Tag Archives: speaking italian

Maria has a soft voice and a very easy manner, nothing seems to stress or worry her.

Even though she is planning a wedding for her daughter in 3 weeks, we are welcomed in and offered cakes and coffee around the large table before getting started.

Maria is unable to sit still and if she is sitting, her hands are at work on the tombolo (to make lace) or embroidering a bedspread, or crocheting clothes for her grandchildren. Even the caciocavallo hanging in the cantina are homemade and having watched this regional formaggio stagionata a pasta filata (stretched curd cheese) being formed by the strong arms of the lavoratori in the artisan caseifici of the countryside, we are stunned not only that she has the time, but the strength.

The amarena are ripening on her trees so we plan to be back making sour cherry jam over the next weeks. But tonight we are cooking in two groups: the first to make ravioli con ricotta e spinaci al burro e salvia, the second to make contorni ripieni.



The pasta is pummelled and rolled first by Mary who is a natural, being a bread maker, the rest of students were not so skilled, but everyone has a go.We roll the pasta through la macchinetta over and over before it’s smooth enough to go in the moulds and filled with ricotta e spinaci. Very satisfying and worth the effort!

Next is the simple, southern Italian cucina povera recipes of melanzane, peperoni e zucchini ripieni, hard to grasp how stale bread crumbs and a few bits of seasoning can be so tasty, but the fresh seasonal ingredients put together in just the right amounts combine to make a delicious dish.

Recipes on the website:LiveandlearnItalian.com

pasta makers


Around a big long table in the garden outside, the students were joined by some of Maria’s family and friends, we share the meal and had a relaxing conversation in Italian over dinner. Everything we have made is delicious, and we finish off a lovely afternoon and evening with Maria’s crostata di albicocca. 

Cooking and sharing a meal together is a great way to loose any inhibitions about speaking  Italian and this group of students is fantastically open and easy, really taking every opportunity to find conversation. It’s been a great start to the sessions of summer 2016.

by Jenifer, founder of LiveandLearnItalian.com, off the beaten track

Students’ testimonials: click here

Join Jenifer: click here and get an idea of programmes and prices

The last undiscovered region of Italy: Molise


Tags: , , , , ,

Learning Italian, it is an on going struggle – of course the biggest challenge is to find the time; without constant practice it’s so easy to forget.

Practice must be on a daily basis!

That’s a tall order, but little and often can work and here are two tips:

1) talk to yourself in Italian (in your head or out loud!) when you are standing on the tube platform or walking down the street – you can keep a scrap of paper handy to note questions or things you are not sure about as you chat

2) read! I myself resisted for a long time deeming it too hard…. But I’ve discovered it is a fantastic way to learn and to be reminded. Authors tend to repeat the same kind of phraseology and vocabulary, which is great for learning modi di dire and vocabolario.

 You don’t need to read for too long – 15 minutes per day is do-able and done regularly produces good results.

Find a book

  • that you actually want to read, that keeps you wanting to know more
  • that tells a linear story; magical realism or too many changes back and forth from present to past can be confusing

by Jenifer, founder of Live and Learn Italian in Agnone, Molise

2015-07-11 12.24.43


Agnone, is in a small town where the locals are very friendly and eager to communicate, but do not speak English. The programme has been structured to combine daily lessons with multiple opportunities to practice speaking – over cooking with the local women, visits to the artisan workshops, tours of the centro storico and other historical and cultural sights, and family food producers of the region.

Our hosts are all happy to share their methods, family histories, and stories, and join you for a coffee on the terrace. It is really up to you how much practice you get – chat with the staff at the bar and over dinner, engage with our driver who is also a dairy farmer, learn about the various regional cheeses directly from the makers – this is the slow life and people have time to connect with you. And they want to – they are far off the tourist track so they are interested to know where you have come from, why you are learning Italian and how you like their town!



Courses this summer are booking up but there are some slots available June 25th and July 16th and a few still free September 3rd


Info and bookings: jenifer@liveandlearnitalian.com  +447771 750 189

For information, or do call if you want to talk anything through 🙂

If you liked this, you will probably want to read these:

Driving up the Trabucchi coast

The original Italians and the mystery of Tavola Osca

Agnone, where no one speaks English


Tags: , , , ,