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Language course in Trieste, Northern Italy

Language course in Trieste, Northern Italy

Jun 24th, 2017, 10:37 PM
  #1  
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Language course in Trieste, Northern Italy

Hello all, this will be the second time that I plan to attend a one or two week Italian language course in Italy. The first time was in Torino which was absolutely great. Now I'm thinking of Trieste as my destination around the end of September/ beginning of October.

1. Has anyone of you had any experiences with the language school Instituto Venezia in the Santa Maria Maggiore convent? Please share your experiences with other schools and different destinations with me.
2. All information about Trieste is most welcome. Judging from the pictures it's environment looks stunning. I do realize however that this city historically has a multi lingual and multi cultural background and therefore I hesitate a bit if it would be the right choice for Italian language immersion.
I'm sure that that Italian that is taught at the school itself will be without a specific local accent but will I be able to use it on the streets, in restaurants etc.?

Thanks as ever for your help.
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2017, 12:55 AM
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My recollection of being in Trieste was that very few people spoke English. But you will overhear people speaking Slovenian and German, Croatian (I'm guessing on the last two, because I'm not sure I recognize them), but those are neighboring countries). Trieste does get cruise ships, so if you hang around some of the top guidebook attractions you might see menus in many different languages, including Russian and Greek. But even there I recall going to one of the more "must-do" buffets always mentioned in guidebooks, and the main waiter was joking around with translating some of the more obscure items into English for one table, but it was obvious he didn't have any real command of English (just knew how to shout "horseradish!")

You might find a lot of signage in Trieste is in English as well as Italian, or that just in general some local terms are more easily decipherable because the are more Germanic, like English, than Italian due to the Austrian history. Lastly, Triests multicultural populations means some vendors might be speaking Italian to you with an accent, but not sure where you go in Italy any more where you wouldn't find immigrant vendors.

In general I don't think it will be any less of an immersion in Italian than what you found in Torino. In fact, it might be more. Loads of "hip" English signage in Torino and cosmopolitan locals eager to put their English to use. Trieste is far less focused on America than Torino historically has been.
massimop is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 09:10 AM
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I have taken on-line Italian classes from instructors from various regions as well as on-site class in Italy. If it is relevant to you, you might also consider the regionalism of the language. For the types of trips I have done in Italy, the language used in the middle to northern Italy has been more appropriate. I felt instructors from Sicily, Napoli and other cities in Campania, and Trieste had strong regional accents that I felt were not useful for my trips.
greg is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 11:44 AM
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I took a week at InClasse school in Verona. It was September before last, and it was around 31 deg. centigrade and humid, but Verona and nearby Lake Garda were wonderful.

Since Verona has substantial tourism, you do get the occasional response in English at cafes, etc. which may not be as immersive as Trieste. The language school was decent, I thought.
annw is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 12:18 PM
  #5  
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Thank you all for your helpful reactions.

I am now thinking that perhaps Trieste may be less of an authentic "Italian experience" than I have in mind.

I'm actually looking to stay in a town in central Italy (for the same reasons mentioned by Greg) that is not overly touristic and a little bit off the beaten track. (if there are any such places in Italy).

Ferrara, Mantua and Vicenza came to mind; Ascoli Piceno in the Marche. Any other suggestions for Italian language schools are most welcome.

Perhaps some within Fodor's community have suggestions?
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 12:49 PM
  #6  
 
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If you do a Google search "Italian Language schools in Italy", you'll come up with a number of possibilities, including several in central Italy.

I took a course at Dante Alighieri in Rome but it was some years ago. It was Italian for Foreigners and only Italian was spoken in class. It was great and I see that there is one in Siena.

I had a wonderful experience at Solemar Sicilia in Cefalu, Sicily and almost registered again this year. Instead, I am taking a course in Siracusa in September at the Italian Academy. It gets great reviews.

You might try contacting this organization, which acts as an agent for Italian language schools in various parts of Italy. They might have some suggestions for you.

The Language International Team
EU office: Schönhauser Allee 6/7, 10119 Berlin, Germany
US office: 6 Liberty Square #2124, Boston, MA 02109
Phone: +1 (617) 871-9925 | Fax: +1 (617) 812 6141

Good luck.
panecott is offline  
Jun 26th, 2017, 01:10 PM
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One thing you might look for is the nationality of students taking classes. If the school has a diverse clientele from non-English speaking countries, you are more likely to practice Italian with the other students instead of resorting to English. This site gives nationality breakdown for some schools:

http://www.languagecourse.net/schools--italy.php3

I took a 2-week course at Lucca Italian School. The classes were great and, during my time there, I started to think in Italian (I had studied Italian previously.) The main streets in the historic area are popular with tourists, but I visited shops off the beaten path to practice my Italian. It is easy to catch a train to Montecatini or Pistoia (I found fewer English speaking shopkeepers in Pistoia).

If you click on my name, you can see my trip report.

Here is the school link: http://www.luccaitalianschool.com/

Annhig, another Fodorite, has done several language schools. Here is a link to her experience in Obetello.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-tuscany.cfm
mama_mia is offline  
Jun 27th, 2017, 04:32 AM
  #8  
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Grazie mille tutti! Your suggestions are all very much appreciated!
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2017, 07:06 AM
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For purposes of your trip, I don't know what kind of "authentic" expeirence of Italy that you are looking for, but I assure that Trieste is a totally authentic experience of Italy. As the Italian spoken there is standard Italian, not at all a dialect. As for regional accents, it's not a bad idea to get used hearing them -- just like someone learning to speak English ought to be able to deal with understanding somebody from Australia as well as California or Canada.

There are language schools all over Italy, many of them aimed at tourists who are primarily interested in the location as tourists, spending several weeks in Italy enjoying themselves and the local sights, and taking Italian lessons is part of how they organize a longer stay (or "justify" it, in some cases.

I carry no flag for Trieste but I would tend to think you will find very few tourist students at language schools there. You are more likely to find immigrants who need to learn it, and who aren't mainly there to be on holiday. There are other large towns in Italy where I would expect the same: Bari, Genova, Brescia, Ancona, Viterbo. I also think that if you go to Perugia, despite the high number of foreign students in town, you will find a high degree of coooperation for study and finding study partners.
massimop is offline  
Jun 27th, 2017, 09:56 AM
  #10  
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Hello Massimop, thank you for taking the time to give me some extra information on Trieste.

I have studied Italian as a foreign language via our local adult education center for four semesters now. Why Italian and why not Spanish which (let's face it) covers a broader language territory? I have often asked myself that question.
Well, frankly because I just love the sound of the language and I am a stickler for opera lyrica. All my life I have enjoyed learning new languages but Italian has captured my heart.

What I am looking for is a not too large historic town, in a part of Italy where I, as a non-native speaker, can make myself understood and can understand the people outside of the language school.

At the same time ideally a town where I, as mature woman, can feel relatively safe roaming the streets by myself, especially in the evenings.

In the meantime though I have received a lot of suggestions so I'm pretty sure that I will find a good destination. Again, thank you for your time.
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2017, 12:04 PM
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You would need to go to some pretty outre' places in Italy not to feel safe as a mature woman alone at night.

Smaller historic towns in central Italy where you might find language courses & which would be perfectly safe & where only a very few people need or want to speak English are Reggio nell'Emilia, Piacenza, Pistoia, Terni, Citta di Castello, Urbania

I don't think anyone is questioning your reaons for wanting to study Italian. Or that you will find a good destination. But some of the suggestions you've receved or ones you're considering are at odds with your first post stating that you want an immerson experience away from situations where Italians are likely to speak English to you because they are in the business of making English-speaking tourists happy.

Lucca is filled with Italians who could not making a living if they weren't fluent in English because Lucca is primarily a toursit town with a long history of marketing itself to UK & American tourists. Ditto Verona.

Vicenza (which is in northern Italy, not central Italy) has an American military base, so English is very much in use in the commercial town & touristic parts of town -- and the town isn't much bigger than that. I consider central Ferrara a tourist town along the lines of Lucca. Mantova is more isolated, so you might do better there (in fact, the last time I stayed in Mantove, no one whom I dealt with in the tourist service industry spoke English except at the museums, although plainly the tour buses roll through. How strong the local accent is, since you mention that as quite important to you, I don't know.)

Orbetello certainly wasn't born yesterday but a lot of its present economic & architectural life is really post WW2, when it turned itself into a summer holiday destination.

Buona fortuna!
frencharmoire is offline  
Jun 27th, 2017, 01:25 PM
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Has anyone of you had any experiences with the language school Instituto Venezia in the Santa Maria Maggiore convent? Please share your experiences with other schools and different destinations with me. >>

Miss, please me, miss, me, me!!

yes I'm the one at the back of the class trying to get teacher's attention to say that I have indeed attended the Instituto Venezia in the Campo San Margherita in Venice; of the 4 schools I've been to, I would say that this one was the best, particularly for non-beginners as they have enough students at any one time to be able to offer a course at your level. Teaching was very good and the organisation very professional and they also offered some activities in the afternoons when were very interesting. I've never been to Trieste or to the school there but I have no reason to believe that it wouldn't be equally well run. I can't tell you what the mix of students will be like but in the Venice school we tended to communicate in Italian which was another way of practising.

Apart from Venice and Orbetello I've attended schools in Rome and Sorrento all of which had teaching which varied from good to excellent. Education is highly valued in Italy and teachers are very serious about what they do and IME very well prepared. To get the most out of any school I would strongly advise staying for at least 2 weeks. The first few days are quite hard work as your brain gets used to communicating in Italian for several hours a day. Then, with luck, it all clicks but if you're just staying for a week, at that point you go home! a fortnight gives you the chance of consolidating what you're learnt and really putting it into practice.

I've done TRs about all 4 classes - just click on my screen name to find them. I'll happily answer any questions you might have.
annhig is offline  
Jun 27th, 2017, 02:35 PM
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annhig, next month I'm taking a class for a week at Istituto Venezia. Unlike you, I cannot seem to commit to a full two weeks of lessons while I'm on vacation! But glad to read your positive review of the school.

Elisabeth54, unfortunately I don't have a recommendation (I'm a city person, so have studied in Rome--not what you're looking for). I was in Ascoli last summer for holiday though; Le Marche seems to have many English tourists but still it is very easy to communicate exclusively in Italian, no matter how slow and halting yours may be.

Abruzzo would be good for immersion, too, I would think. Not sure about language schools, though.
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2017, 05:34 AM
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Hi leely - I should have made it clear that I've never managed more than a week yet either! but I'm sure that 2 weeks together would be as good as 3 individual weeks for the reasons I've stated.

I'm sure that you will enjoy the school in Venice. When we were there [admittedly in February, but it was Carnevale] there were definitely far fewer tourists than in San Marco etc. and there are some good places to go in the vicinity, starting with the little bar just opposite the bottom of the steps that lead up to the doors to the school, which offers a discount on coffee for students of the school - it was €1 for an espresso when I was there which is a bargain for Venice.

Other good places nearby: the Caffe Rosso on the other side of the square which does a great spritz, cicchetti and tramezzini

http://www.cafferosso.it

osteria alla bifora, which offers great sharing platters and good wine

the pastecceria on the way from the Ca' Rezzonico vaporetto stop, which is excellent

The cafe/bar just along from the Ca' Rezzonico stop, on the left [if you read my TR from this visit you'll find its name, which I've forgotten]. - great for breakfast.

Where are you staying?
annhig is offline  
Jun 28th, 2017, 12:28 PM
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Thanks for all your tips, ann! The pasticceria sounds especially appealing. I'm staying in Dorsoduro, about a 15 minute walk from Campo Santa Margherita. Fifteen minutes without getting lost, that is. I haven't been to Venice in many years, so I'm quite excited.
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2017, 09:59 PM
  #16  
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Dear all, I have been a member of this forum for seven years now and I must say that I really find it a great place for sharing travel thoughts! Over the years the Fodor's community has given me valuable information. Often I find that preparing for a trip is half the fun.

Still....... as the saying goes: too much analysis leads to paralysis. I'm going to use this weekend to reflect on all the suggestions, tips etc. that I have received and will make a decision soon. Thank you all again and have a great weekend wherever you are.
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2017, 04:46 AM
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That's a great link to the language schools, mama_mia. Thanks for posting.

I'm already thinking of where I will take my next course!
panecott is offline  
Nov 20th, 2017, 07:11 AM
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alex - advertising is not allowed here.

In case anyone else opens this thread as a result of alex's advert, i have just signed up for 2 weeks in Feb at the Academya Lingue in Bologna:

http://www.academyalingue.com

2 friends went there in September and were most impressed so I'm hoping for good things.

Did you ever make your decision Elizabeth? How did it go?
annhig is offline  
Nov 20th, 2017, 09:18 PM
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Annhig I will eagerly await your report on the Bologna school -- I get to Ravenna from time to time for mosaic training and would love to attend there or at the Venice school.
annw is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 06:33 AM
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I'm really looking forward to it, ann. They seem very friendly and the director has been very helpful in finding me somewhere to stay. I'd provisionally booked an apartment but staying with a local will certainly give me the maximum opportunity to practice the italian I will be learning.

One of my goals is to go to Ravenna while I'm there - I will have a free weekend so I can have a least a full day there. I'll start a new thread so if you like you can give me some tips there on what to see!
annhig is offline  

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