One of the best Italian Language Schools in Italy, Il Sasso is recognized by the Ministry of Education and ISO 9001:2008 certified. Since 30 years it offers courses in Italian Language, Culture, Art, Wine, History, Literature, Italian for Business, Preparation for CELI and CILS. The school is open all year round both for group and individual teaching. The teachers are specialized in the teaching of Italian as a foreign and second language, and are particularly experienced in instructing adult students. The school is in Montepulciano, in the heart of Tuscany, half way between Florence and Rome. It is located in a historic building in town.
It has 8 large, airy classrooms and a hall for conferences. There is a terrace with a lovely panoramic view as well as free Internet Point for students and WiFi access and the opportunity to study or watch a film at the school. Il Sasso offers to its students a wide variety of excursions and afternoon activities - guided tours, wine, olive oil and cheese tastings, cooking lessons, walks in the countryside. Students are of every age group and come from all parts of the globe. At Il Sasso the language courses generally run for two weeks. However, it is possible to attend for one week only or for periods longer than two weeks.
Students who already speak some Italian may enter a class mid-session, whereas newcomers to the language must start at the scheduled beginning of the courses in order to avoid difficulties. Courses start on Monday mornings at 8:45 with a placement test. For absolute beginners there is no test: lessons start right away! Class sizes are from four to nine students. Classes are divided into six levels based on the "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages" of the European Council, with an additional, advanced level for students with a high degree of linguistic competence who wish to concentrate on conversation.
The principal objective of our 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. We believe that knowledge of grammatical structure and vocabulary are important, yet we know that they aren't enough in themselves. Students can be well versed in the rules of a language without being able to speak it. The aim of our 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 language as it is used by native speakers. Immersing themselves in the 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.
To learn a language well, it's also necessary to study its history, its roots and evolution, as well as its literary and poetic works. Therefore, our language program is complemented by a program of cultural courses covering a range of topics from history and literature to current affairs, art and wine, for students who would like more in depth studies of various aspects of Italian society and culture.