The second life of a prestigious school
In the Libertà district of Bari, on the corner of Via Abate Gimma and Via Trevisani, stands the former Francesco Caracciolo Nautical Institute, an imposing complex covering a total area of around 2,000 square metres on three floors. The Neo-Renaissance-style stone façade is typical of the period of King Umberto I, and is striking for the perfect symmetry of the windows, surmounted by architraves alternating with tympanums, balconies with white balustrades, fine pilasters and string courses. After passing through the wooden doorway and the arch, you enter a large room with a double staircase leading to the upper floors, overlooking the inner courtyard.
The classrooms of the school – which has trained and prepared hundreds of long-distance captains and chief engineers who still sail the seas in the service of Italy’s merchant navy today – once housed paraphernalia including octants, sextants and navigation instruments, as well as state-of-the-art satellite navigation systems and simulators. A true marine museum, it remained open from 1921 to 1999, when it was later merged with the EUCLIDE surveyor’s complex and moved to a multipurpose building in the Japigia district. Since then, the building remained abandoned for about twenty years, until a public call for tenders was published to redevelop the building as a university student residence with 80 beds, study rooms, a library, bar and auditorium.