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Born in Versilia during the second half of the nineteenth century exclusively for curative purposes, they became extremely popular after the Second World War.

Le colonieIn the Fifties and Sixties, especially along the coast of Romagna, there was a boom in summer camps run by government departments, charities and large corporations.

They were strongly promoted in particular during the 1920s and 30s by the Fascist Party which saw seaside holidays as an opportunity to gain consensus and indoctrinate the young. The very first summer camp in Italy was organised in 1822 thanks to the Lucca hospital, which set up a facility at Viareggio for street children. In the middle of the nineteenth century there were about fifty of them, in seaside resorts in Toscana and Emilia Romagna.

From their original connotation as medical centres, as time went by, summer camps increasingly took on the function of facilities where children could get stronger and play together.
During the Fascist period, the seaside camps were attended by large numbers of children and teenagers, in line with the political trend for the education and control of future generations. After World War II, they became even more popular and were attended by all social classes.
In the Seventies, as a consequence of the economic boom and of the continuing population decrease in Italy, there was a dramatic drop in the number of children at summer camps, to the extent that in the Eighties and Nineties most of the facilities were shut down or left in disrepair.

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