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Italian language lessons in Bologna (trip report)

Italian language lessons in Bologna (trip report)

Jun 22nd, 2018, 05:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 244
Italian language lessons in Bologna (trip report)

Bologna May 11 – 19, 2018

The purpose of this trip was two fold: a long weekend with my husband, followed by a
week’s intensive Italian grammar and conversation course at ARCA Bologna.


We stayed in a very comfortable studio (with kitchen facility) at the Residenza Piazza Santo Stefano,Via Santo Stefano 40 Bologna


Across the street is a small bakery and a PAM supermarket where they sell good qualityfresh produce. We bought a carton of the freshest and most fragrant strawberries.

A late lunch in one of the many places you find on Via Pescherie Vecchie, consisting
of a plate of Bolognese salame, cheese, prosciutto and some bread.

The next day we had breakfast at the Piazza Santo Stefano. We strolled the Saturday
antique market, visited the amazing Sette Chiese and walked on in the direction of theSan Petronio basilica.

On our way we met a charming older gentleman who welcomed us to Bologna. In fact I
noticed that the people in Bologna usually are very polite and friendly.
We visited the Archiginnasio, once the main building of the University of Bologna, which was established in the year 1088.

Then it was time for a bus tour through the city. I find these tours very useful as the give you a good overview of the city.

A simple lunch at La Baita Vecchia. Via Pescherie Vecchie, 3/A, 40124 Bologna BO
Wonderful tortelloni with ragù. We had learned that there is no such thing as spaghetti Bolognese. That’s an American invention. If you’re interested watch the BBC program Italy Unpacked (via Youtube). Chef Giorgio Locatelli and art historian Andrew Graham Dixon visit Bologna and tell you all about the proper Bolognese cuisine.

A few times a week concerts are given at the Basilica San Petronio.

Nothing grand, see this as a nice, musical introduction to Bologna.

Not far from where we stayed we found la Confraternità dell’ uva. This is a winebar, cum small restaurant, cum bookstore. Very low key place. They organize book
presentations, life music events etc. Via Cartoleria 20/BBologna, Italy 40124

A late breakfast at i Giardini Margherita. It was Sunday and Mother’s Day and there
was a huge farmer’s market going on. I have seldom seen so many beautiful roses in
full bloom. It was a feast for the eyes.

After lunch we took the building elevator up along the basilica San Petronio from
where we had a beautiful view over Bologna. Dinner at “Parlor” on Via Cartoleria whichI recommend.

On Monday my husband flew home and I started my language lessons. I can really
recommend Arca Bologna. The teachers I had were very professional but also had a lot
of humor, which showed throughout the classes and conversation group. We had so much

On Tuesday I had dinner at la Drogheria della Rosa. The food was good but on the whole I thought a bit on the expensive side. The only drawback of being in an Italian city ‘da sola’ is that most restaurants are
not used to single guests. You are seated at a corner table, which is great for observing the crowd but is not really much fun.
This is one of the reasons why I opted for an apartment rather than a hotel or B&B.
La Confraternità dell’ Uva is where I spent a number of evenings after I had made
myself dinner in the apartment. It’s an easy going, low key wine bar where people comein for a drink, a snack or bring their laptops to do some work.

The end of the week arrived all too soon. I plan to go back!
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2018, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Wonderful Elisabeth54. Your apartment location looks great. Did you speak any Italian before you took the class?
TDudette is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2018, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 247
Tell us more about your lessons! Its always been a dream of mine to do a week of learning Italian, but I am not great at languages. Were you a complete novice (ME)?

Thank you for posting
OReilly64 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2018, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
Hi Elisabeth,

has your Bologna visit been and gone already? sounds as if you had a good time, despite being seated in the corner! Funny that was not my experience as a solo diner in Bologna, but it has been elsewhere, occasionally. The wine bar sounds fun - I found several that doubled as bookshops in my part of town, which perhaps was not surprising as the University was so close. Ironically the best restaurant I found was on the last night - typical.

Glad you enjoyed the school too - you know that I was not overwhelmed by mine so were I to return to Bologna to do a language course [not out of the question, though I would try to go back at a warmer time of year] I would certainly look at it. Also at the school Madrelingua which someone else went to and enjoyed. It can simply be a matter of luck, I think - whether you like the teacher/s, or gell with the other students, or enjoy the outside visits and excursions they organise - there are so many variables.

thanks for sharing your trip with us.
annhig is offline  
Jun 24th, 2018, 12:07 PM
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Hello all, thank you for your reactions to my post. This was not the first time I went to Italy for a language class. I have taken lessons for the past four years in my hometown but frankly nothing compares with taking lessons in Italy itself. It's such a great boost and I came back totally charged and enthusiastic to carry on with my Italian language class. It is a bit of a challenge to take up a completely new language when one is over 50 but I thoroughly enjoy it and they say it's good for the brain.

The first time around I attended a school in Turin called Italiano Porticando. Turin is also a nice city, perhaps a little more 'formal' than Bologna, which is a university town. The school I attended this time around was a bit less 'organized' than the previous one but the quality of the teachers made up for that. Yes, Annhig, you are quite right, it is indeed a matter of luck whether you happen to have a nice class and enjoy the outside activities. My class consisted of 8 persons from all corners from the planet. Young people who studied at the university (classes are in English) but wanted to perfect their spoken Italian, one was an aspiring opera singer from Edinburgh.
As I was on my own I wanted to make sure that I stayed in a safe area (if such places even exist) and I was pleased with the location of my studio apartment. Granted, it sometimes was a bit too busy outside on the street, particular on weekend nights, but I felt part of Bolognese life and everything was so conveniently close by.
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2018, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
As I was on my own I wanted to make sure that I stayed in a safe area (if such places even exist) and I was pleased with the location of my studio apartment. Granted, it sometimes was a bit too busy outside on the street, particular on weekend nights, but I felt part of Bolognese life and everything was so conveniently close by.>>

Elisabeth I thought that the centre of Bologna was pretty safe though on the night I went to the ballet I was relieved to discover that I was only 7 minutes walk from my apartment! Thank goodness for the map app on my phone. One of the things that I have enjoyed about my italian language school stays is the opportunity to get to know a city by [almost] living in it. Of course, it's never going to be the same as living somewhere long term but virtually all schools tell you the best places to go, arrange tours and excursions and are staffed by locals who can help you make the most of your stay.

I would quite like to go to Bologna again, and though I liked the area around the university I think that I would pick a different part of the city in which to stay - probably somewhere near where you were, just to get a feel for another area. The walk to the school in the morning was a great way to get to know the centre though, as once I got my bearings, I started to vary my route so I saw new things every day. That way I knew where I was when I went out in the evening. [mostly!]

Turin would also be a good choice I think [I've never been there] or Palermo. [ditto!]
annhig is offline  
Jun 24th, 2018, 06:52 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,524
Thanks for your report and feedback about your school. I've taken Italian classes in Rome and Venice; like you (and annhig too, I believe), I also take classes at home. I agree that speaking improves dramatically when one takes a class in Italy. I'm off to Turin this week, but no school for me this time. It's a short holiday and I plan to simply enjoy myself. Would love to hear any recommendations you might have.
Leely2 is offline  
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