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History and traditions

​​​​​​The Military School of Nunziatella was founded in Naples, on the hill of Pizzofalcone, in 1787 by King Ferdinando IV of Borbone. For the need to educate the future Officers, it referred to the previous institutions of Carlo of Borbone such as the "Real Academia de los Guardias Estendartes de las Galeras" (1735), the Artillery Academy (1745), the Academy of the military Engineer Corps (1754) and the Royal Military Academy (1769). Later it was flanked by a specific Institute for the military education of the cadets, the Real Ferdinando Battalion (1771), where the studies are oriented to mathematics and military art. That Institute was then renamed "Royal Academy of the Real Ferdinando Battalion", with 810 cadets divided into nine companies, in order to give the officers a humanistic, scientific and military preparation. Among all these military institutions of Naples Kingdom, there were finally the Royal Paggeria and the Military College.

When the armed forces were entrusted to John Acton, the desire of developing and improving the officers' education led up to use the experiences of military education gained in France, Germany and Austria. A group of officers from Naples, led by the First Lieutenant Giuseppe Parisi (1745-1831) studied the models and the characteristics of those institutes. When it came back to Naples, it elaborated a report that reinforced the king's desire to create a new academy. King Ferdinando IV founded the Royal Military Academy and abolished the previous institutes; Prince Francesco Pignatelli of Strongoli was appointed as the Academy Governor while Marquis Domenico Leonessa of Supino became the Commander. It was destined for the ancient Jesuits' novitiate, on the hill of Pizzofalcone in 1587, named Nunziatella as the Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary of the Annunciation. After the restoration, the lessons started on 18th November 1787. There were nine classes; the last two classes were dedicated to special knowledge concerning the different weapons. In 1798 the educational method was established: its main aim was to train body, mind and heart; it was necessary evoking interest for the knowledge through the acquisition of the capability to think and judge. In particular, literature, history and Latin were studied, as well as physics and chemistry, topography and fortifications, flanked to exercises. Religion and ethics were also important.

When the Republic of Naples was proclaimed in 1799, the School was named National Military Academy. After the restauration of the monarchy, the Academy was temporary suppressed because of the collaboration of some teachers and officers with the Republic constituted by the French invasion; but the king permitted to continue some activities with a small group of cadets. Later the Nunziatella School restarted its institutional function. Lieutenant Colonel Giuseppe Saverio Poli became President. After the French occupation, Poli moved to Palermo along with the court, but the activities continued with the new name chosen by Giuseppe Bonaparte. It became polytechnic and military Royal School by decree of Gioacchino Murat that reorganized the path into four years and appointed Colonel Francesco Costanzo as Commander.

When Ferdinando IV of Borbone retook the power, the Nunziatella School continued to carry out its duties with the previous organization, only changing the name into Military Polytechnic Royal Institute. In 1819 it was changed again in Military Royal Academy, aiming to prepare the officers for the Artillery, the Engineer and the General Staff, and it was flanked by the Military Royal Academy (for the officers of the other Corps) and the Military Schools (for the Non-Commissioned Officers). In 1823 it was reorganized in eight years and with a great reserve of positions for orphans or children of meritorious officers. From 1835 to 1844 the Nunziatella School had to train the officers of the Navy.

After the revolutions in 1848, when many teachers fought for the ideals of liberty, King Ferdinando II ordered to move the Nunziatella to Maddaloni (near the Palace of Caserta) where he wanted to transfer the court. The exile in Maddaloni started in 1855, after restoration and enlargement interventions begun four years before. The Nunziatella remained in Maddaloni until 1859 when General Carlo Filangieri was authorized by King Francesco II to return to Naples. At the end of the Reign of the Two Sicily, officers and ex-cadets of Nunziatella intervened on different fronts, some of them (Pietro Quandel or Francesco Traversa) in the regular army for the resistance in the fortress of Gaeta, while others (such as Enrico Cosenz and Giuseppe Ferrarelli) with Garibaldi. With the political unification of Italy the School was named Military College in Naples, becoming a secondary institute for the cadets preparation to the Academies in Turin and Modena. After a difficult period, when the courses were reduced to two and in 1873 there was the proposal to close the School, the Nunziatella increased the number of the cadets (1877); later the study plan was changed and the courses lasted five years. Among its cadets in 1881 there was also the inheriting Prince Vittorio Emanuele. After the reform in 1908 the Nunziatella assumed its current structure: two study courses of three years, the classical one and the technical-scientific one. For the admission the students have to be aged between 14 and 17; the scholastic programs were those of the high schools, in addition to an intense gymnastic-sport activity. At the end of the course the cadets could enter the Academy of Modena without any exams, or to the Artillery and Navy Academy passing a mathematics test. Since then the School had a new relaunch determined by the significant contribution of ex-Cadets (among which Duke Amedeo of Savoy-Aosta) in the Great War. The officers of Nunziatella, renamed Military School of Naples in 1936, distinguished in Eritrea and Ethiopia. During the Second World War (when 22 ex cadets received a golden medal), for security reasons, the School was temporary moved to Benevento (1943). Since 1944 the lessons started again in some old places. Prevented the closure, the Nunziatella restarted its activities, firstly as Military College in Naples and later (since 1953) with its current name of Nunziatella Military School.