Archive for November, 2014

Your Top 6 Universities For Studying Abroad in Italy

Posted on November 29th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Are you looking to study in a country with a strong literary, political, artistic, and historical legacy, where the weather is perfect and the food is amazing?  Head to Italy, where you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to some of the world’s most renowned universities.  As the world’s second highest destination for international students, Italy will offer you a strong social group of international students from the get-go, as well as welcoming locals.  If you’ve already decided to head to Italy for school, here are some of your best options for universities.florence

  1. University of Bologna. This one is at the top of the list simply by virtue of being the oldest university in the world, dating back to 1088. Astonishingly, it has remained one of the best schools in the world for almost a millennium, and currently ranks as one of the top 50 law schools.
  2. University of Florence. If you’re pursuing a major in any of the humanities, Florence is the city for you. The University of Florence dates back to 1321 and has a stunning natural history museum and architecture that spans centuries.  Plus, you’ll be studying in the birthplace of the Renaissance, at an institution that has boasted such lecturers as Giovanni Boccaccio of The Decameron fame.
  3. Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute. This is the university for those who dream of Florence but aren’t fluent in Italian, as Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute offers classes in English. The campus is located right in the center of the city, offering a fantastic opportunity for international students to immerse themselves in the Florentine culture.
  4. University of Rome. More commonly known as La Sapienza, or The Knowledge, the University of Rome has been ranked one of the best 200 universities of the world, and it offers more than enough to distract students from the sites of the city around it—no easy feat. It offers Masters programs entirely in English and a diversity of sports, literary, and theatrical societies for students.
  5. University of Pisa. If you’d prefer a more laid-back city where half the population is made up of students, head to Pisa. The surrounding culture is perfect for young academics, and the campus consists of a state of the art sports center and plenty of libraries for your convenience.milan
  6. University of Milan. While Milan is famous for its fashion scene—and the University of Milan, generally referred to as Statale, tends to be the default choice for textile artists and fashionistas—there is so much more to their campus life. One of Italy’s best schools, both in terms of academics and extracurricular life, the University of Milan excels especially in its Law and Humanities schools.

Whether you’re looking for a semester, a year, or a full degree, without a doubt Italy offers some of academia’s finest choices for you to advance your education.  While all of these schools will offer Italian lessons for foreigners, your best bet is to get as strong a foundation in the language before you go.  To get started, send us an inquiry or check the different levels of Italian courses we offer.

Rome’s Top 5 Most Famous Works of Art

Posted on November 17th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

For art lovers across the world, Rome can be a sensory overload.  Located at the heartland of the Renaissance, it has some of the western world’s most stunning and legendary pieces of art, which manifest themselves as paintings, sculptures, and buildings.  The city has more art museums than anyone could visit in a year, and the enormous amounts of sites to see and galleries to look at can be overwhelming.  If you need some direction in what you absolutely have to check off your bucket list, here is some of Rome’s most famous artwork.

  1. 440px-Santa_teresa_di_bernini_03The Ecstasy of St. Teresa. A baroque masterpiece in marble sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, this is a very dramatic piece representing a mystical religious frenzy as described by the Carmelite nun, Teresa of Avila.  Melding the erotic and the spiritual, the statue depicts a swooning St. Teresa being attacked by an angel bearing a lance – considered by art historians to be Bernini’s iconic work.  Location: Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria
  2. The School of Athens. Painted in 1509 by Raphael, this fresco is a depiction of the philosophers of Classic Greece, idealizing reason and human knowledge as was in vogue at the time of its creation. The trompe l’oeil design gives the painting a sense of depth and perspective, and its collection of all the great thinkers of the ancient world makes it one of the Renaissance’s finest homages to the society it venerated.  Location: the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican
  3. La Pieta. Another sculpture by Michelangelo, this statue of the Virgin Mary holding her son’s body is considered by many to be the artist’s finest work. Not only does it have astonishing detail in the folds of the subjects’ garments down to the depiction of veins and musculature in their arms, but the sense of tenderness and sorrow is perfectly captured.  It is also unusual for the surprising youth and beauty of the Virgin Mary.  Location: St. Peter’s Basilica
  4. Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius. If you have more antiquated artistic tastes, check out the larger than life statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Over four meters tall and riding horseback, this bronze statue gives a forceful impression of the godlike status held by Roman emperors.  The original is on display in the Capitaline Museums, but you can see a contemporary replica in the Piazza del Campidoglio. Sanzio_01
  5. The Tomb of Pope Alexander VII. Less universally renowned than other Renaissance opuses, this elegant sepulcher is nevertheless a prime example of the skilled and highly lavish of the type of work commissioned in the Renaissance. Designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini, it is a metaphorical depiction of the Pope surrounded by figures depicting four virtues and Death.  Sculpted in marble, jasper, and bronze, it still serves as an especially dramatic memento mori.  Location: St. Peter’s Basilica

Whether you are an aficionado of Renaissance art or not, each of these five works is such an important addition to Rome’s cultural heritage that it would be nearly a sacrilege to miss out on them.  Prepare yourself for your trip to Rome, whatever your motives are, by checking out our various levels of Italian courses, or sending us an inquiry for more information.

5 Famous Churches You Have To Visit In Italy

Posted on November 1st, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

When it comes to majestic works of architecture, Italy is the heartland for some of the Renaissance’s most stunning and innovative edifices.  And, serving as the headquarters for the Catholic Church for the past two millennia, Rome alone has more than its share of historic churches and cathedrals.  So, whether you’re a lover of art and architecture or going on a religious pilgrimage, here are the top five churches you cannot miss out on if you’re traveling to Italy.

  1. St. Peter’s Basilica. Without a doubt the most famous of Rome’s cathedrals, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the largest churches in the world, deemed by many to be one of “the greatest churches in all Christendom.” As tradition has it, the basilica is the resting place of St. Peter, as well as centuries’ worth of popes after him, but its claim to fame lies in the hand the Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo had in its design. To this day, the dome of St. Peter’s is the largest in the world, and the sheer enormity of space inside the cathedral makes for a truly impressive experience.
  2. Sistine Chapel. Another Vatican City church that Michelangelo contributed to, the Sistine Chapel, is part of the Apostolic Palace where the Pope lives. Dating back to before the Sack of Rome, the walls of the chapel are covered with elaborate frescoes and mosaics by famous artists like Botticelli and Pinturicchio.  But the true masterpiece of the chapel is Michelangelo’s iconic paintings of biblical scenes, chiefly The Last Judgement.
  3. Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Dating back to the 13th century, this church is more commonly known as the Duomo of Florence. It is a surprising mish-mash of architecture styles, being originally built in the Gothic style, completed with the High Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, and retouched in the 19th century with green and pink marble in the Gothic Revival style. Between the Piazza del Duomo, the Baptistery, and Giotto’s Campanile, the basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Florence’s top tourist destinations.
  4. Milan Cathedral. A jagged, Gothic masterpiece that was built over the course of six centuries, the Duomo of Milan is paved with white marble and designed in a French style that is surprising to see in an Italian city. Spouting dozens of sharp spires from its roof, this cathedral has many beautiful stained glass windows and archaic sarcophagi, plus a great view from the roof.
  5. Basilica San Marco. The famous cathedral in the center of Venice, San Marco’s Basilica blends Orthodox and Catholic traditions in its design. Its arches are adorned with paintings of patron saints as well as Byzantine-style mosaics, and for centuries it has symbolized the wealth of Venice.  Not only is entry free, but the piazza beside it is filled with friendly pigeons to feed.

If you wish to learn more about Italy’s historic cathedrals, or if you’re planning a trip to Italy yourself, send us an inquiry for information about Italian lessons.  Or you can take a look at our different Italian courses for yourself.