Ciao! This week I got an email from an American woman contemplating going to learn Italian in Montepulciano, Italy. Three years ago, I traveled to Montepulciano to attend Il Sasso, an Italian language school. I had traveled to Italy for many years and just fell in love with the country and the people. Then I decided to take it a step further and attend a language school there. All in all, that summer I spent six weeks in Italy. The first three weeks at the school and then a week each in Cinque Terre, Orvieto and Rome, Italy. All four areas were very different from one another! It was one of the best times ever in Italy! Montepulciano is a very small village nestled on a Tuscan hilltop, and the school is top notch too. I spent my time interacting with other students from all over the world, who were in age from 18 to 85! We were in small classes and new students arrived every week. So we met a lot of different students! We had two sessions a day, with two different teachers so we could get used to different sounding speech patterns and teaching ideas, and from Day One the students were completely immersed in the language. No more English for three weeks! The students were placed in separate classes from beginners to advanced, and the teachers were very knowledgeable at being able to place you in the correct class upon arrival and moved you right along as the weeks went by! Their methods of teaching included lots of conversations between student and teacher and student with student. There was a great deal of role playing, where we would re-enact different situations; like shopping, using money, eating in a restaurant, etc. The first agenda of the Monday morning class was sharing with the class what we did over the weekend. Trying to figure all that out in Italian was fun! We laughed a lot! Of course all of these lessons helped us when we did all of these things in real time! Since the village is small and everyone knew everyone, the shop owners, villagers and restaurant workers also played a big role in our Italian education!
The two wine establishments pictured were literally next door to my apartment in Montepulciano. The Sax Wine Bar served food and wine and the Cantina Crociani was a wine cellar and tasting room! Not bad eh? Just two establishments from MANY to choose from everyday!
The view from my second floor apartment was incredible! Imagine waking up to this every morning!
And looking from my terrace window! And…. the terrace door!
And looking at my terraced garden in the back! Isn’t this the view and village everyone one thinks about when wanting to visit Italy? I think so!
There were also field trips to local markets on market day and excursions to nearby villages. Local cooking classes were also available as a field trip experience. Since all of these adventures were “Italian Speaking Only” even the field trips were learning experiences.
Wild boar is a big deal here and very tasty! Would you like a selection of formaggio? Or prosciutto, porchetta, salumi or pane? No problema!
We certainly ate well here! Montepulciano is known for their famous wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a Tuscan wine made from Sangiovese and other grapes. We didn’t lack good wine either!
My time in Montepulciano was spent studying the language and learning the culture of Italy. But, it also included a wealth of memories and friends that I have kept in touch with since leaving the school. Everyone was eager to make us welcome and share in their experiences! If you would like to know more about Il Sasso look HERE. Or if you have other questions about the school or village during my time there, just ask! More in Italy next week! Arrivederci!
This is just one of many photos in the Thursday Door Collection featured by Norm2.0! Won’t you join in or take a peak at all the doors?