, paying the utmost attention to the conservation of the architectural features of the original project.

Nigrisoli Nursery School
The Nigrisoli nursery school and its large park are located at the end of the tree-lined avenue of the station in the center of Portomaggiore. Today, as in 1915, the year the kindergarten was inaugurated, the entrance gate is aligned with the magnificent avenue of lime trees. The school, under the direction of the Nigrisoli sisters, found a worthy location in the Villa Roversi, “the white house”, with a large park and garden, which allowed the teachers to pursue an enlightened educational path.
To better understand this place it is necessary to refer to the innovative pedagogy applied by the sisters Nigrisoli, Rina and Ida (1885-1965) teachers, educators and nature lovers. The kindergarten becomes a place where responsibility is educated with free teaching and free thought. The school welcomed children from poor families, aged 3 to 5, in large classes of about 40 pupils made up of both boys and girls. The game was the means by which to discover the world and the fundamental laws of nature. Living in the open air, exploring nature, doing manual activities such as gardening, vegetable garden, keeping farm animals. They sing, listen to music and poetry. The older ones help the little ones in the personal care business. This method was appreciated nationally, with the applause of the then Minister for Education G. Lombardo Radice.

Municipal Schools G. Pascoli
The G. Pascoli Municipal Schools are located in Cento and overlook the suggestive Piazzale della Rocca di Cento. The building currently houses the primary and secondary schools of Istituto Comprensivo 2.
Founded in 1914, the school originally bore the generic name of “Municipal Schools” and had to fulfill the ambitious task of welcoming and gathering the very young students not only from Cento, but also from neighboring towns. On the other hand, the current dedication to the great Italian poet “G. Pastures “.

The structure has two courtyards: a short courtyard of gravel in front, separated from the Piazzale della Rocca by a low wall with grating, and a wider internal courtyard behind. Inside, there is the remarkable monumental staircase, dating back to the original structure of the building’s foundation years.

The Ferrara delegation thanks for their collaboration and availability, in particular those who host us, the municipalities concerned – Cento, Ferrara, Portomaggiore, the aforementioned Scholastic Institutes, the Ferrara Department of Architecture, school administrators, teachers, apprentice guides, the passionate volunteers of the delegation with the Youth Group and all those who make our events possible.

‘FAI Autumn Days’: six schools that belong to the history of the territory are open to visitors in Ferrara and in the province