Before 1923 the teaching of applied art to industry was considered as a branch of industrial education, and the related schools depended on the Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce (later, of the National Economy), while they were placed non-applied art schools (institute or academy of fine arts) depend on the Ministry of public education. But with the r. decr. 31 December 1923, n. 3123 also the schools of applied art to industry were transferred to the Ministry of Public Education. Today art education is given in three tiers of schools:
Schools and art institutes . – Those form the craftsmen, these, the heads of art. The art school is the first grade or lower course of the art institute but it can also stand on its own. This name and this arrangement belongs to a few schools; most have different names and arrangements; but in all of them the pupil is required, in addition to working in the workshop, to follow artistic and general culture teachings. Today there are 6 art institutes in Italy, 10 industrial art institutes and artistic-industrial schools, 15 applied art schools, 25 professional schools, 2 special schools (for alabaster in Volterra, for the engraving of coral in Torre del Greco).
Artistic high schools . – They are four-year; there are 8. Access is through an admission exam by those with a license from a complementary school or admission or promotion to the 4th class of a middle school. Besides the artistic subjects, subjects of general culture are taught. At the end of the course the artistic high school diploma is obtained. These schools comprise two sections, with the aim of preparing one for the studies of the academy of fine arts, the other for the higher institutes of architecture and for the qualifying exams for teaching drawing in middle and professional schools.
Fine arts academies . – There are 9 of them and they have the task of preparing for the exercise of the art by attending and working in the studio of a master. They include courses in painting, sculpture and decoration (some also in scenography) lasting 4 years. The teaching of these subjects can be given by tenured professors or even, on a private basis, by masters of art (recognized by the Ministry) who are granted free use of a studio for this purpose.
Musical education. – It is given in the royal conservatories of music of Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Parma and Rome (at the latter there is also an acting school) according to the regulations established in 1923 (r. Decr. 31 December, n. 3123) and completed in 1930 (r. Decr. 11 December, no. 1845). In every conservatory there are as a rule, besides the schools of composition and singing, schools for individual musical instruments. The solfeggio course is common to all schools. The teaching is, in the single schools, divided into 2 or 3 periods. For admission to the first year of the first period, promotion to the 5th elementary class is required; for admission to any other year of a single school, an eligibility examination must be passed. There are also 10 equalized musical high schools. See also conservatory.