Secondary school – scuola superiore

Secondary school is the last level of the school in Italy. Once they finish this school, students can decide whether to go to university or find a job. Secondary schools are divided into three groups: licei, istituti tecnici and scuole professional. Find out how long these schools last and what their characteristics are.

Secondary school is the school that comes after middle school and lasts 5 years. In order to enroll in secondary school, students must have passed the esame di terza media, the eighth-grade exam.

Students attend high school from about 14 to 19 years of age. There is an obligation, established by law, to be enrolled and go to school at least until the age of 16, which generally corresponds to at least the first 2 years of secondary school.

At the end of secondary school, students must pass the 5th year exam to complete secondary school studies and obtain the Diploma.

Classes are usually from September to June, for 5 or 6 days a week depending on the school.

As we will see shortly, there are many fields of study for secondary schools, and the internal organization of the annual calendar and timetable is managed directly by the schools. If you have already found one or more schools of your interest, you can contact the school directly for more information on timetables, calendars, etc.

The choice of school is very important.

Secondary schools, in fact, guide the student’s academic and working path. It is, therefore, necessary to be very careful in choosing the right area of study for the student, by talking about it with middle school teachers and participating in orientation activities, called open days, organized by secondary schools for students and their parents.

The types of secondary school are:

Istituti professionali – Vocational schools

Istituti professionali are vocational schools where students learn jobs or trades. These schools give specific training and are chosen by students who want to start working early.

Istituti tecnici – Technical schools

Istituti tecnici are technical schools that give technical and practical training. After technical schools, students can start working or they can continue studying by going to university.


Licei might be the most suitable type of secondary school for students who are already thinking of continuing their studies at university. In fact, licei are the schools that offer extensive academic training and are divided into 6 specific areas.

IeFP schools are another type of higher education and they are vocational schools.
IeFP schools are very similar to istituti tecnici and istituti professionali because they prepare students on a professional level.

The IeFP courses are managed by the Regions and last 3 and 4 years depending on the course and location.

Public high school is free, but you will still have expenses to pay.

Visit this page to find out the costs of the public school and the support towards expenses.

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