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Among Roman Ruins, the Italian Communist Party’s School

Among Roman Ruins, the Italian Communist Party’s School

Laura E. Ruberto (June 6, 2009)
Laura E. Ruberto
La Scuola di Frattocchie, The Italian Communist Party's Political School, outside of Rome



The Italian Communist Party’s political school, today a private residence, is situated unassumingly on the outskirts of Rome, between the Sanctuary of the Divino Amore and the Pope’s summer retreat.


La Scuola di Frattocchie, The Frattocchie School, was a political school connected to the Italian Communist Party. Everyone who was ever anyone in the Italian Communist Party from the end World War II until the early 1990s spent time there—from Togliatti to D’Alema.

Situated along the Via Appia, about 25 kilometers from Piazza Venezia, made famous by Mussolini’s March on Rome (as a point of orientation), and a few minutes from the Pope’s “summer home,” Castel Gandolfo, the Frattocchie School today is a large, though rather unprespossessing house, with a few smaller buldings and a garage nearby, all painted red.

Indeed, it is only the color of the house that seems to evoke its past. In fact, the house was never marked with a sign. As one of my uncles told me today when I asked him how to find it—look for the sign that says KM 21 along the Appia, go a little futher ahead, and it will be on your left. Sure enough, there it was, and sure enough, online memoir-blogs about the school explain how folks used to find it with a similar reference to the kilometer marker.
As with much of the Italian Communist Party, it remains in Italy today but merely a shell of its former self.

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I was there on April 2nd to 6th 1975

Hi Laura! I was there on April from the 2 nd to the 6th 1975 for a week intensive class of historical/political studies on Administrative Regional Election. Good memories indeed, for the quality of studies (I'd never meet something similar in italian public school). I was 21 years old, just a young member of the Italian CommunistaParty from Succivo, my town near Naples. Please, you wouldn't think about a sort of "brain washing brain studies" as one would think of , as for the common prejudice of the times!.... Professors and scholars from Italian Universities and from abroad met there , confrontating and debating differents points of view on topics such as histostory, economy and the evolution of the Italian Istitutions...all that 2stuff" just for a "platea" of young communists students (workers, students, unemployed etc.) that had got a chance to improve their knowledge on the topics... What a nostalgia! looking at the italian "centro-sinistra" with the PD (Democratic Party born from the PCI) of today..I don't know if we had a good idea in changing the " form" to our old party. We were a great reformist party then...we are a fragmented and litigious reformist "nebulosa" now! who knows!... I'm re-reading Gramsci now, and It's astonishing the actuality of his way to read the today reality! We met in Cairano, Laura. It was a charming and a really new way to live reality and to organize "politics and culture"! Your "lecture" about your Grandma memories was charming...with your "voce dolce impastata di California e Cairano". .... I'm going to translate into italian your report on Cairano 7x and I'll post it on the blog, then. Ciao, Laura. E' stato un piacere conoscerti. Saluti ai tuoi (bellissimi) figli and to your husband.

Salvatore D'Angelo

PS. Please, send me an e -mail with the address of libraries or bookshops where your books are available (also by e-selling). Thanks.

lruberto's picture


Thanks, Salvatore, for sharing these great stories about the Pci and la scuola di Frattocchie! I had always heard about the school but didn’t know anyone who had been there! (E che bello rivederti ancora un’altra volta a Cairano!)