Il Sasso - Italian Language School in Montepulciano One of the best Italian language schools in Italy, Il Sasso is recognized by the Ministry of Education and ISO 9001 certified. Since 1983 it offers courses in Italian language and culture. The school is open all year round both for group and individual teaching. Il Sasso is in Montepulciano, in the heart of Tuscany. It is located in a historic building in town, has 8 large, airy classrooms and a hall for conferences. Students are of every age group and come from all parts of the globe.
The Italian language school Il Sasso is located in Montepulciano, a beautiful, renaissance town that stands on a hill surrounded by vineyards and olive groves in southern Tuscany. The school was founded in 1983 by people who are still running it today, and it is recognized by the Ministry of Education.
Il Sasso is a small to medium size Italian school with a high standard of quality. Foreign students are of every age group and come from all parts of the globe.
The school is in an historic building in the heart of the town. It has 8 large, airy classrooms for Italian language courses, individual tuition and culture courses and a hall that's used for conferences, exhibitions and events. There's a terrace with a lovely panoramic view - a favourite place for students to take their class breaks during the summer months - as well as an Internet point, free WiFi access and the opportunity to study the Italian language or watch a film at the school at any time throughout the day. In addition, the school offers its students the chance to pass their afternoons together through a wide variety of excursions and afternoon activities - guided tours, wine, olive oil and cheese tastings, cooking classes, walks in the countryside... For fitness enthusiasts the gym in Montepulciano offers our students discounts and special courses.
Lessons are conducted by teachers, all university graduates, and specialized in the teaching of Italian as a foreign or second language, who are particularly experienced in instructing adult students. The Italian language courses are geared to those who want a cultural vacation in Tuscany while learning how to get by in Italian in day-to-day situations, as well as to those who wish to learn Italian for their work or studies through a full immersion program. The method of communication, and the friendly and personal atmosphere of the lessons make our courses a very special, human and cultural experience that's different each time.
The school's secretary offers constant and active support to students, advising them in their choice of lodgings or planning their trips. While being a centre of tourist activity, the town maintains a relaxed and friendly lifestyle and it is, above all, genuinely welcoming to foreign visitors. For all these reasons, we're convinced that Montepulciano and Il Sasso offer the ideal location in which to study the Italian language and culture. The proof of this is in the large number of students who return year after year. Learn more..
Several types of Italian language courses are offered at our school in Montepulciano, Italy.
Italian courses vary in the number of lessons per week and whether they consist in group and/or individual lessons.
Our Italian language courses begin every two weeks and have a maximum number of 9 people per group (average: 5-6). Lessons are held mornings and afternoons from Monday through Friday. Each hour of a lesson lasts 55 minutes. The courses are offered at all levels.
For students looking for a short programme dedicated to Italian culture, we run mini-courses on Italian history and literature, as well as courses on art, wine, cookery and popular traditions. The culture mini-courses last for 6 hours over two or three days, or for 10 hours over the course of a week. Participants must already have at least an intermediate knowledge of the Italian language. The weekly courses are individual courses and can be started on any Monday. The two or three-day courses are group courses held on fixed dates. These group courses require a minimum of three participants.
Certificates and Diplomas
At the end of a course each student receives a certificate from the school.
Teaching materials such as photocopies are included in the price. It is possible either to buy or to borrow the text books.
The principal objective of our Italian language courses is to get our students, even those in the beginner and elementary levels, to the point where they're able to communicate in Italian. How do we do this? We believe that the knowledge of grammatical structures and vocabulary are important, yet we know that they aren't enough in themselves. Students can be well versed in the rules of the Italian language without being able to speak it.
When we communicate in Italian, we use language to exercise certain functions, such as asking, answering, discussing, promising etc. In addition, we exercise these functions within a socio-cultural context. These are the two fundamental elements that make for effective communication, and it is through the interaction between two speakers, or a writer and a reader, that the meaning of a communication becomes clear.
How do our instructors put into practice these basic concepts? The aim of our Italian lessons is to develop proficiency in communication through activities such as games, role-plays, problem solving, dramatizations, and listening and reading comprehension using real recordings and texts. The use of authentic materials provides our students with the opportunity to develop ways of comprehending the Italian language as it is used by native speakers. What renders the approach we use in class particularly effective is the fact that the activities have an immediate, functional impact on our students' communication beyond the classroom. Immersing themselves in the Italian language as it's used outside the school environment (for example in a bar, in a restaurant, at the post office or the train station) allows students to put the strategies they've learned into practice and to get immediate feedback on their capacity to communicate effectively.
This is made much easier in a small town like Montepulciano in which even the shopkeepers and waiters feel they're part of our students' learning process. They're always ready to listen, encourage, advise and even laugh with the students at their more entertaining mistakes.
Within this context the Italian teacher is the point of reference - creating a situation in which students can communicate, explaining the rules at the right time, drawing students into conversation and encouraging those who are having difficulty - without being a dominating presence. We're convinced that our students, while having the constant support of their teacher, must always feel that they are the centre of the learning process. And our results speak for themselves!
Social and Cultural Activities
Even if you come to Montepulciano to learn Italian, you will probably not want to pass all your time doing exercises and reading grammar books! It is possible to spend pleasant afternoons in the countryside or enrich your knowledge of Montepulciano and its surrounding areas. If this is your intention, you may like to take part in our cultural program whose activities include guided tours of Montepulciano, cooking evenings, wine-tasting, a series of tutorials on history and the story of art, walks in the country and excursions to Cortona, Lago di Trasimeno or Montalcino. All these activities are, of course, in Italian. The excursions are optional and not included in the price of courses.
Attending our Italian language courses, you'll be spending a week or more in Montepulciano, it's essential that you feel at home here. In Italy home is very important. More than just the place where you sleep, home is where you pass your time - cooking, reading the newspaper while stretched out on the couch or chatting with friends over a delicious meal of pasta. Therefore, we take it as our responsibility to make sure you feel at home by finding you the lodging that best meets your needs.
Each accommodation has something that makes it unique and special - a panoramic view, a rustic Tuscan style, the beautiful light of sunset or a romantic balcony.
You can choose from various options:
- Basic apartment: we offer small apartments (bedroom, kitchen and bathroom) for one or two persons, with one double room or two single rooms, depending on your needs. Apartments are fully furnished and equipped with everything necessary for a comfortable stay (linen and towels included). All apartments are a (maximum) ten-minute walk from the school, and are close to shops, banks, the post office and the supermarket.
- Luxury apartment: the basic apartments are comfortable and equipped with all the necessities. However, if you'd like something truly special that will make your stay unforgettable, we have a number of luxury apartments to offer you. You will have all the appliances, television, wifi, a panoramic view, a large garden and / or terrace - right in the historic centre of Montepulciano.
- Single or double room in a shared flat with other students: if you would like to share your language school experience and have the opportunity of making new friends, you can choose to stay in an apartment with other students. Kitchen and bathroom will be shared, but approached in a spirit of adaptability, this option will give you the chance to meet people of other nationalities and begin experimenting with your Italian.
- Homestay: if you'd like to integrate your language studies with a wider social experience, taking a room in a family home is the solution for you. Our host families are few and are carefully selected. They're people who will quite happily exchange a few words with their guests (but don't expect them to be Italian teachers!). You can choose a room with either breakfast or half board. If you decide to eat with the family, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy some authentic, Tuscan cuisine.
Excursions and Visits
If you want to organize your own free time, Montepulciano and its surrounding areas have a lot to offer, including the towns of Chiusi and Cortona, famous for their Etruscan origins, the monasteries of Sant'Antimo and Monte Oliveto Maggiore, mediaeval towns such as Cetona and Città delle Pieve and Pienza, known as the "Pearl of the Renaissance". For nature lovers, there are hundreds of scenic walking routes in the Val d'Orcia or on Monte Amiata. In Montepulciano there are tennis courts, dance schools and a gym. In Chianciano (8 km away and on a bus route) there is a swimming pool. We also recommend a visit to the area's large number of spa towns, such as Bagno Vignoni, Bagni di S. Filippo and San Casciano dei Bagni (reachable only by car).
In summer the cultural life is very vaied: food festivals, concerts and recitals, the piazza transformed into a theatre. Exhibitions and pageants frequently recreate the Middle Ages. There is also a series of concerts ("I Concerti di Palazzo Ricci") organised by the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln / Germany - whose overseas headquarters is based in Montepulciano. Needless to say, Tuscany is also a destination for those who love good food and drink. And of course there are the great wines, the Vino Nobile and the Brunello.
Thanks to its privileged position near to motorways and main line train stations, Montepulciano is also the ideal point for excursions to Central Italy's most famous historic and cultural centres: Siena, Arezzo, Perugia and Assisi are about 50-100 km away, while from the nearby Chiusi/Chianciano Terme railway station, you can get to Rome and Florence in little more than an hour.
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