school system in Italy

School system in Italy

Moving to Italy with family than you must be curious to know the school system of Italy. The Italian Public Schools are free of cost for every child residing in Italy. 

In Italy, there is a public school system, also known as the Education System. When the Legge Casati (Casati Act) was passed, it mandated educational responsibilities for the new Italian state.

The Casati Act made primary education compulsory and had the goal of increasing literacy. Primary education was given to single towns, secondary education to provinces, and universities were managed by the state under this law.

Read more below, comment, or contact us if you have any questions.

Even with the Casati Act and compulsory education, children in rural (and southern) areas were frequently not sent to school (the rate of children enrolled in primary education would reach 90% only after 70 years), and the illiteracy rate (which was nearly 80% in 1861) would take more than 50 years to reach 90%.

School system in Italy

The Italian education system is divided into five stages: 

Kindergarten (scuola dell’infanzia): 

The Italian Schooling system begins with kindergarten which is not compulsory and is attended by kids aged between 3-6 years.

Primary school (scuola primaria or scuola elementare): 

Primary Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6-16 years. Primary Education is for five years.

Children receive formal education in primary school, where they are taught to read and write as well as study a variety of subjects such as mathematics, geography, Italian, English, and science. Students also have music lessons, computer studies, and social studies in addition to academic subjects. The classes are small, with 10 to 25 students in each.

Secondary school (scuola secondaria di primo grado or scuola media inferiore): 

At the age of eleven students begins with Secondary education. Students were given a formal lesson and they must attend at least thirty hours of formal lessons per week.

Many schools also provide additional activities in the afternoons such as computer studies, music lessons, and sports activities. The curriculum of formal lessons that are delivered to the students is set by the MPI (Ministry of Public Education).

At the end of Secondary School that is after 3 years, students have to write an exam in subjects like Italian, Mathematics, Science and a Foreign language. There is an oral examination of the other subjects. After clearing the exam students are awarded the Licenza di Scuola Media (Licenza Media). Then only they are ready to move into the Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado (Second Grade Secondary School) 

Upper secondary school (scuola secondaria di secondo grado or scuola media superiore) and university (università):

There are two types of Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado(Upper Secondary Education) in Italy: 

The first one is the Liceo (like a British grammar school), which focus more on academic studies.

The second one is an Istituto, which is essentially a vocational school. For the first two years, students are taught the curriculum that is set by the state itself and the curriculum contains Italian language and literature, Science, Mathematics, foreign language, religion, geography, history, social studies, and physical studies. 

School Hours in Italy

School hours depend on the school and it may vary from school to school. But in general, it is found that in most of the primary and lower secondary schools, classes begin from 8:00 am and ends at 1:00 pm.

The schools are generally 6 days a week starting from Monday to Saturday. But some schools also run only 5 days a week starting from Monday to Friday, in that case, students would have a one-hour lunch break and the school timings extend to 16:00.

Enrolling in an Italian School

Italian schools are required by law to accept all children under the age of 18 regardless of whether or not all of the required documents have been provided. In this case, the enrolment is considered “temporary” until the parents or guardians can provide the necessary documentation. They must produce a written proof of intent to replace the missing documents during this time.

Required Documents

  • Certificate of Birth (Translated into Italian)
  • Valid for the parent/guardian and child (EU citizens) or Residence Document & Permesso di Soggiorno (non-EU citizens).
  • Proof of polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and hepatitis B vaccinations
  • Identification proof (ID Card or Passport)
  • Photographs for passports
  • Famiglia Statue (Family Status Certificate)
  • If the person is a resident or has applied for residency, this can be obtained from the Anagrafe (Local Registry Office).
  • The child’s home country’s school curriculum must be translated in order for the school to properly place the child.


We write independent articles on travel and living anywhere for everyone. We talk about work, study, moving, health, school, travel, and shopping. Refugees and immigrants are welcome!  

Do you want to help refugees and immigrants? Contact us or email us to join us. 

Do you want to write articles like this one for us? Contact us or email us to apply. 

Do you see any mistakes in this article? Please leave a comment or contact us. Thank you!