Giuseppe Montesano

From Montepedia

Person - Montessori Restoration and Translation Project
Giuseppe Ferruccio Montesano
Giuseppe Ferruccio Maria Montesano

(1868-10-04)October 4, 1868
Potenza, Italy
DiedAugust 9, 1961(1961-08-09) (aged 92)
MovementMontessori education
ChildrenMario Montessori

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Giuseppe Ferruccio Maria Montesano (Potenza, October 4, 1868 – Rome, August 9, 1961) was an influential Italian psychologist and psychiatrist, regarded as one of the founders of Italian child psychology and neuropsychiatry.


Born in Potenza in 1868 to Leonardantonio Angelandrea Achille Montesano, a lawyer, and Isabella Schiavone, Giuseppe Montesano was the brother of mathematician Domenico Montesano. He earned his medical degree from the Sapienza University of Rome in the 1890-91 academic year. His career began at the Institute of Hygiene under Angelo Celli and, in 1896, he moved to a psychiatric clinic where he collaborated with Sante De Sanctis and Ezio Sciamanna.

From 1898 to 1923, Montesano served as the primary physician at the Santa Maria della Pietà mental asylum. Alongside Clodomiro Bonfigli, the director of the asylum, Montesano presented a bill to the Chamber of Deputies on the matter of assistance for the intellectually disabled. He was one of the founders of the National League for the Protection of the Intellectually Disabled in 1898.

Collaborations and Contributions

Montesano's collaboration with Maria Montessori, with whom he shared a professional and personal relationship that resulted in the birth of their son Mario in 1898, played a significant role in the development of education for intellectually disabled children. They jointly founded the Orthophonic Teacher Training School in Rome in 1900, where Montesano served as director from its inception. He also established the Medical-Pedagogical Institute in 1901, which he directed from 1904.

From 1909, Montesano lectured in psychiatry and psychiatric clinic at the Sapienza University of Rome. In the same year, he founded the first differential class in Italy, which the city of Rome incorporated the following year. He went on to found the journal "L'assistenza dei minorenni anormali" in 1911 and established the Italian Society for Medical Psycho-pedagogical Assistance to Minors in the Evolutionary Age (SIAME).

After World War I, Montesano founded the National Opera for Assistance to War Orphans with Psychiatric Anomalies, serving as its vice president. As a consultant, he oversaw the development of the "Gaetano Giardino" institutes in Rome and the "Giovanni Pascoli" in Fornaci di Barga, Lucca province. He also promoted the "Villa Silvia" Medical-Pedagogical Institute in Roccapiemonte, Salerno province. He held the presidency of the Roman Popular University from 1948.

Public Service and Legacy

Montesano served as a provincial deputy for the Basilicata region, a councillor, and assessor of the city of Rome from 1920 to 1923. From 1944 to 1952, he was a member of the Provincial Deputation of Rome, where he also served as vice president.

He was an honorary member of the World Federation for Mental Health and was awarded the gold medal for the meritorious of school and culture in 1958. He was also a member of numerous scientific and humanitarian societies. His brother, Domenico Montesano, initiated him into freemasonry, introducing him to the Roman lodges.

Montesano was an early proponent of the theory that intellectually disabled children should not be segregated in asylums but rather be given assistance to reintegrate gradually into family and school life. He was the author of over 160 publications, including "Il bello e l'arte nell'educazione degli amorali" (The Beautiful and Art in the Education of the Amoral).

Montesano passed away in Rome on August 9, 1961, at the age of 93 and was honored with a state funeral[1].


  1. The Montessori Family by Fred Kelpin