The Italian Naval Academy was established in Livorno on the 6th of November 1881 by the Minister of the Navy, Benedetto Brin.
He wanted to merge the naval schools of Genoa and Naples to create a single training institute for all Italian naval officers.
The city of Livorno was selected both for its proximity to the prestigious university of Pisa, a choice which has proved to be far-seeing over the 133 years since the Academy's establishment, and also for its central location between the two previous naval schools
The primary mission for Naval Academy is: "to select, educate, train and prepare civilians in order to be military and maritime leaders capable to take charge in any situation, to face – and win – the challenges of tomorrow, and to always lead their crews by example and inspiration". Developing the proper leadership capabilities through officer lines is one of the biggest challenges of military academies. Growing and developing a leader is a matter of perfecting a harmonised complex of qualities, behaviour and knowledge, resulting in something much more valuable than the sterile sum of the single parts of which it's made. "Leading from the front" and "leading by example" are still the ways a naval officer must always carry himself.
The purpose of the education and professional training of midshipmen is to develop the values of honour and responsibility which are the essential characteristics of all military personnel, and officers in particular.
The Naval Academy has established a rigorous training curriculum that is designed to develop Midshipmen self-discipline and high standards of honour, duty and responsibility.
Professional and seamanship training continue mainly throughout the summer when midshipmen embark on training vessels and warships depending on their year:
- upon completion of the 1st year, midshipmen embark on the Italian Training Ship "Amerigo Vespucci" for a three month training cruise
- at the end of the second year, midshipmen attend a summer campaign articulated in two different modules with the aim of completing their formation as a sailor.
- During the following summers midshipmen embark on fleet operational ships where they are immersed in the day to day life at sea in the Italian Navy.
Also during the Academy, midshipmen are trained in military drill, they are introduced to Amphibious Warfare, attend several ethical and leadership courses and take part in many internal and external social events. Such a diverse educational and training program ensures that the Naval Academy graduates are well rounded naval officers.
The Naval Academy admission process is open to any highschool graduate. Upon completion of a three year undergraduate program at the Academy, midshipmen earn a commission and a bachelor's degree. Depending on their specialization, midshipmen later achieve their master's degree. After a strenuous and highly selective admissions process, midshipmen are divided into five corps:
- Line Officers – midshipman complete a 3 year program and earn a degree in Maritime and Naval Science.
- Naval & Marine Engineering Officers – Midshipmen earn a master's degree in Naval Engineering or in Civil Engineering.
- Medical Officers - Midshipmen earn a master's degree in Medicine and Surgery.
- Supply Officers - Midshipmen earn a master's degree in Law, enabling them to manage administration and logistics, they can also serve as legal advisors.
- Coast Guard Officers - Midshipmen earn a master's degree in Maritime Administration. After their training and education, coast guard officers are appointed as harbourmasters.
International exchange opportunities are a focal point of the Naval Academy. In order to prepare our officers for every possible environment, they received a high level of training in international relations through a series of programs offered.
Since 1881, all Italian naval officers have been trained at the Naval Academy, which represents the foundation of all the professional knowledge and doctrine instilled in our officers, and it is the link between past and present, traditions and innovations.