I want to let you know that my two weeks of language study with Cultura Italiana could not have been
any better. It was an absolutely superb program in all respects. Although I still have much to learn, my
Italian language skills were unquestionably improved. […]
Here are some the most significant aspects of the two weeks I spent with Cultura Italiana:
1. School administration – This was efficient and very well organized. All pre-attendance
correspondence/enrollment was rapid, comprehensive, and concise. Administrative Director –
Roberta Vai and her assistants, Beatrice and Emil, were always available and helpful with
enrollment and accommodation issues prior to arrival and with any support needed during
2. Accommodations — My delightful “family” accommodations were arranged via the school. I
stayed in a very convenient and centrally located apartment owned and hosted by Mariangela
who also had a medical student boarding in the apartment. Staying in this “family” environment
provided another opportunity to engage and speak with native Italians and more deeply
appreciate Italian culture and daily ways of life. Mariangela made me feel right at home the
moment we met.
3. Academic program – Beginning with the pre-test for initial placement all the way through our
final classes, the course of study was excellent. I was appropriately placed in a B1.1 level course,
which was a challenge for me but not overwhelming. My daily curriculum was divided into
three parts, 1.5 hours of grammar structure, 1.5 hours of conversational expression, and 2-2.5
hours cultural activities. Homework was assigned daily and took me about two hours to
complete. Grammar and conversational classes had 7-10 students. Most other students had a
similar curriculum format. My teachers, Marina Carbone, Camilla Digiacinto, Nazzarena Cozzi
were skilled professionals. They were always well prepared and orchestrated dynamic and
enjoyable participation from all classmates. All students were motivated to learn and we had
4. Diverse student body — My fellow classmates and students were from Togo, Norway, Sweden,
Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Poland, Tunisia, Israel, Palestine,
Brazil, Chile, Japan, USA, UK. We were young, old, employed, retired, high-school and
university students, religious and non-religious. It was a joy to converse and dine with all of my
fellow students. We had the opportunity to learn our various motivations to study Italian as
well as to hear different perspectives on world events and culture.
5. Extracurricular activities – Bologna is a fabulous and interesting city with so much to offer!
Strolls through the city and its outskirts to learn various aspects of Bologna’s deep and varied
history were educational and also a forum to speak Italian outside the classroom. These were
fun walks and hikes, guided by school Director Massimo Maracci or Emil, and were typically
followed by enjoyable aperitifs at a local bar/café. In addition, cooking classes were offered (at
additional expense) twice per week to learn more about Italian cuisine. I participated in four of
these evening classes. Some items we prepared were tagliatelle Bolognese, cacio e pepe,
saltimbocca, tortelinni, tortellonni, cavatelli, and panna cotta. Since we made our pasta by
hand, we all have a better appreciation of the work and love that goes into a fine pasta dish.
These cooking classes were fun and delicious!
6. Other activities –
a. I rented a bicycle from L’Altra Babele (laltrababele.it) a used bicycle coop for only
30euros total for two weeks. What a value! I used the bike to ride all over Bologna,
including (5 miles round trip) to the municipal swimming pool where I swam daily from
b. I also visited:
i. Bologna sites & museums:
1. Basilica di San Petronio – massive and beautiful church.
2. Due Torri – great vantage point for view of the city.
3. Museo del Patrimonio Industriale – really interesting and not touristy.
4. Museo Civico Archeologico – astonishing collection of treasures from
thousands of years ago.
5. MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna – impressive and provoking exhibits and collection.
ii. Ravenna — stunning mosaics.
iii. Modena – Ferrari museum.
iv. Ferrara – absolutely beautiful and charming “old” Renaissance fortress city.
Museo Schifanoia is a beautifully and carefully restored 14th century palace. I
would love to live in Ferrara.
c. Train travel – Trenitalia system was really a pleasure to use. It was clean, fast, on time
and reasonably priced. The USA could learn many lessons from this train system.
My experience at Cultura Italiana and the additional travels within Italy will be life-time memories. I
hope to return to Italy soon and continue to learn its language and culture, and interact with its lovely