Science and Technology:
MITI - Museum of Technology and Industry in Fermo
In the small coastal city of Fermo a most extraordinary educational institution exists. It is the world renowned Istituto Tecnico Industriale di Fermo (The Fermo Industrial Technical Institute). Attached to this is the MITI (Museum of the Industrial Technological Institute), which is one of the main visitor attractions in the area.
The museum, opened in 2012, is housed in the original buildings used by the Institution in the mid-19th century, complete with the original impressive equipment and facilities. There are six rooms covering different aspects of technology and science through history and up to the present day, all clearly labelled and explained.
There is also an extensive library of over 16,000 books dating back many centuries with many extremely valuable editions.
The museum is particularly fascinating (and educational!) also for children. They can touch the exhibits and play games, and, most importantly, carry out hands-on scientific experiments.
The head of the museum is Marco Rotunno, himself a graduate of the Institute. Since his appointment Marco continues to be committed in creating a truly world-class museum with plenty of interactive exhibits and up to date use of information technology.
The History of the Institute (1854)
The modern Institution evolved gradually in the course of the last 150 years, and the path of its evolution can be seen as the story of the emerging state of Italy in microcosm.
The original Institute were quite different from what we see today. On 6th April 1854 a small boarding school for orphans and destitute boys was set up, providing them with basic skills and giving a moral and theological basis for their working lives. The project was funded entirely by the aristocrat from Montefiore, Count Girolamo Montani, and he and his wife, Margherita, had donated all their worldly goods to the project, then known as the ‘Opera Pia’ (Pious Institution). The intention was to produce skilled and morally upright carpenters, coach makers and blacksmiths. Of course girls were not included at that time in history!
Montani was a man of the times and was deeply influenced by the progressive ideas of Napoleon 111 and the Romantic philosophy which was sweeping Europe at the time. He was a patriotic philanthropist who saw the need to improve the lot of the working man. At the same time, he saw the urgent need to bring Italy into the 19th century by educating working people to use emerging technology, and also to take a lead in new science and industry With the unification of Italy in 1861 the school was transformed into the Institute for Arts and Crafts and the architect Giovanni Battista Carducci was employed in the role of director. At the time, Carducci was heading an urban development scheme with the goal of transforming Fermo into a modern European city with a grid system along Parisian lines., with a much more high-level technological curriculum.
Montani and Carducci both had the same aspiration to follow the model of the French ‘Lycee Polytechniques’, which provided young Frenchmen with a good education in science and technology. The then Mayor of Fermo, the Marquis Giuseppe Ignazio Trevisani, also supported the new initiative, and, in 1863 they chose as the new director of the institute the ambitious young French engineer, Ippolito Langlois.
He had been teaching at the Conservatoire d’Arts et Metiers in Paris, but he left Paris to create a new technical school in a small provincial Italian town. He immediately transformed the school by introducing a new syllabus designed to produce skilled craftsmen and engineers to lead the thrust of the new Italy. In 1884 the name changed again, to ‘La Scuola Industriale per Le Marche’.
The school was improved and enlarged with the addition of workshops and laboratories alongside the classrooms to give the students hands-on experience and training. Many important figures in the world of science and technology were teachers in this school, and skilful and successful technicians were nurtured within the walls of the Institute during this period.
In 1907 the school was conferred with a new title, the’ Regio Istituto Industriale’ (The Royal Industrial Institute), giving them the right to award Diplomas to graduates, enabling students to continue their studies at a higher education institute, and the workshops were again improved. Over the next three decades, and particularly under the auspices of the eminent Montefiore lawyer and attorney Guido Egidi (who was president of the Administrative Council between 1928 and 1935), the school went from strength to strength and gained much renown, winning the prestigious silver medal in Bologna in 1930 for its work on aircraft engines.
He was also from a Fermo family who had moved to Montefiore, like the Montanis. Eminent figures from around Italy were appointed as head of each field, and the syllabus expanded to include new areas of study in line with brand new inventions, such as electronics and radio technology. Many of the exhibits in the museum come from this period of expansion.
The syllabus then covered Mechanics, Electrotechnics, engineering, Chemistry and Radio Technology. The school then became the Istituto Tecnico Industriale Statale (I.T.I.S.) G. e M. Montani. Traditionally, it had been known as a place where literature, poetry and history were also important subjects, offered both in classes and in special events.
By the 1940s the range of subjects on offer had expanded to include aeronautics, and in 1971 an Information technology course was added. A few years ago new legislation awarded the institute the title of Istituto Tecnico Tecnologico (I.T.T.). At present there is a section which trains students to guide ships of all sizes by means of a sophisticated simulator which was donated by a big international company and is unique in Europe. It includes a software module for the recovery of large marine oil spills.
The Institute is thriving and continuing to keep abreast of new technology. The number of high level academics and important technological and scientific innovators to have emerged from the institution is testament to the quality of the education they continue to offer here.
Via Padre Marchionni 63900,Fermo
Tel: 345 1745 943
Saturday and Sunday from 4 – 8 p.m.
Weekday opening only with pre-booking.