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Question about I week language lessons in Italy-Advanced Intermediate- any experiences?

Question about I week language lessons in Italy-Advanced Intermediate- any experiences?

Sep 25th, 2007, 03:45 PM
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Question about I week language lessons in Italy-Advanced Intermediate- any experiences?

I have a week to spend and I am considering signing up for a series of one-to-one language lessons- because I was advased by the head of a school here in NY (Dante ALighieri) that at my level it might give me a much more intense exposure to the language. I've been studying it for over 5 years now.

Every year I go to Italy and every year I almost sign up for Italian lessons while there, but then I don't because I find other things to do on my trip that lure me away..

I'd like to know if any other Italian speaking Fodorites have had this experience, and what did you decide? Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.
Alloro_beata is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 03:59 AM
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Alloro_beata is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 04:14 AM
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There have been several Fodorites discuss their language school experiences in Italy. If you do a search you will turn up several in Sicily/Siena/Florence. I'm not sure anyone used the company you're interested in. You will probably find living with a host family that doesn't speak English will help you pick up the language faster.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 26th, 2007, 04:26 AM
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Thanks kybourbon, I appreciate your response. I have been doing searches for a few days now on Fodors and other sites.

My question is more related to anyone who might already have attained a more advanced level of Italian and done one-on-one sessions such as those offered in several schools, as opposed to group lessons, which have been discussed on Fodors. So far I have found that Istituto Galilei in Florence does specialize in this individual approach (but still has small groups). And I know I can also do it at Dante ALighieri, but I wanted to see of anyone else had done it.
Alloro_beata is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 04:46 AM
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Many of the school offer intensive one-on-one lessons. This thread has a link to one in Siena.

My daughter has a knack for languages and took four years of Spanish in high school and scored a 5 on the AP exam. In college, she decided to get a minor in Spanish. Her junior year she lived with a family in Madrid and attended two different colleges. She was surprised that she wasn't anywhere near as fluent as she had assumed she was before she left for Madrid. Living with a family that didn't speak English made a big difference in her speaking ability.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 26th, 2007, 04:52 AM
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Thanks, I'll check the link. And thanks for mentioning your daughter's experience.
Alloro_beata is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 04:55 AM
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LOL, I had already seen that thread and had called both the school in Venice as well as the Siena school, as well as the housing connection for Venice.

Oh well. I'm off on my own I guess, but thanks.
Alloro_beata is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 05:01 AM
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My experience has been group based and I enjoyed it although I realise that is not what you are after (The school I attended in Siena did offer 4 hours in groups, plus 2 hours of one-one in the afternoon.)

In my initial searches for a language school I found one that seems to offer exactly what you are after at http://www.bolognalingua.com/. At that stage I thought that one to one might be beyond my capabilities.

As already stated, I have no personal experience, but I know it got some very good reviews over on the SlowTravel website.
willit is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 05:11 AM
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This thread has a report about the school you mentioned.

As willit mentioned, you might take a look at Slowtrav.com for school recommendations.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 26th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Thanks willit, I emailed them (bolognalingua) and you're right-they do have a less traditional approach but it is one that reflects the needs of people who are more experienced and want to make the next leap!
Alloro_beata is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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My husband and I have attended Il Sasso Italian language school in Montepulciano 4 times and will return for the 5th time in April (two week sessions each time). We still are not proficient in Italian--don't have much chance to practice at home--but we enjoy the teachers and living in Montepulciano, so we just keep returning. The school has small groups at several different levels of fluency, as well as individual instruction. I highly recommend Il Sasso--check out their website. www.ilsasso.com.
roamer is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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A good friend of mine in Rome was associated with this school for few years.


As you can see it offers one-on-one or group lessons, from elementary to "perfection" (yikes!)

A number of American universities send their students there, too. Worth a look.
Sep 26th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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Alloro-I have done language schools for decades, including those in Florence. I am also a former graduate student in languages, so I do keep up on language courses in Europe. The best language school in Italy is Dante Alighieri in Florence (other locations I believe, but the main one in Florence). Florence is where the purest and most correct Italian is spoken, hence there are many language schools located there. The "Accademia della Crusca" which is the academy that regulates the Italian language and has been around since the 15th century, is located just outside Florence. In addition, under Italian law, the Florentine dialect is the correct Italian that is taught and is used in official government communications, this is because Dante is the father of the Italian language, and he was a Florentine, and the fact that there are several dialects of spoken Italian, including the separate languages of Sicilian and Venetian.

Having said all that, I would recommend Dante Alighieri, as the best, the next Leonardo da Vinci, Eurocentre and also Michaelangelo schools are excellent, as well as Istituto Italiano, located on via Martelli just by the Duomo in Florence-the last one is operated by a former assistant director of the Toronto symphony, who is a Florentine-Stefano Burbi, and who offers a wonderful cultural offering for the students interested in music and opera courses, in addition to staging concerts at the school where his musician friends, as well as himself, perform.

There is nothing quite like taking a language course in Italy-you can make lifetime friends, and have some fantastic experiences-but most schools do not offer one week courses- (the only one I know of is in Venice-Istituto Venezia). The standard language course is 20 lessons a week, for two weeks, starting at 9am and ending at 1pm-with cultural courses in the afternoon, and great local outings in the evening.

Here are some of the websites of the top Italian language schools:

http://www.dantealighieri.it/homepageing.htm (beautiful frescoes in the cloister of the oldest language school in Italy)

Eurocentre Florence-has been around since the late 1950's in the Oltrarno-Piazza Santo Spirito-excellent school:


Scuola Leonardo da Vinci-great palazzo in the middle of Rome, near Piazza Navona:


Girlspytravel is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 03:38 PM
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I'll start the list of envious italophiles and language lovers who want to follow in your jet trail ...

I've often thought that rather while studying Italian in Italia, I'd also maybe take an art or cooking class - in Italian - to push myself.

Next best thing, spend that week in a small town where few people speak English - and pretend you don't, either. B)
tomassocroccante is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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My husband and I LOVED our week of individual Italian lessons at the Pasolini language school in Castiglioncello, on the coast south of Pisa:

They will tailor classes exactly to your individual needs and wishes. We had an absolutely wonderful teacher, whom we now consider a dear friend. We have a trip report, with the time about the language school starting here:

I thought their prices, including an apartment if you want it, were quite reasonable, too.
nonnafelice is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 03:48 AM
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I attended an Intensive language course at Centro Giacomo Puccini school, located on the seaside city of Viareggio, in tuscany:


After 4 weeks of Italian in Italy, this immersion training was exactly what I needed to ‘fill the gaps' as well as find out what areas needed improvement. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who has the goal of speaking Italian. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and will return again someday. The city, the homestay, the fellow students all were fantastic.
Italian_in_Italy is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 04:01 AM
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Italian_in_Italy : Advertising is not allowed on Fodors.

When a new poster arrives and their only post praises something - especially when it has resurrected a year old thread, then it seems to indicate advertising. Your chosen screen name also makes it look like you have a connection to the school.
willit is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 12:15 PM
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Did you find, or have you decided on the school in Italy.

I am in similar situation. I have studied Italian for about 4 years but find it really hard to improve, without having any Italian friends to practise with.

My plan is to go for 2 weeks of individual lessons (plus home stay) next March/April. If you managed to find a school please report back here your experience. My short list includes Istituto Italiano and Michaelangelo in Firenze, and Istituto Dante Aligheri in Roma.
Johnmango is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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bfrac is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 02:00 PM
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hi alloro,

echoing what someone else said, a really good way to improve is by staying with an italian family as well as doing the language course.

I'm sure that the reason I am able to speak reasonable german is due far more to staying with families on various trips than it is with formal lessons.

also, group lessons can be better than one to one as there is more pressure to compete with the group thanif you are just with a teacher.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  

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