Lista QR Code

The schools of Montesca and Rovigliano and the meeting with Maria Montessori

Collezione tessile di “Tela Umbra”

The rural schools of the Franchetti’s symbolised an absolute innovation as much for their social impact as for their profound vibrant teaching. They were open to the children of the tenant farmers, so that they could have access to education and therefore liberate themselves from the agricultural sharecropping system which was still semi-feudal, thus improving their social position.

Villa Montesca was the residence and the centre of activity for the Franchetti’s: it was here that a lively intellectual circle gathered of a high level and in 1901 the free elementary school for the children of the farmers was born, driven by the movement of educational reform called the “Modern Schools”, popular all over Europe at the end of the 19th century. The Montesca School, together with that of Rovigliano created in 1902, represent a heritage unique to the world of ideas, practices and activism that has strongly characterised the local development of the Alta Valle del Tevere area.

In 1909 Alice and Leopoldo visited the Children’s Home in Rome where they met the young Maria Montessori, who was experimenting with a new approach to problems with learning. The interest of the Barons in the work of Maria Montessori was so great that they invited her to Montesca and they asked her to write about her method, offering to publish it. The was how the first edition of Il metodo della pedagogia scientifica applicato all’educazione infantile nelle Case dei Bambini was born, edited in 1909 in Città di Castello by the Typography Publishing House “Scipione Lapi” at the request of and financed by Leopoldo and Alice Franchetti. Shortly after its publication, from the 1st to the 31st August 1909, Maria Montessori held the first Course of scientific pedagogy at Montesca, bringing teachers from all over Italy to participate as well as the teachers of the schools of Montesca and Rovigliano.

The Montesca and Rovigliano schools were extremely modern. Approaches were experimented that favoured the close relationship between the school and the external world, characterised by the system of the observation of nature and natural events; the introduction of conservation as a method of reciprocal growth; the concept of learning environments and of community that educates.

Thanks to the ties that Baroness Alice had with academics from all over the world, the learning and educative experience at the Montesca and Rovigliano rural schools even gained international status.