The Info List - Liceo Classico

--- Advertisement ---

Liceo classico
Liceo classico
(classical lyceum) is the oldest, public secondary school type in Italy. The educational curriculum lasts five years, and students are generally about 14 to 19 years of age. Due to its rigorous curriculum and numerous notable alumni, it is considered, together with the scientifical counterpart, the most prestigious secondary school students can attend throughout Italy. Until 1969, this was the only secondary education track that allowed a student access to any kind of Italian university (including humanities and jurisprudence). It is known as a social scientific and humanistic school, one of the few European secondary school types where the study of ancient languages ( Latin
and ancient Greek) and their literature are compulsory. Until 1968, any professor of Latin
and Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
had to take a written test with an Interlinear Translation (morpheme by morpheme) directly from Latin
to Greek, or from Greek to Latin. Liceo Classico was born in 1859
with the scholastic reform of Gabrio Casati. The Gentile Reform created the Gymnasium, a five-years school (for students from 11 to 16), with a final test at the end of the second year of the secondary school. The test was written and oral, to be admitted to the three last years of Liceo. In the last two years of Gymnasium (IV e V), each student's class may have the same teacher, for 18 teaching hours on 30 in a week (Latin, Greek, Italian, History, Geography). Since 1960s, all presbyters and bishops of the Catholic Church studied in five(six)-years Seminary Minor, and since 1990s at the Seminary Major (after the secondary school), the same matters of Liceo Classico (Theoretical Philosophy, Latin
and Greek grammar and literature, English), with many others: Ethics, Psychology, Pedagogy
and Didactic method, Sociology, Hebrew Language, Biblical criticism, Koine Greek (the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic period
and Septuagint
Bible), Pastoral theology, Christian ethics
Christian ethics
and Systematic theology, Antropology
and Eschatology, Sacramentarian theology, Christology
and Trinitarian theology, Mariology, Patristics, Ecclesiology, History
of Christianity, History of Religions, Canon law, Liturgy.


1 Subjects 2 Notable alumni

2.1 Politicians 2.2 Professors 2.3 Artists

3 See also 4 References

Subjects[edit] A liceo classico offers a wide selection of subjects, but the central subjects are those related to literature. Several hours are also dedicated to the study of history and philosophy. The liceo classico's distinctive subjects are history, Latin
and ancient Greek. In Italy, Latin
is taught in other kinds of schools as well, like liceo scientifico, Liceo delle Scienze Umane and few others with linguistic specializations. However, ancient Greek is taught only in the liceo classico. Another peculiarity of the liceo classico is how the years of course are called: in all the other Italian five-year secondary schools, the years are referred to with increasing numbers from 1 to 5. In liceo classico the first two years are called ginnasio; the name comes from the Greek gymnasion (training ground). The first year is called "4th year of ginnasio", and the second year is referred to as "5th year of ginnasio" because, until the reform of 1962, this course of study started just after a three-year middle school ("scuola media inferiore"). By 1963, the first three years were suppressed and integrated in the 'unified secondary school', where Latin
was mandatory as a subject to access the high schools until 1975. The remaining three years of liceo classico are referred as "1st, 2nd and 3rd year of liceo". However, nowadays this habit is waning, even though the names of the different years are still colloquially used. This naming system comes from the Gentile reform of the fascist regime, named after Giovanni Gentile, an Italian philosopher and politician, who had planned an eight-year school career (five years of ginnasio and three of liceo) that could be accessed by passing a test after the fifth year of elementary school. There was also another test between the ginnasio and the liceo. Several reforms changed the Italian school system in about 1940 and 1960; the first three years of ginnasio were separated and became an independent kind of school. In 1968, the compulsory test which had to be taken at the end of the ginnasio to enter the liceo was abolished, so the liceo classico got the structure it has today. In 2010, the Gelmini reform changed the traditional Italian school system, so now students follow this specific pattern of courses that covers a large range of disciplines:

Italian grammar and literature (all five years) History
(all five years) Latin
language, grammar (the two years of ginnasio) and literature (the three years of liceo) Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
language, grammar (the two years of ginnasio) and literature (the three years of liceo) Mathematics
(all five years) History
of Art (three years, during the liceo; still, some high schools offer a five-year, in-depth history of art program) Philosophy
(the three years of liceo) Physics
(the three years of liceo) Biology, chemistry and natural science (all five years) English grammar (all five years) and literature (the three years of liceo) Catholic religion instruction (optional) Physical education
Physical education
(all five years) Geography
(two years, during the ginnasio)

However, nowadays it is common to find licei offering (together with this programme of studies) courses in music theory and history of music or an in-depth course in science or maths, for one or two hours a week every year. At the end, students must pass the Esame di Stato (until 1999 denominated Esame di maturità) to obtain their certificate.

Subjects 1º Biennial 2º Biennial V year

I year II year III year IV year

Italian language
Italian language
and literature 4 4 4 4 4

Latin 5 5 4 4 4

Ancient Greek 4 4 3 3 3

English 3 3 3 3 3

and geography 3 3 - - -

History - - 3 3 3

Philosophy - - 3 3 3

Mathematics* 3 3 2 2 2

Physics - - 2 2 2

Natural science** 2 2 2 2 2

of art - - 2 2 2

Physical education 2 2 2 2 2

Catholic religion instruction or other activities[1] 1 1 1 1 1

Weekly lesson hours 27 27 31 31 31

*with computer lab at first biennial **Biology, chemistry and earth science

Notable alumni[edit] Politicians[edit]

Sergio Mattarella, President Giorgio Napolitano, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, President Francesco Cossiga, President Mario and Enrico Berlinguer, Politician Sandro Pertini, President Giovanni Leone, President Antonio Segni, President Luigi Einaudi, President Enrico De Nicola, President Alcide De Gasperi, President Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Prime Minister Mario Monti, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema, Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, Prime Minister Aldo Moro, Prime Minister Giovanni Spadolini, Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani, Prime Minister Mariano Rumor, Prime Minister Ciriaco De Mita, Prime Minister Tina Anselmi, Politician Nilde Jotti, Politician Angela Gotelli, Politician


Giovanni Gentile, Philosopher Benedetto Croce, Philosopher Giovanni Reale, Catholic Philosopher, Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Linguist and Philologist

Piero Calamandrei, Lawyer Giuseppe Capograssi, Lawyer

Ettore Maiorana, Scientist Enrico Fermi, Scientist and Nobel Carlo Rubbia, Scientist and Nobel Rita Levi Montalcini, Scientist and Nobel Renato Dulbecco, Scientist and Nobel Giulio Natta, Scientist and Nobel

Fabiola Gianotti, Physicist Piero Angela, Science Journalist Antonio Zichichi, Scientist Margherita Hack, Scientist and Science Journalist

Giuseppe Peano, Mathematician, inventor of Latino sine flexione Piero Sraffa, Jewish Economist Franco Modigliani, Jewish Economist Guido Carli, Economist

Gad Lerner, Jewish, Journalist Francesco Alberoni, Sociologist Tullio De Mauro, Italian Linguist Giacomo Debenedetti, Writer and Literary Critic Giuseppe Pontiggia, Writer and Literary Critic Lorenzo Rocci, Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Philologist and Linguist Dario Del Corno (1933-2010), ancient Greek Linguist and Philologist Dino Pieraccioni (1920-1989), Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Linguist and Philologist Vincenzo Di Benedetto, Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Philologist Giulio Guidorizzi (1948), Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Linguist and Philologist Lucian Canfora, Classicist and Historian Oreste Badellino (1896-1975), Latin
Linguist and Philologist Ferruccio Calonghi (1866-1945), Latin
Linguist and Philologist Luigi Castiglioni (1882-1965), Latin
Linguist and Philologist Scevola Mariotti (1920-2000), Latin
Linguist and Philologist Gian Biagio Conte (1941), Latin
Linguist and Philologist


Lucio Battisti, Singer Andrea Bocelli, Singer Cristiano De Andre, Singer Roberto Vecchioni, Singer Renato Zero, Singer Anna Marchesini, Comic Actress Paolo Villaggio, Catholic Comedian and Actor

See also[edit]

Italy portal Schools portal

List of schools in Italy Lyceum (Classical) Liceo linguistico, language lyceum Liceo scientifico, scientific lyceum List of Italian Hellenicists Gymnasium (Germany)


^ namely, for students who decide not to