Established in 1861 and coincident with the Italian unification, the Regio Liceo Ginnasio is the most ancient and prestigious high school in the city of Nuoro: over the years, future leading personalities inside a national and international overview – among them Salvatore Satta, Indro Montanelli and Marcello Fois – would have graduated here. In 1921, the school was named after the memory of politician and intellectual Giorgio Asproni, a Risorgimento hero from Bitti – the school archive guards his diaries too – but only in 1928 the first project – concerning the building of the current structure placed on the light slope at the crossroads between via Dante and via Deffenu, exactly overlooking the road which, at that time, was the access of the original railway station (later moved to via Lamarmora) – was filled out. Therefore, a year after the promotion of the city to the rank of province, engineer Giuseppe Pietrangeli developed the drawing on behalf of the Technical Office of the civil engineering body: the building had to have a L-shaped map and an angled porticoed entrance; inside, all classrooms had to occupy the right wing, and all offices the left one. However, it concerned an expensive project also due to the fact that Pietrangeli considered a rich decorative setup (medallions, emblems and bossage coverings): due to this reason, even if it was approved in 1903, it has never been realized as conceived.
Engineer Giuseppe Bottiglieri radically modified the project and throughout his actions, he determined the features of the currently used building, which was inaugurated in 1937. On both sides of the central body, two foreparts were developed; the map had an M shape with a not-so-subtle reference to Mussolini, the head of the fascist government. The main entrance was later moved on the slope side, even if still today the institute is equipped with four doorways (one on the view). The main façade is distinguished by the characteristic presence of three balconies on the first floor – one stands exactly above the front door, whose structure is completely replayed – and by two orders of wide windows (casings are mainly the original ones or dating back to the first renovation carried out during the 50's). The gate (forerun by a marble staircase leading to a wide entrance hall) seems framed inside a structure of semi-pillars with a capital column base, composed of pink trachyte (a protrusion) and grey granite squared blocks, where a round arch lies on; on both sides, in a symmetrical position, two granite squares are placed, within which, inside a crown, two flying eagles are represented in a high relief.
The research for symmetry distinguishes the whole façade, both sides flanking the central body represent an equal division of space in the windows distribution, among which six (out of twelve) for each side have a round arch lintel. A horizontal denticular framework completes the upper part of the façade, whose curvilinear covering, where blue geometric decorations appear, is interrupted by two low small towers culminating with two metal pinnacles. On the apex, in big type, the denomination of the institute is written, while above the gym entrance, placed on the side overlooking via Deffenu, the most recent renovation work has restored some geometric decorations and the O.N.B. (Opera Nazionale Balilla) sign, starting not a few debates on its reference (however philological) to the fascist origin of the building.
The building is partly enclosed by a wrought-iron gate supported by small pillars, while the external flooring saves original granite and basalt rocks. Interiors are composed of about thirty rooms (among classrooms and auxiliary spaces) distributed on ground floor, first one and basement (housing labs, offices, the library and the archive where, beyond the already mentioned Giorgio Asproni's diaries, the historical records of the school dating back to the establishment are stored too); the auditorium, on the first floor, has been dedicated to singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André in 2010, and in the same year, after a specific renovation, the new detached headquarter of the junior school in the near via Asiago has been inaugurated.
On October, 17th, 2015, together with the senior kindergarten “Don Francesco Guiso Gallisai” and with Sebastiano Satta's childhood home (both overlooking the namesake square, a monument dedicated to the poet-lawyer by the sculptor Costantino Nivola in 1965-67), all rooms of the high school have been opened to the public on the occasion of the FAIMARATHON. Una giornata d’autunno alla scoperta di un’Italia diversa, promossa dal Fondo Ambiente Italiano event.
- Masala, Architettura dall’Unità d’Italia alla fine del ‘900, Nuoro, ILISSO, 2001;
- Bassu, Il Classico a forma di “M” in ossequio a Mussolini, in “La Nuova Sardegna”, June, 15th, 2001;
- Giorgio Asproni. Nel nome della Rivoluzione. Un protagonista sardo nel Risorgimento italiano, G. Puligheddu (edited by), preface by Manlio Brigaglia, Nuoro, Poliedro, 2017.