Summer means longer days and more time to do the things you love.
Like learning Italian!
And if you want to improve your Italian before beach-weather ends, going to Italy and learning it from native speakers is one of the best things you can do.
Lucky for you, there are many excellent Italian language schools where you can learn the language while also getting the most out of your summer.
Here are seven summer courses in Italy that provide a great balance between language instruction and cultural excursions, from beach trips to medieval festivals.
Duration: 2 or 4 weeks
Cost: €1,025 ($1,100) for 2 weeks; €1,735 ($1,865) for 4 weeks
The Istituto Il David is named after Florence’s most famous statue! With this summer program, you can admire the beauty of the city and the sea.
With Istituto Il David’s summer courses, you can choose between a two-week program or a four-week program. You’ll spend half of the time in Florence and the other half in one of three beach towns: Rimini, Orbetello or Otranto. Each week includes 20 hours of instruction.
You can also choose to take additional courses in Italian cooking, history of art, fashion, business or an arts and crafts workshop.
The school provides you with either a single room in a shared apartment or family home, as well as transportation between cities. This way, you can either share your love of Italy with other enthusiastic language learners or learn culture firsthand in a family setting.
What makes this program unique:
This program recognizes that when it’s summertime, you just need to get out to the beach. Instead of fighting this urge, they just made it part of the learning experience. With this program, you’ll never feel like you were cooped up in a classroom when you could’ve been playing beach volleyball with the locals.
Duration: 2 to 5 weeks
Cost: €440 ($470) to €950 ($1,020)
Named after Milan’s most famous resident, the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci has locations in several Italian cities. The benefit of a school with multiple locations is that you can go to more than one branch and still get the same curriculum.
That’s the beauty of Scuola Leonardo da Vinci’s “Italian Tour” summer program. You get to study at two to five locations, depending on how long you want to stay. And these cities are an art lover’s dream: Milan, Rome, Florence and Siena. The minimum stay in each city is one week.
While the coursework is intensive, the scheduling is somewhat flexible based on course intensity. Even if you take the most intensive course, lessons end in the early afternoon so you still have plenty of time to explore.
What makes this program unique:
The opportunity to see art! If you want to learn the Italian language, you must study Italy’s art. If you go to all four cities on this trip you’ll be exposed to every art movement that Italy is famous for: Ancient Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque.
Duration: 6 weeks
For those of you who want to beat the sweltering Italian summer heat, then the cool mountain town of Perugia may be right up your alley. This beautiful town with its characteristic Medieval architecture has been a center of scholarship for centuries.
This program is the equivalent of two semesters’ worth of study in the U.S.! If you’re looking for a challenging but rewarding experience that’ll greatly accelerate your level of Italian, the “Intensive Italian through Culture” summer program is for you.
The courses are divided into four levels: elementary (no prior Italian studies required), intermediate, advanced intermediate and advanced. Lessons focus on language comprehension, exercises and conversation. In addition to the 100 hours of classroom time, students also engage in 20 hours of cultural excursions. These include film screenings, museum visits and culinary excursions.
What makes this program unique:
The cultural immersion level in this program is among the best. That’s because, in addition to all the extracurricular activities you can do, you have plenty of time to interact with real Italian students. The institute organizes language exchanges, social events and dinner parties so that the students can meet, socialize and speak Italian together!
Duration: 3 to 4 weeks
Cost: €600 ($645) to €750 ($808)
For true language immersion, you must avoid the tourists. Torino (Turin) is a beautiful city tucked away in Italy’s northwestern mountains. While it’s a busy university town, you won’t find that many tourists here.
The University of Torino holds two summer course sessions. The first focuses on art and culture while the second focuses on words and music.
Courses are divided into 60 hours of classroom instruction and 30 hours of cultural activities. Morning classes focus on language instruction while afternoon classes are focused on conversation and hands-on cultural activities. What activities you do depends on which program you decide to follow. These include guided tours, film screenings and concerts.
What makes this program unique:
This program is unique because it gives you a true taste of Italian university life. You study at a real university and can choose to live in real student housing and eat at the university cafeteria. This is an invaluable experience if you’re thinking about continuing your education at an Italian university. Italy’s education system is very different from that of the U.S. or U.K., so it may take some getting used to.
Duration: 5 weeks
The Dante Alighieri Society is an international society dedicated to the promotion of Italian culture throughout the world. During the summer, they organize language courses and cultural activities on their campus in Siena.
In addition to language classes tailored to your level, you’ll also have the opportunity to enrich your knowledge through cooking and culture courses. Using the medieval city of Siena as a backdrop, you can learn about the city’s art and history firsthand!
The society also organizes film screenings, museum visits, tours and wine tastings! If you’re there on July 2 or August 16, you’ll also get to experience the centuries-old Siena festival and horse race called the Palio. When it comes to Renaissance festivals, this is as authentic as it gets. With period costumes, food and entertainment, it’s a must-see event!
What makes this program unique:
The experience of studying with the DAS doesn’t have to end when you leave Italy. There are hundreds of local DAS chapters in dozens of countries, so odds are there’s one near you. To find the chapter nearest you, try doing a Google search of “Dante Alighieri Society” and the name of a nearby city. So if you’re looking for a place where you can meet other people who share your love of the Italian language, your local DAS chapter is a good place to be!
Duration: 4 weeks
Cost: €2,700 ($2,910)
Another option in Siena would be the summer intensive Italian program at the Siena School for Liberal Arts. There are four levels available: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The program lasts for four weeks, amounting to 70 hours (or around 17 hours per week).
You’ll be taking language classes in the morning, followed by fun cultural classes in the afternoon, with excursions included.
The university actually also offers another related summer program on Italian cultural studies. You’ll learn all about Siena and might even get to see the Palio horse race, which is a Siena tradition that’s held twice every summer.
Either way, this is an immersive program—you’ll be doing a homestay, and you’re even required to write daily journals about your experiences at home.
Compared to other summer programs, this one has an added twist: you’ll be discussing your journal entries in class and constantly sharing your personal observations about Italian culture. This helps you process the experience better and get a deeper understanding of the language.
Duration: 2 to 12 weeks
Learn Italian while exploring Rome with EF’s flexible summer school! Rome has a lot to offer—from stunning landmarks like the Colosseum and Pantheon to the Vatican City, you’ll enjoy a visual and historical feast as you practice the language.
In fact, the campus is even located in Piazza Navona, which is one of Rome’s most beautiful squares, featuring Baroque architecture and plenty of cafes and restaurants.
The focus is on conversational Italian, with 20 lessons per week at 40 minutes each, and you decide how many weeks you want to study. Their program includes homestay, with some meals provided.
It’s a complete package, especially since the school offers trips to other cities like Naples and Florence!
What makes it special:
Rome is practically a living museum with centuries of art and historical treasures, so it’ll be a very memorable immersion! After all, it’s the capital of Italy, and it used to be the center of the Roman Empire. As a plus, the Italian spoken by locals is pretty close to standard Italian.
If you choose to study in Italy at a language school, keep in mind that you’ll have to make all travel arrangements to and from Italy yourself. Unless you have citizenship in another EU country that participates in the Schengen agreement, you must also get the appropriate visa.
The best source of information on how to get a travel visa, and what kind you need, is to visit the website of the Italian consulate in the city closest to you. After you arrive in Italy your school will typically arrange in-country travel as it’s often a component of the coursework.
While many courses for absolute beginners start at set times, you generally have more flexibility if you’re at the intermediate or advanced level. For non-beginners, most summer courses can be tailored to your ability and start on any Monday during the summer.
Also be aware that while these courses can greatly improve your Italian, most of them don’t give university credit.
Once your trip is booked, it’s smart to prepare for language immersion to make sure you get the most out of it.
Not only will you be actively building your Italian skills ahead of your trip, you’ll also be learning about Italian culture from the media native speakers actually watch.
FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles.
Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’ve learned to recommend videos and ask you questions based on what you already know.
Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!
The best part? You can try FluentU for free!
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)
Spending a summer in Italy is one of the best ways to get truly immersed in the language and culture. Spending just a small amount of time there will increase your competence with the language drastically and you’ll notice the difference!
The language learning experience is enhanced when you have a good balance between classroom instruction and cultural activities. And that’s what you get when you spend your summer in an Italian city.
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