Transforming Street Urchins Into Adult Sailors on the Training Ship

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This newly discovered educational experiment documents the extraordinary work of Giulia Civita Franceschi in her mission to transform the street urchins of Naples (1913-1928) into living models of dignified conscientious citizens by redeeming them from juvenile delinquency, crime and prison through maritime training on the ship “Caracciolo”.


“This work has allowed the Author to dredge up the pedagogical experiment that Giulia Civita Franceschi, the “Montessori of the Sea”, carried out in Naples on board the Training Ship “Frencesco Caracciolo” between 1913 and 1928. Her extraordinary work led to the salvation of some 750 orphaned or abandoned children, most of whom were headed for crime and prison. They were transformed from street urchins into young sailors through the “Civita Method”.
-Dr. Maria Rosaria Pelizzari,
Professor of Contemporary History,
University of Salerno

“This research into the two fields of Historical Sociology and History of Education makes a valuable contribution to our knowledge of the experience of Training Ships in Italy during the early twentieth century. ..the great educator Gulia Civita Franceschi..created the “Caracciolo” experience, not as a segregating institution for troubled youths but as a community similar to a family…in this community, each boy was encouraged, respected and helped to develop harmoniously (not only fed and disciplined) and above all was taught to be aware of his duties and responsibilities towards the community…thus the transformation from “street urchin” to “young sailor” was part of the ‘resilience training” course that would lead him to acquire the dignity of citizen.”
-Professor Natale Ammaturo,
Professor of Sociology,
University of Salerno

“This research tells the extraordinary adventure of Giulia Civita Franceschi, who for fifteen years, from 1913-1928, brought together around 750 street urchins, orphaned, abandoned, deviant boys, taking them off the streets and housing them on a ship docked in the port of Naples for the specific purpose of giving them not only a healthy body and soul, but above all dignity through work and education.”
-Professor Ignazia Bartholini,
Department of Cultural Heritage-Cultural Studies,
University of Palermo

Table of Contents

Foreword by Maria Rosaria Pelizzari
The Experience of Training Ships in Italy and The Case of The “Francesco Caracciolo” (Naples, 1913-1928)
1. Training Ships: Prevention and Resilience
2. Not An Easy Task: vocations, Difficulties, Awards
3. A “Second Birth”: The Characteristics of The Civita Method and Its Results
Giulia Civita Franceschi – Her Public and Private Life
1. The Personality of Giulia, An “Exceptional, Energetic Woman”
2. Family, Marriage, Friendships
3. A Devoted Friend and A Loyal Ally
The Civita Project: Background, Context, and Implementation
1. Origins and Context
2. The project and Its Realization
3. Developments and The End of the Experiment

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