*** individual Italian summer camps Parish day camp campo scuola organizations

Italian Summer Camps: Sponsoring Organizations

Figure 1.--All we know about this Italian summer camp was that it was on Sicily. The rufles they are carrying strongly suggest that it was a Bailla camp.

Several organizations in Italy sponsored summer camps for children. This has changed over time. As far as we can tell, the camps were primarily or perhaps even entirely established after World War I in the 1920s. The Fascist youth movement set up many camps. Unlike in Germany, they did not seize the camps of other groups, although they may have seized some. And they did not control all of the youth camps in the country. Many groups like municipalities and trade unions also set up camps. They were controlled by the Fascist Party, but not by the Fascist youth movement. After World War II, the Fascist Party was abolished, but many other groups supported summer camps. There are public colonie (for example organized by compsnies, municipalities, and trade unions), but there are now also private ones. Some important companies organize colonie for the children of workers.

Boy Scouts

An Italian reader writes, "Summer camps in mountain or countrysides were and are organized by Boy Scout groups. These camps usually are with tents, but for younger children, the "lupetti" (little wolves), they use organized camps. "

Fascist Youth Camps

There are Balilla summer camps, sometimes in seaside places, sometimes in the mountains, sometimes in the country near the towns. The photo taken near Cremona shows one of these camps: we can see two Balilla sentinels. There was also camps for the better Balilla, the "Campi Dux". Our Italian reader writes, "During the Fascist era were the party organizations that organized summer camps: the "Balilla" (younger) and the "Avanguardisti" (older) for the boys and the "Figlie della Lupa" (younger) and the "Giovani Italiane" (older) for the girls. The Italian term for summer camp is "campo estivo". A major figure in running the summer camps was a man named Parini. He promoted the idea of autarchy--self sufficiency. Products consumed at Alpe del Cicer´┐Ż (a camp for oversas Italians) were provided by overseas Italians. Italians in Brazil provided coffee and Italians in Argentina provided wheat and jam. [Baldoli, p. 76.] The situation in Fascist Italy was different than in NAZI Germany. The Hitler Youth operated the entire German youth camp system as well as hostels. We do not fully understand the system in Italy, but it seems more complicated. The Fascist Youth movement did operate a number of camps, but there were also camps operated by other groups such as trade unions and municipalities. Of course these other units were also controlled by the Fascist Party, but they were independent of the Fascist Youth Movement.

Christian Day Camps

Our Italian reader tells us, "Since the 1970s there are many summer camps organized from parishes and religious movements called "campo scuola" (school camp), because they have also an educational goal. I think these camps would be a kind of day camp in America. Day camps in America were often organized by boyh churches and municipalities. In Italy they seem more a parish (Catholic Church) function. I think they began after World War II because before the War the Fascists tended to monopolize youth activities.

Worker's Villages

Model villages for workers first appeared in Europe (late-18th centurry). They were first built by land-owners to provide improved living conditions for their workers. the new indistrialists began to do the same for their workers (early-19th century). The largest numbers we know of werein England, but we also see some on the Continent and in America. They were largely self-contained communitiess. The villages were located close to the workplace, but generally separated from them. They consisted of relatively high quality housing compared o th standards of he day. The villages varied, but generally had integrated community amenities and pleasing physical environments. The best preserved worker' village in Italy is the Villaggio Crespi d'Adda (Crespi Workers' Village). It is an entire town by itself. It was an entire purpose-built town, created from the ground up by the Crespi family, cotton manufacturers from Lombardy. They built their model workers' village close to their factory along the Adda river. The workers' families were provided with homes, gardens, vegetable gardens and all necessary local services. The head of the Crespi family 'reigned; over their perfect little world like a medieval lord from his castle. He provided all needs of his employees and their families from cradle to grave. Among the various servics offered were day camps for the children during the summer.

Company Camps

Companies have traditionall sponsored summer camps for the children of their workers. Although the Fascists banned the Boy Scouts and Boy Scout camping, these camps organized by companies were allowed to continue. Our Itlalian reader tells us, "There is an other traditional summer camp in seaside resorts, called 'colonia estiva'. This sort of summer camp is the more common in Italy. Italy is of course virtually surrounded by the sea. There are numerous organizations that organize "colonie estive": fo example the big companies organize these summer camps for their laborers' children. In Fascist era were the same. Ny fathercworked for Fiast. I attended the Fiat sea summer camp between the late-60s and early-70s. We had a simple uniform: blue shorts, white t-shirt and cap, open-toe sandals without socks; for the seaside: blue swim trunks."

Communist Party

One interesting note is that even though Italy after World War II had a very large and active Communist Party, the Young Pioneers were never organized in Italy. There were thus no Young Pioneer camps, the Party did, however, sponsor some summer camps. I am not sure what level of political organization took place at these camps. An Italian reader writes, "The communist party had a young organization. They had also summer camps, but there was not an organization as the Young Pioneers." There were both Communist Party camps as well as municipal camps run by Cimmunit municipal governments. The Communist Party was very strong in northern industrial cities such as Bologna.


Baldoli, Claudia. Exporting Fascism: Italian Fascists and Britain's Italians in the 1930s


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Italian summer camp page]
[About Us]
[Introduction] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Photography]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Italian glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 8:19 AM 10/17/2010
Last updated: 11:58 PM 2/10/2017