Tag Archives: italia

First thing you do when you arrive back in Taormina?

The first thing that I would do when I return to Taormina is to visit my host family. They were my gateway into Taormina, and also Sicily, and Italy. The family provided me with help, open arms, AMAZING cooking, and a look into the culture of Sicily, that no other avenue could provide.

What advice would you give to a tourist?



The best advice I can give to a tourist at Taormina is to stay away from the beaten path. So much of the charm of Taormina is lost through the commercialized aspect of it (Corso Umberto). Some of the most wonderful places you can find in Taormina are off the main road, so just walk around, and see what you can find.

If you had to be locked in a building overnight, which would it be?

If I had to be locked in a building overnight, I would choose BAMBAR! Have you had una granita from there? If you have, you will understand why I chose this. Never before had I had one, but when I had my first (grazie Daniele!), I realized I could eat one every day.

Best place for a romantic holiday in Taormina?



The best place for a romantic holiday in Taormina, in my opinion, is at a hotel on Castelmola. While not quite, Taormina, it overlooks Taormina! In order to make the most of this, you have to pick a hotel with a room that overlooks the seaside from Castelmola. From there, you can see the ocean, Taormina, Etna, and on a clear day, even mainland Italy!

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

If I was Mayor for the day, I would force the sellers of the ‘knick-knacks’ off Courso Umberto. While this is something that happens in many cities, I believe it is something that detracts from the beauty of the town.

Earliest Taormina memory?

My earliest Taormina memory is the day after I arrived (after a 21 hour journey, everything was a blur before). After my first day at Babilonia school, I met a group of people from Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, and Spain who invited me on a trip to Catania! The spontaneity of this journey, the simplicity, and the uniqueness was something that I will never forget. That journey was also my first true look at the world outside of the United States.

What are your favourite late-night hangouts?

My favorite late-night hangout was the Q Bar. Being from Babilonia school we received a discount, and every night they remembered us and asked us how everything was going. While speaking in Italian, giving us a chance to practice.

Best meal you’ve had in Taormina?

The best meal I had in Taormina was at the Granducca Pizzeria. This was for a number of reasons. The night itself was beautiful, and I went with five of my friends that I made (all from different parts of the world), and we had a table that overlooked the cliffs of Taormina so you could see the ocean and the entire coast. To top it all off they gave us a glass of champagne, and the pizza itself was wonderful! I had the Great Bear pizza, which had a plethora of toppings, including tomatoes, ham, salami, prosciutto, and basil.

If you could buy any building in Taormina, which would it be?

If I could buy any building in Taormina, I would buy the Saracen castle at the crest of the mountain overlooking Taormina. The location is stunning, and the history of the building enchants me.

What is your favourite Taormina discovery?

My favorite Taormina discoveries were when I found the small markets sprinkled throughout the small strebets. These places, especially one on my way home, are special because they provide some of the best food, at the best price that you can find in Taormina. In addition, the workers tend not to speak English, so it gives you the real world practice that you are not able to get on Corso Umberto.

Best advice for students?



My best advice for students at Babilonia school is to branch out from Corso Umberto. Taormina can seem limited just by walking down Corso Umberto, but once you branch off onto the sides, you can find places that are relatively hidden. Also, take advantage of the opportunities provided to you! There are many economical travel options throughout Sicily, and each city has a unique history, style, and cuisine. Get out there and explore!

by Jordan, student @ Babilonia school, Taormina, Sicily



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At 7 years old, my son went to Italy to spend 10 days with Italian cousins to be immersed in the language. When I arrived to Agnone, to collect him, I was stunned when Luca accompanied me around town. He was greeted as though he had been there all his life – by other kids, cousins close and far removed, by shopkeepers, and anyone else he had been introduced to at least once. Comfortable and independent at 7! Agnone, a small town in Molise is the home of my grandfather. I had always felt a strong connection and deep link with our family history.

playing boules


A few years later, studying in Agnone was a revelation, no one to speak English to, no tourists, and a slow life where people had time to engage with a lone foreigner as I struggled to ask a question, or directions, or to buy an etto of something delicious.  I was struck by how much they all loved their town and the pride they took in their traditions, crafts and produce. I didn’t want to leave! I had found the best teacher ever, and felt very much at home.

And I really wanted to share the experience. How would it be if I came back, with friends? Live and Learn Italian was born. The activities develop naturally – someone has a speciality – be it a period of the town’s history or the way they make a loaf of pane – it is surely interesting to converse about in slow and careful Italian, right? It helps that the town’s heritage is steeped in an artisan culture going back centuries – my grandfather’s cousins making the most famous bells in Italy since the year 900, for example.



The community are our teachers as much as the professors of Italian. Cooking in Maria’s kitchen helps to ease the strain of getting all the grammar in the right places – and we meet such interesting, warm and lovely people. This is an experience, not a language school – a chance to find your inner Italian, to live the slow life and continually put your learning into practice. The programme is constantly developing and growing but we stay small to keep the individual classes fewer than 5, and the total group under a dozen. The aim is to keep you well integrated, and staying small is a large part of that.

The project gets better and better with plenty of variety – we get returning customers each summer, so will keep finding new things to see and do. But it is a land of infinite richness – in culture, in history, in tradition, in crafts, and like all of Italy, plenty of culinary feasting and delight.

by Jenifer, student of Italian and founder of liveandlearnitalian.com

Few places left for summer 2016, book now-off the beaten track, an authentic town, a personal experience – a place to practice and learn, relax and enjoy.

The oldest bell foundry in the world is in a small Italian town: Agnone



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That in Puglia, the land of sun and sea, it snows is rare and that it happens in Villa Castelli, country of wine and oil, is definitely an event!

But we have greeted the 2015 in this way!

On December 31st, each of us, every “castellano” stood up and, opening the windows, found a unusual, magical and sweet Villa Castelli, a  snowy Villa Castelli!

Could it be a message for the new year? A magic 2015?!? Well … let’s keep our fingers crossed!

We did not missed the opportunity to get out on the street and meet all of our friends and students in the snow coming down in big flakes … oh wait, I forgot: Maya Louise saw snow for the first time and like any self-respecting Pug, she was virtually nestled in the snow and did not want to come off as the most immense surprise it was for her!italian tutor homestay

Every roof and every street was immersed in pure white snow and the cones of the trulli were so white that were almost mingled with the sky!

The old town, with the ravine and its Mediterranean maquis were completely white, only a few leaves differed. The children made snowmen and grandparents were at home making  “purcidduzzi”. What are “purcidduzzi“? Hmmm a typical Christmas sweet (another)! So, for dinner everything would have been all ready: all at grandparents’ house for dinner near the fireplace, to hear their always “legendary” stories and look at snowflakes from the window.

The view from our trullo was enchanting for me and the students! It seemed to be in one of those countries of the fairy tales where in the vast expanses of snow you meet the reindeer and the elves, maybe even Santa Claus (ah yes, he has already come and we wait for the Befana!), but we are in Villa Castelli, in Puglia!

italian tutor homestay

The landscape was quite charming and a great surprise for us!

It was a shame (or fortunately) that lasts little, but tomorrow the sun will shine again and, to be honest, as an 100% Apulia…I can’t wait!

by Maria, Italian host tutor in www.italiahomestay.com, Villa Castelli, Puglia 

Live & study in your teacher home: follow Maria 

Learn Italian in Italy




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learning italian web blog

After the success of this year’s inaugural month-long event, the Italian Cultural Institute and Cinecitta Luce are pleased to announce the return of the Italian Film Festival in March 2012 under the title Cinema Made In Italy.

Date: Friday, March 09, 2012 – Friday, March 30, 2012

Venue: Italian Cultural Institute & Cine Lumiere

Organised by: Italian Cultural Institue & Cine Citta’ Luce FILMITALIA

Read more here

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Getsemani at the Italian Cultural Institute

SARDINIA ROCKS! Winners of the Italiawave Sardinia in 2008, Getsemani, will be taking the stage by storm with their particular music compositions. Hailing from Ozieri and Orani, the band comprises of Daniele Sanna (guitar), Dario Masala (bass) and Alberto Ferrero (drummer).

Anything missing? The band has no voice as they believe that the lack of words makes the expression of emotions stronger through the guitar solos, slap of the bass and acrobatic turns of drumming. We are thrilled to reveal their explosive mix of progressive rock fusion!

Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2011
More info: Italian Cultural Institute

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When you don’t know the right word to say something, you can use your…hands!

Just another way to speak(?) italiano…

Learn Italian hand gestures with these video youtube lessons!

Lesson number 1 con un insegnante molto divertente…

Practice: click on the picture and repeat the Italian hand gestures




and now lesson number 2 with Dolce & Gabbana male models:)

Read more

Learn Italian with videos

Learn Italian with Italian songs

Plan your next holiday: learn Italian in Italy

Have you got a question for us?Email it to antonio.lucicesare@gmail.com

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The Salento International Film Festival Is a celebration of films and filmmakers, promotes international independent films, in recognition of the fact that movies are the most powerful form of cultural communication and link between cultures’ and peoples’.

Read more: Italian Cultural Institute

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