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Random question for this site I know but I thought I would post in case anyone has any experience.

I am considering spending a bit of time in Italy to study Italian. There seem to be a lot of places advertising classes but I am not sure where to start.

I am a total beginner and am really just interested in being able to speak. I have never done anything like it before so would like to hear other people's experiences

I wondered if anyone had done anything similar and had any advice. I would like somewhere that caters for adults as I am not a student and am not looking to be part of a student scene.

I would rather learn in Italy as I would love to spend time there and think that's a much better way to learn a language

Tags for Forum Posts: Learning, a, language

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Thank you Sean!

I second this! My wife and I also went to Italy for six months and spent two months in language school in Perugia. Great size, as you say, lovely town, and the language schools are excellent. We went to the 'other' language school in Perugia, which is called Comitato Linguistico. It's much smaller than l'Universita per Stranieri, but it's a great and intimate language school in the centre of town.

See my post below on Perugia and Comitato Linguistico for more details.

Thanks to Br***t UK citizens can now only spend 90 days in any European country and the next 90 days must be outside the Schengen area. So no nice 6-month trips any more, unless you're lucky enough to have an EU passport.

Ah I hadn't actually considered that but yes that does actually kill any hopes of spending more that 3 months there doesn't it? How annoying. Limits how much you can learn

Wow that's amazing Martin. You obviously fell in love with it. I don't know Umbria at all but I will look into it

I agree with the small town suggestions - and certainy to board with an Italian family if you can. Here are a couple of other suggestions. Voluntere through WWOOF (wwoof.co.uk) World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. There are dozens of farms all over Italy which offer free accommodation and meals and plenty of time off in exchange for  unskilled help around their farm. I love the outdoors and have made life-long friends through WWOOF.

Arrange a house swap - the Guardian ran an up-to-date piece last May or just Google House Swaps

I also recommend the City Lit's language classes which are at all levels and taught by Italians. That way you can hit Italy and get maximum benefit from your experience. Good luck. I'm envious.

Hi Jennifer thanks for the suggestions. I need my own space so as much as sharing with Italians would be better to learn the language I think I need to rent an apartment somewhere. I think the best way to learn a language for me would be to immerse myself in it which is why I want to learn it Italy where I will hear it all around me

KP, I have a close school friend who lives in a beautiful town a 30 minute underground ride from Turin. She teaches English to Italians. She was born and educated to A-Level standard in the U.K. of Italian parentage so her English knowledge is highly skilled. She used to live at Turnpike Lane but returned to Italy at the same time as her parents retirement. 

I am more than willing to contact her on your behalf to ask her what is available in her area if you are interested. 

Thank you Lydia I will let you know if I decide to head there

Back in 2003 (oh dear, so long ago) my wife and I did the same thing and went to Italy for six months to learn Italian from zero for two months and then tour around the country for four months. We went to a language school in Perugia, in Umbria, right in the heart of Italy. I would highly recommend both the school and the location for several reasons;

 - being in the centre of Italy, the language heard and learned is 'classic' Italian, for what that's worth. Very clear, easy to understand and not with a strong dialect

- you have great access to everywhere being in the middle

- you have all the classic hill top towns, culture, etc, that you imagine in Italy that is usually Tuscan, but it's much less touristy  than Tuscany in neighbouring Umbria

- the language school is excellent and Perugia is known for a couple of great language schools

- the town is a great size to get used to being in Italy, big enough to have enough places to look around with lots of lovely places to visit, eat, drink, etc, but also small enough so you can go everywhere on foot and get out quickly to other neighbouring places. It's also just a lovely town

We also spend a month in Naples and a couple of weeks in language school there. I absolutely love Naples and the South in general, but as a first language school visit I would definitely recommend Central Italy as the best choice and Perugia in particular.

The language school in Perugia we went to is called Comitato Linguistico


Good luck,


what I should also have added is wherever you decide to go, just DO IT! You'll never regret it.

Almost 20 years later those six months still make up a huge part of how my wife and I think, eat, drink and generally behave. For us it was an absolutely essential experience that is without question the most formative experience I had pre-kids.

Go for it!

Thank you Hugo. This sounds like the sort of thing I am looking for. I would prefer to be taught 'classic' Italian. How far did you get with the Italian. I will also be starting as a complete beginner. Did you stay somewhere nice - ie an apartment?



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