from Stately Palace to School

The Palazzo Bevere building, later also called ‘Palazzo Gambacorta’, named after the family who bought it from the previous owners, is situated in the historic centre of the town, facing with its main façade the small front square, called “Largo Bevere”, next to “Piazza San Francesco”.

The current building is the result of numerous transformations occurred over the centuries, which have significantly changed the structure and its vocation of use, from palace to boarding school and then to ginnasio-middle school.

The first detailed and valuable description concerning Palazzo Bevere dates back to the mid-nineteenth century thanks to a letter written to the King by Lorenzo Bevere, the then property owner, on 19 January 1844, which allowed to assume its construction between the years 1795 and 1801.

Also the book “L’anagrafe della città di Ariano di Puglia” by Felice Mazza (Ariano, 1888) includes a note related to Casa Bevere, marked under the Map number 624 – at that time transformed into a Boarding School “Convitto P.P. Parzanese” of which Nicola Flammia in “Città di Ariano dalla sua origine sino all’anno (1893)” writes extensively:

“As seen from the wall circuit, the oldest houses were situated in the centre, and they still stand. Among them is Casa Bevere, where now is the Convittto and Ginnasio Parzanese (boarding school and gymnasium). The building covered with bricks has beautiful paintings in the salon, made two centuries ago by P.Bevere, today the premises have been a bit spoiled”.

The author, by describing the ‘Convitto P.P. Parzanese ‘, notes that:

“It was opened by Luparella Giuseppe, in January 1883, within the Palazzo Bevere. To increase its prestige, he obtained from the town hall the Ginnasio-schools would move from the Seminary to the same room on the ground floor, and committed the City to pay him annual rent of L.450. The Convitto would then become a centre for youth education and encounter, if it were not born with the aim of being an electoral and private interest instrument in fact, many quarrels arose because of the illegal mixing of the Convitto with the Ginnasio, two different bodies: the first one private, the second one public. Therefore, it proceeded unsteadily in the early years owing to bad direction, and at risk of closing. Direction is better now. There is a fair number of young boys”.

But in other documents of the time, it is noted that:

“After the ‘60s, with the liberation
of southern Italy from the servitude of the Bourbon dynasty, education began to be the instrument of excellence for intellectual and civil education. While teaching, such as that which reflected our best traditions – the same traditions in which our fathers had regained the feeling of freedom and independence – became the foundation of culture and national education”

Those early years of free life, between 1860 and 1870, saw the establishment of the Ginnasio in Ariano di Puglia, after the suppression of the order of Scolopi. On March 11, 1866, at the expense of the City our Institute was opened to the public in the premises of the Ex Seminary, adjacent to the bishop’s palace, under the name of ‘Ginnasio - Convitto Governativo’.The torch of the national culture reappeared, and Ariano, shook the torpor that had nearly made extinguish all energies, was heading to its renewal.

On December 16, 1882, on the proposal of lawyer Giuseppe Luparella, Councilor of Public Education of that year, a man of great ideas, largely carried out with the aim of making Ariano a centre for industrial activities and studies, the Municipal Administration resolved for equalization of the Ginnasio-school.

In January 1883, the Ginnasio-school was moved to the new premises of Palazzo Bevere, and was provided with a fair amount of school supplies, small collections of natural history and an indoor gym. Following favorable inspections, on September 30, 1907, His Majesty signed a Decree declaring our Ginnasio-school to be “Regio” (Royal).

On September 15, 1915, the ‘Magistrale Course’ was established, which flanking and integrating the R.Ginnasio, began its regular operation in the same year, on October 1st, and was housed in the ground floor of the Palazzo Bevere in six comfortable and well restored classrooms.