Tag Archives: learn italian

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: conosci queste parole che ascolti 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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Explore Sorrento: a beautiful Italian town situated in the Neapolitan Riviera.

Explore Sorrento this summer and discover a town full of exciting things to do and see. It is full of Mediterranean charm and visitors will enjoy the Southern Italian lifestyle. With many cafes and shops, Sorrento holidays will be enjoyed by every member of the family. Visitors can learn about the culture and enjoy some of the finest Italian cuisine!

Holidays to Sorrento have so much to offer. One of the most popular places in the Sorrento area is the Sant’Agata Sui Due Golfi. Here, visitors will enjoy the breathtaking scenery overlooking the Bay of Naples and the Bay of Salerno.

sorrento tasso


Explore Sorrento with Sant'Anna Institute

What to do in Sorrento

Glance across Sorrento’s evocative landscape and you will see the soft pink, blue and ochre buildings of Piazza Tasso, Sorrento’s main square. The square is lined with tables and chairs and is very much at the heart of the town.

Sorrento’s array of shops, restaurants and nightlife makes for the perfect break. Whether you are treating yourself or bringing back traditional souvenirs such as hand-crafted marquetry and handmade sandals for loved ones, Old Sorrento is a great place to start. Stretching from the seafront on to the main street, Sorrento’s historical centre is the ideal shopping location.  Don’t miss one of Sorrento’s weekly antique markets selling everything from jackets to handbags.


Special offer Learn Italian: 50+ program

The charming streets of Sorrento come alive at night with an array of restaurants and bars. In the summer months the locals will fill the outside terraces of the cafes and restaurants creating a bustling atmosphere. Visit one of the many piano bars that offer live music whilst enjoying a bite to eat.

sorrento sea beach


Experience the taste of Sorrento around every corner. Food lovers will be in gastronomic heaven on a holiday in Sorrento with plenty of restaurants to choose from, plus food and wine tours enabling you to take a little bit of Sorrento home with you.
Famous names from this area include Taurasi Riserva (red wine) and Greco di Tufo (white wine).

Study and Learn Italian:explore Sorrento with Sant'Anna Institute

Sorrento is most famous for the delicious yellow liqueur, limoncello. Though it’s not clear who was the first inventor of the drink, it is a product that is consumed across the Sorrentine Peninsular and the surrounding areas. This lemon flavoured liqueur is suitable for many occasions including as an aperitivo or digestive and even on gelato & macedonia (fruit salad).

How to make limoncello: the original recipe


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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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