In our school, we have always been aware of how language and culture are strictly connected,” says Alberto Canella at International House Milan. “The reasons for studying Italian are now more varied, but culture is still one of the most important.” It is fitting, therefore, that Italian language schools offer a range of plus programmes to help international students explore a rich cultural heritage.
Studio Italia, Rome, offers courses including opera, wine and architecture. Detailing the Italian through Rome and its Cinema course as an example, Fabio Boccio says, “Participants will visit the most relevant places shown in the clips presented.” He adds, “What is more, each film is illustrated in relation to its aesthetic relevance and to the historical context in which it takes place.” Boccio adds the school is equipped with audiovisual equipment and a video library.
At Sant’Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue, Olga Stinga says the location of Sorrento is a key element of: singing courses teaching a range of techniques and performance through opera and traditional Neapolitan music; ceramics classes where students learn about processing, decoration and clay-baking techniques of traditional craftsmen; and cookery courses presenting old-fashioned dishes typical of the Campania region, “an area where the gastronomic tradition is impressive and well-known all over the world”.
Cooking is also a plus course at Linguaviva in Florence, says Giorgia Biccelli, “suitable for participants who wish to combine Italian language lessons and culinary arts and to enjoy the opportunity of discovering the secrets of Italian cuisine”. An Italian plus Arts course, meanwhile, offers art, design or photography in the city that was the cradle of Renaissance art. Milan-based sister school Linguadue capitalises on its location with a fashion/design course. “The aim is to catch a glimpse of the creative process in the fashion world in a city which is the worldwide acclaimed capital of fashion.” All three cultural elements take place at renowned professional partner schools, adds Biccelli.
“The beauty of the scenery of Calabria and especially Tropea is the perfect subject for oil and aquarelle paintings,” enthuses Simone Rainer at Piccola Università Italiana about the backdrop for Italian plus Painting. The school’s popular Cooking Mediterranean Style course introduces typical Calabrian specialities. “With this Italian plus course, students delve into the Italian way of life and Calabrian culture outside of the classroom too,” says Rainer. Piccola Università opened a new school in Trieste earlier this year, and is planning painting, pottery and music courses there from 2014.
Cooking and wine is on offer at Omnilingua www.omnilingua.net in the seaside resort of Sanremo. “The course involves the preparation of particular Italian dishes especially from the Liguria region,” says Danie Pietzner, giving examples of pesto, Ligurian vegetable pie (torte verdure) and Ligurian rabbit stew among others. “This is accompanied by an introduction to and tastings of the wonderful wines of the region, a veritable paradise for wine and good food lovers,” Pietzner enthuses.
Cuisine and wine are also in the portfolio at L’Italiano Porticando, along with cinema, music, literature, art history and architecture. “Turin has a lot to offer those who love Italian culture,” says Rosario Constanzo, noting it was the birthplace of Italian cinema and haute couture, and home to famous novelists and writers. Dilit - International House, similarly has a broad range including style, architecture, photography, theatre, song and film-making, says Paolo Lazzaro.
“The IH Milan course is aimed at meeting the desires of those students who love the Italian language because of the culture that it represents,” says Canella about the school’s general culture course, covering “a rich programme of activities to enjoy and discover areas of Milan...such as The Last Supper, La Scala Theatre, Pinacoteca di Brera, but also coffee in the historical coffee houses of the city, cooking lessons, buying food in the local market and much more”. Similarly, Istituto Venezia has a general culture course covering the history of the much-painted city, its art and environment, says Matteo Savini.
The global appeal of Italian culture is reflected in the wide-ranging clientele for these courses, with Latin America, North America, the UK, Germany, Russia and Japan widely cited by contributors as key markets. “During the last 40 years, over 1,700 students annually of every age and country have attended our Italian and culture courses,” says Lazzaro.
A selection of Italian plus culture courses
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