The period of the Grand Duchy

The Normale of the Grand Duke

After the Napoleonic closure, in 1843 the Normale reopens and moves to its present site, the Palazzo della Carovana. Among the students of this period is the future Nobel prizewinner Giosuè Carducci.


The period of closure of the Normale after the Napoleonic phase was actually quite short. The Grand Duke's decree of 22nd December 1817 re-established the ancient Ordine dei Cavalieri di Santo Stefano (the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen) in Pisa; in 1843 the Council of the Order proposed to establish a "boarding school for young nobles" at the Palazzo della Carovana together with a Scuola Normale. 
In addition, Grand Duke Leopold II re-established the original function of the Normale, that of preparing teachers of the secondary school, On 28th November 1846 a grand-ducal Motuproprio established the Scuola Normale Toscana, also called Imperial Regia Scuola Normale (because it was connected to the Austrian system). On November 15th, 1847 the new headquarters at Palazzo della Carovana were inaugurated.
The new Scuola was "theoretical and practical", intended to "train teachers of secondary schools"; it was a boarding school that offered ten free places (with preference given to the Knights of the Order), which could be accessed by call at the age of eighteen, in addition to other paid places.
The boarding school was attended exclusively by students of Philosophy and Philology, while students of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at the University were aggregated to the Normale: the latter, however, were required to attend the pedagogy course and to practice teaching by doing teacher training in schools, in keeping with a strong professional connotation which was later to be abandoned. The course of studies lasted three years.
In the grand-ducal period the Scuola was affected by the political climate: following the enthusiasm of the Risorgimento, the fear of subversive movements and tumults led to reactionary and confessional attitudes much lamented by the students themselves, including Giosuè Carducci, who was a student there between 1853 and 1856.