Tag Archives: learn italian

Italiano camminando is a week-long course designed by Il Sasso, school of Italian in Montepulciano for those who prefer a walk in the open air to a classroom lesson.

Walking together in the Tuscan countryside (Valdichiana and the Val d’Orcia) while speaking in Italian will allow you to practice the language and understand the culture better, using the language and improving your pronunciation in an informal context, each according to their own level of competence but always with the guidance of a teacher who is attentive to the needs of everyone. The course is recommended for people with elementary to advanced levels of competence in the language, who like to walk in the country and have the capacity to accept others who speak at a level higher or lower than their own. It is not recommended for complete beginners.

How it works


Duration: 1 week (5 days, from Monday to Friday). Hillside paths between 6 and 12 km, recommended to those who have a good physical shape and can face ups and downs. In case of rain, the outdoor walking program will be replaced in part or in whole by the “Italiano & Arte” program (www.ilsasso.com/eng/italiano-arte-at-il-sasso-language-school-in-montepulciano.html). As an alternative option, participants may switch to the traditional language courses (with consequent reduction of costs).

Day 1: Walk to Montefollonico, a small Medieval village perched on the summit of a hill between the Valdichiana and the Val d’Orcia. Departure from the school at 8:45, return at about 13:30.
Day 2: Walk to Monticchiello, a medieval village nestled in the Val d’Orcia, famous for its walls and narrow twisting lanes, as well as for the summer presentations of “Teatro Povero” (Poor Theatre). Departure from school at 8:45, return about 13:30.
Day 3: Nature Reserve of Pietraporciana. Departure from school at 8:45 with a private van to La Foce, then on foot to the reserve of Pietraporciana with a walk in the beech forest. Lunch at the Visitors Centre restaurant. Back to La Foce on foot and return to Montepulciano in the van at 16:00.


Day 4: Free morning (weekly market). Departure from the school at 14:00, walk to the Dei Winery. Tour of the vineyards and cantina, wine tasting and light meal. Return to Montepulciano at 18:00.
Day 5: Bagno Vignoni. Departure from the school at 8:45 with a private van to Bagno Vignoni with its water-filled piazza, then on foot to the tiny hamlet of Vignoni Alto and back. Bath in the thermal pool of Val di Sole, lunch and a walk in the area of the mills. Return to Montepulciano with the van at 16:00.



Email: info@ilsasso.com

Phone: +39 0578 758311

Where to study Italian: Montepulciano


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Way off the beaten track, nestled in the Apennine hills in Molise, is the little town of Agnone, home of my ancestors. Here, our family have been making bells for the Popes for over 1000 years in the world’s oldest bell foundry.

This is a rural community, not of contadini, but of world-class artisans. At one time in the early middle-ages there were 9 bell foundries, yet the main industry of the town which brought it wealth and prosperity, was always copper.  Today, sadly, most of the workshops are silent, but at one time the centro storico buzzed with the sound of little hammers deftly refining and decorating the many utensils and vessels. There were 13 copper foundries and over 300 family botteghe.


Along the Verrino river, water turned huge wheels in the foundries, pounding the copper into basic shapes.  Cold winters and a chilly autumn and spring in the mountains facilitated the craft, as hours were spent in front of a hot furnace or over a constant flame. This work was extremely hard, but copper stamped “Agnone”, achieved the highest price in the marketplaces of Italy. The town had brought in strict rules of manufacture, not only for copper but for all the trades: bronze sculptors, stonemasons, jewellers, watchmakers, blacksmiths, tailors, shoemakers, and many more.

These regulations became law in 1457, and anyone found cheating the standard was fined heavily; thus Agnone maintained its position as one of the 5 cities of Italy producing the best artisan work. Today every house in Agnone proudly displays inherited copper utensils handed down through generations. During our summer courses we join the local women to cook, and we acutally use these ancient tools, the quality is superb and clearly not just for one lifetime, but for several!


Next door to the workshop of master coppersmith, Franco Gerbasi, is the newly established Museo Del Rame. Franco is 4th generation, and has taught the trade to his sons who work beside him. They sell copper vessels all over the world, the most popular being for distillation, but so many other items, impossible to list.

Franco spent years collecting the copper pieces and archive material. When asked why he simply responds, “Per non dimenticare……….”


Live and Learn Italian offers Italian learning holidays, off the beaten track. We welcome anyone wishing to improve their Italian and explore a traditional community far from tourism and commercialism. Local hosts and guides are brought together to share the extraordinary culture and ambience of this town.

We aim to help preserve the many ancient traditions, customs and crafts of the region, and to bring income to the community without in any way compromising its authenticity.
by Jenifer, founder of

Check Summer school programme here

In Italy,where no one speaks English!




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First thing you do when you arrive back in Sorrento?

Go to Raki gelateria to get a Vanilla and Ginger gelato!

What advice would you give to a tourist?



Beyond the most popular activities (like daytripping to Capri, Pompei e Vesuvio and the amazing Amalfi Coast), I would suggest exploring some of the lesser-known treasures, like the Regina Giovanna baths.

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

I would choose the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, one of the hotels on the coast, which has a gorgeous view of the bay as well as a spa! It’s an inspiring place!

Best place for a romantic holiday in Sorrento?

The Minervetta! According to the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards for 2016, it was voted the Top Hotel for Romance in Italy.

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

Have a parade, like in the American tradition, to share this type of fun with the community of Sorrento.

Earliest Sorrento memory?

Christmas shopping on Corso Italia and admiring the ginormous Christmas tree in Tasso Square.

 What are your favourite late-night hangouts?

In the summer, anywhere on Corso Italia is hopping with excitement. I tend to enjoy the Guaraccino Bar, which is down a little alley just off of Tasso Square, where there are always many locals.




Best meal you’ve had in Sorrento?

Is that a trick question? It’s all delicious, but my guilty pleasure is the Clooney burger and gourmet fries at Star Pub where I can chat with waiters and locals and practise my Italian.

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

Maybe Bar Syranuse, which is in the heart of Sorrento in Tasso Square and has a side looking over the passage down to Marina Piccola.

 What is your favourite Sorrento discovery?



The Regina Giovanna bathsit’s a Roman ruin with a natural pool, which connects to the bay, and everytime I go, I’m speechless.

Best advice for other students?

Take advantage of your time in Sorrento. Go out and explore, meet the locals (they’re great), learn Italian, speak Italian and live like locals and have new experiences to remember for a lifetime!

by Olga, student @ Sorrento Lingue


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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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..in a country full of tourists and English speaking waiters, it is a great treat to find such an authentic and unspoilt place..

None of the Italian visitors whom we joined around the table at Agriturismo di Santa Lucia had ever been before, or knew anyone else who had! They marvelled at what they had discovered, and in a country full of tourists and English speaking waiters, it is a great treat to find such an authentic and unspoilt place – and to be able to practice Italian of course!

Agnone in Molise is full of variety – one aspect being high quality food products, most made by hand using ancient methods and recipes passed down through generations. In an area rich with natural beauty and forests, another of Molise’s ancient treasures – are truffles (tartufi).



Italy is the world’s largest producer of truffles and the region of Alto Molise is Italy’s second biggest contributor. Known primarily for white and scorzone varieties, found during spring and summer, Molise’s clean and remote forests also produce black summer truffles, from June to November. These are more plentiful, so gain lower prices, but are of exceptional quality and flavour, loved by chefs.

Truffles develop over several months and only when conditions combine to create the right environment, surrounding vegetation, acidity of the ground, temperature and dampness. Essentially they are mushrooms that grow underground, those above the soil are prone to destruction and have been prized for over 2000 years.

This summer we befriended Valentina Di Niro and her husband Enzo who run he beautiful restaurant at Colle Verde. Enzo is a keen truffle hunter and has trained his springer spaniel, Paco, to help.



Next season, during our summer courses in Agnone, we will be cooking with Enzo and Valentina, check out the websites for dates:  Live&LearnItalian.com

by Jenifer, founder and student @ liveandlearnitalian.com

Who we are: meet Jenifer from Live & Learn Italian in Agnone, Molise



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Italian language services is happy to present the new Academic year for Italian  courses at the Italian Cultural Institute.

Make rapid progress with one of our courses at the  Italian Cultural Institute, the official Italian government centre for the promotion of culture in London, one of 90 Institutes around the world offering a wide choice of Italian language classes. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced, we can help you perfect your language skills at a level that suits your needs, and times and days that suit your schedule. You can keep up to date with Italian culture by taking advantage of exciting Institute events, such as films, plays, concerts, lectures, books and poetry readings, and exhibitions.

istituto-italianoWe offer general Italian courses on all levels, weekday mornings, afternoons, evenings.

All our classes are conducted in Italian and provide training in all basic communication skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing – with a systematic study of grammar. Our teachers are university qualified and native speakers.

Autumn Term will commence on 26 September until 4 December 2016

Click here for enrolment form

Click here for online assessment 

Location : Italian Cultural Institute, 39 Belgrave Square. London SX1X 8NX

Information and bookings

Italian Language Services at The Italian Cultural Institute

Monday to Friday, 2 – 5pm. Tel 020 7823 1887, courses@icilondon.uk

It’s never too late to learn Italian!

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Welcome to Rome Fiumicino where the local time is 11am. Through passport control, on to the Leonardo express train and I’m in Rome Termini. From there, I take the Treno regionale veloce to Chiusi Chianciano Terme for only 10 euros one way.  After less than 20 minutes, I’m already in the beautiful Italian countryside.

I don’t regret for one moment my decision to reach Montepulciano by train – the view is beyond words.The train is passing through wheat fields. The slow, sunny train journey to Tuscany is the perfect opportunity to read a newspaper and catch up on Italian news after a few months away from the country. I discovered with pleasure that Rome has just appointed Italy’s first female mayor. Well done Italians!



We are already in the Tuscan countryside and the scenery has become more lush and green. Less than two hours after leaving Rome, we stop in Chiusi- Chianciano Terme. The strong afternoon sun is baking the tiny station and the bus station is virtually deserted. The Italians are probably enjoying an after lunch pennichella (nap)!

A pleasant, smiling bus driver welcomes me and a sweet Italian grandmother on to the bus.  The Italian grandma is going to terme (thermal baths) and, in a strong Roman accent, proceeds to tell me and the driver her entire life story, making sure we know everything about her husband, sons and grandchildren……;)
After leaving this chatty elderly lady at Chianciano Terme, within 10 minutes we are at the first stop in town where Il Sasso Italian school dominates the valley below. As I enjoy the panorama from the school’s balcony, I’m joined by my colleague, Silvia, the director of the school, and Heike, the school’s receptionist. Silvia and Heike then take me for a tour of the school.

The excitable Silvia deluges me with new ideas, projects, courses and stories about our students. Happily, we decide to finish our discussion at the terrazzo bar, a few minutes away from the school. Over an aperitif spritz, we admire the sunset over the Tuscan countryside.



And now at 7pm, after just a few hours, the traffic, the smog, and the overcrowded city life seems far away….

by Antonio & Silvia, director @ il sasso.com




Book now for hiking and learning Italian in October @ Il Sasso.com 

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I just found this map of Italy by Classic Italian film and thought it is very stimulating, especially if you consider that the most productive regions (Lombardia, Emilia Romagna, Lazio and Sicilia above all others) seem to work with genres that are seen as more appropriate to the cultural atmosphere of their specific territory.

For example, immersed in the grey metropolitan scenarios of the workaholic Lombardia you will find bright examples of Italian noir of the early 70s, later turned into the exploitation subgenre known as poliziottesco (I milanesi ammazzano al sabato, which by the way is not the exact title of the movie, is just one of many quotable classics: see also unforgettable masterpieces like Milano calibro 9 or Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare) or several titles referable to the commedia comica tradition (Il ragazzo di campagna with comedian Renato Pozzetto is just one of the many quotable productions: see also the trashy masterpiece Fratelli d’Italia or one of the many movies starring singer Adriano Celentano, such as Lui è peggio di me).

On the other hand, Emilia Romagna, with its endless plains and its decadent moods, blooms with titles by maestros such as Federico Fellini and Bernardo Bertolucci: the first with his oniric and almost mystic approach to reality, obvious in the quoted classic Amarcord; the latter with his majestic fresco of Italian history that is Novecento, somehow continuing the realist tradition of early XX century Italian literature and the moods of some late neorealist classics (see Il Gattopardo by Luchino Visconti).

Special Courses in Rome: art, culture and cinema> book now

Lazio, being the region of political and spiritual power, suffers from a sort of good tempered parochialism, offering more than a title strictly related to the cultural and linguistic features of Rome and its sorrounding: the renowned Marchese del Grillo stands alongside many other historical dramas set in the papal Rome, such as Nell’anno del Signore or In nome del Papa Re, all presenting very strict references to roman dialects and famous roman vernacular poets (Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli and Trilussa above all others); later, neorealism will draw with both hands from the dramatic experience of nazist occupation of Lazio (La ciociara) and from the postbellic and postindustrial despair in the big city (Accattone and Amore Tossico, both starring amateur actors picked up from the streets).

Italian classes in Rome


Finally, the harsh and yet amazingly beautiful scenario of Sicilia has inspired movies in which the cultural features of southern Italy are clearly recognizable: the unforgiving presence of traditional family, with its suffocating tentacles, and the women’s role are two main topics in movies such as Divorzio all’italiana and Sedotta e abbandonata, both by Pietro Germi; and yet this accurate analysis of sicilian social structures sometimes leaves room to a more surrealistic approach, such as the one offerd in Totò che visse due volte by Ciprì & Maresco. Interestingly enough, movies about Mafia are not that common, or at least not as much as a foreign viewer might think…

by Enrico, teacher @ Kappa Language School in Rome

Where to study Italian: Rome


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Un’intervista con la scrittrice Jhumpa Lahiri, autrice del libro “In altre parole” in cui descrive la sua esperienza come studentessa d’italiano.

Nel libro la scrittrice americana descrive tutte le emozioni che ha vissuto e che vive ogni giorno in bilico fra le 3 lingue, italiano, bengalese e inglese. Una lettura divertente e piacevole che consiglio vivamente a tutti i miei studenti.

Ora guardate l’intervista e rispondete alle domande.



livello B1+

  1. Dove ha scritto il libro “In altre parole” e perché ha scelto questo posto
  2. Come descrive il suo rapporto con la lingua italiana
  3. In quale città è nata Jhumpa Lahiri
  4. Qual è la sua lingua madre
  5. Quale lingua parlava in casa con i genitori
  6. Quale era la reazione della madre
  7. In quale lingua sognava a New York e perché

Vocabolario: spiegate in altre parole queste espressioni che ascoltate nell’intervista:

  • Mancanza
  • Squilibrio
  • Amore inappagato
  • Onestamente
  • Può darsi
  • Doloroso

Trova il sinonimo o contrario nella lista: disonestamente, forse, carenza, equilibrio, insoddisfatto,indolore

Study Italian in Italy

Reading in Italian: Io non ho paura di Niccolò Ammaniti




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La Chiacchiera Spritz

Following the last successful party, we would like to invite you for a new Italian aperitivo event with canapes & good chiacchiera (chat) in Italiano.

Let’s meet at Casa Tua Art Cafè in King’s Cross  on Wednesday 22nd of June at 6.30pm.

Aperitivo Italiano, Canapes and a good chat in Italian!

plus la riffa: Win 1 week language course in Rome @ kappalanguageschool.com

and 1 language course at the Italian Cultural Institute


Where: Casa Tua, 106-108 Cromer Street WC1H 8BZ

Tube:  King’s Cross
When:  Wednesday 22nd  of June from 6.30pm to 10pm
Entry: £ 6 ( 1Spritz and Apulian typical finger food)

Organizers: Antonio & Giuseppe

Learn Italian in Rome with Kappa Language School

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