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The Top Children-Friendly Places In Rome

Posted on April 20th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Rome, one of the world’s top tourist destinations, is a city of great history, great excess, great shopping, and great nightlife.  But what if you’re traveling on a family holiday?  Don’t miss out on the proverbial endpoint of all roads simply because you’re with children in tow; Rome can be a fascinating and enlightening experience to be enjoyed by all ages.  Check out these tips on child-friendly sites and activities in Rome that your whole family will get a kick out of.


1. The Coliseum.  While this was probably at the top of your list anyway, the Coliseum is a vivid and exciting way to immerse your kids in ancient history.  They’ll be so excited to wander and explore the ruins of the once great entertainment stadium that they won’t even realize that they’re learning at the same time.

2. The Trevi Fountain.  Let your kids leave their mark on Rome—an old legend states that anyone who tosses a coin into the fountain of La Dolce Vita fame is destined to return to Rome someday.  It also makes a great backdrop for family photos.

3. Sistine Chapel.  While too much museum time can lead to fidgeting, any of your kids who’ve ever enjoyed an art class or playing with crayons will be astounded by the ceiling frescoes of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.  Take the whole family to gaze up at Michelangelo’s masterpiece and see what inspirations will come from that.

4. Open-air Theatre.  Get your kids to practice their Italian by heading to Gianicolo Hill, where they will be treated to free plays for children, as well as a public playground and pony rides for younger children.  For parents and teenagers, the view of the city you get from the top is well worth the climb!file000329464605

5. Porta Portesese Flea Market.  Every Sunday, located in Viale Trastevere near Gianicolo Hill, there is a massive flea market, or mercatino, full of knick-knacks and antiques for all interests.  Not only is this a good chance to walk in the sunshine and eat some gelato, but it’s also the perfect place for people-watching, as it’s frequented by both locals and tourists.

6. Via dei Fori Imperiali.  Every Sunday, in a city-wide push to reduce their carbon footprint, Rome shuts down all traffic within the city limits, and the boulevard that connects the Coliseum with the Piazza Venezia becomes a family-friendly block party, filled with live musical events and entertainers and fun of all sorts.  Definitely worth a stroll down.

7. Villa Borghese.  This beautiful public park will appeal to anyone, and you can rent bikes and ride around for the entire day.  Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it while your children burn off energy on the playground, Casina di Raffaello.

If you are planning an extended family trip to Rome, be sure that you have an understanding of basic Italian, to get the most out of the experience for you and your family.  Send us an inquiry to get started, or check out our various different levels of Italian courses to see what would be right for you.

Top 6 Phrases To Arrange Your Transport In Italy

Posted on April 6th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

dibujos-animados-tren-moderno-en-el-vector-rojo_657058Transport, whether you’re just out of the airport or trying to navigate your way through a confusing network of trains, trams, and buses, can be a hassle at best in Italy.  At worst, it might not happen at all—there is a long history of train employees going on strike in the summer, leaving a lot of holiday travelers stranded.  If you’re planning to go to Italy and wish to get around by any means other than walking, you will have to knuckle up and prepare for a lot of surprises and frustrations.  To ease the process along as much as possible, make sure you have a smattering of Italian phrases at your disposal appropriate for whatever mode of transportation you’re going to attempt.  Here are a few good ones to remember:

1. Dove posso fermare un tassi?  “Where can I hail a taxi?”  Probably your best bet, especially if you’re coming from the airport, taxis in large cities are plentiful and inexpensive.  They’re also a great way to see the grand sites of cities like Rome or Florence all in one drive if you don’t have time for a walking tour.  Official white or yellow taxis are government regulated and have a meter, so you’re best sticking with those.

2. Dove si trova la stazione ferroviara?  “Where is the train station?”  Useful if you’re planning to visit a few cities throughout Italy, as trains are a fast and popular way of travel.  Top companies include Eurostaritalia, Trenitalia, and TBiz.  However, if you’re on a time-sensitive schedule, such as on your way to the airport to catch a flight, Eurostaritalia, the most reliable service, may best fit your needs.file000925831076

3. Quanto costa un biglietto?  A crucial phrase, whether you’re traveling by bus or train: “How much does a ticket cost?”  In most train or bus stations there should be a placard of prices according to distance, but it never hurts to ask.

4. Vorrei un biglietto di andata i ritorno.  “I would like a round-trip ticket.”  This will save time and keep you from having to finagle your way up to a ticket booth in a strange city to go through it all again.  Round-trip tickets may come with discounts in some cases.

5. Quando parte il treno?  “When does the train leave?”  Another important one for the traveler, especially if your tickets are non-transferable.  Try to get to your platform fifteen minutes early, just to be safe.  But keep in mind time runs at a more relaxed pace in Italy, so trains may be late.

6. Vorrei affitare una macchina.  “I would like to rent a car.”  If you trust your driving skills and your ability to navigate Italian road signs, this may be the best way to independently tour both the cities and the countryside.  Plus, this would be your chance to drive a prime Italian sports car in its native habitat!

These phrases, of course, are only a precursor to the Italian you will need to know to effectively communicate throughout your travels.  Prepare yourself with a course of basic Italian taking our free Italian language learning test, or by sending us an inquiry!

Conflicts in International Relationships: Italy

Posted on March 19th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Italy and romance are practically synonymous in pop culture, but don’t go planning your wedding just yet; getting involved with someone from Italy or of strong Italian heritage can lead to confusion and frustration to someone unfamiliar with their culture.  sunset_couple_walk_243076_lGondola rides, opera, and sexy accents are all very well and good, but if you aren’t willing to compromise on some matters, you may find yourself trapped in a rocky relationship filled with heartache.  Here are a few of the chief conflict points to look out for:

  1. Gender Roles.  Coming from a country steeped in tradition, Italians may treat men and women as having starkly diverging roles in both the relationship and the household.  As a woman, even if you are highly educated, your male partner may view you primarily as a wife, mother, and housekeeper.  You will be responsible for all cooking and cleaning, just as your partner will pride himself in being the sole provider of the household.  Similarly, if you’re involved with an Italian woman, she may expect you to place her on a pedestal and lavish her with gifts, as that’s what she’s most likely used to.
  2. The Whole Mama’s Boy Thing.  If you want to date an Italian man, you will have to accept the fact that you’ll always be a substitute for his mother.  Italian mothers tend to smother their sons with care and affection, often resulting in very clingy and spoiled men.  Be prepared to have your cooking, your cleaning, and your unconditional love pale in comparison to hers.
  3. Excessive Arrogance About Their Love-Making Skills.  Italy has a very macho culture, and the men generally view themselves as a breed of Casanovas.  While they may talk a very big game, boasting loud and often about their prowess in the bedroom, keep in mind that it’s all bravado.besar-pares-romantico-vector-relacion_21-30067746
  4. Overt Demonstration of Emotions.  Coming from a very loud and expressive culture, your Italian paramour may see it as normal to communicate their affections or dissatisfactions very passionately, rather than let their feelings quietly simmer for months or even years.  If heartfelt talks, raging quarrels, or public displays of affection are not your cup of tea, then you may wish to reconsider this relationship.
  5. Your Partner Will Get Jealous.  Unlike more gender-egalitarian societies where men and women spending time together as friends is viewed as a common and even wholesome pastime, your Italian partner may view it as breeding grounds for adultery.  You may have to put up with possessiveness and accusations from your partner if you’re caught in the company of someone of the opposite gender.

If you feel you have the stamina and patience to see your relationship through with someone with an Italian background, you’re sure to find yourself with a new family opening you with open arms.  Impress them all by showing up to family gatherings with a firm grasp of the Italian language.  Send us an inquiry for more information or taking a look at our Italian courses to get started learning right away.

Learn Italian Through Music!

Posted on March 4th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Music has been scientifically proven to be one of the most effective ways to facilitate language learning; it evokes a higher sense of concentration and clarity, and studies have shown that listening to music releases endorphins in your brain, making it more likely that the words you associate with this experience will stick.  And Italian is such a musical language to begin with, ideal for putting to song, that your options in that regard are endless.


YouTube is a wealth of resources for practicing your Italian listening skills while picking up some new vocabulary in the process.  Plenty of songs provide lyrics in both Italian and an English translation under the video, or sometimes even as subtitles.  These can be perfect for watching on your phone during a long commute, or downloading and listening on headphones throughout the day, or even leaving on to listen to while you multitask with other jobs around the house.

When it comes to choosing what type of music to seek out, it may be helpful to start with the most familiar.  International opera star Andrea Bocelli is well-known to most English-speakers who have come into contact with a radio in the past ten years due to his widely beloved pop/opera hit, “Con Te Partiro.”  The music is moving and melodic and Bocelli’s voice is rich and clear.  The lyrics of most of his songs, once you get used to reading in Italian, all make perfect vocabulary words for the intermediate learner: they are common words expressing emotional ideas in simple terms.  Look for songs from his classic album Romanza which are all very catchy and will have you singing along in no time.


If slow, romantic ballads aren’t for you, check out pop stars such as Luciano Ligabue, who has more of a rock and roll edge to his songs, but keeps with Italy’s favorite subject matter: love.  If you’re looking to learn Italian via the songs of a true maestro, explore the work of the famous Mina Mazzini, wild child of the doo-wop age and later queen of virtually every single music genre over the course of her five-decade career.  For fans of Bob Dylan, check out Rino Gaetano, a folksy singer-songwriter who used his music to speak out against the conservatism, hypocrisy, and corruption of his country during the 1970s.

For the more advanced student of Italian who seeks to fully immerse themselves in the power and poetry of the language, the internet has endless resources of classical music and opera for downloading and streaming.  For the student who doesn’t wish to stray so far from what’s familiar, there is an equal amount of songs from movies and pop culture that have been translated into Italian—if you already know the tune, the words will stick that much more easily.

Whatever your strategy in language-learning, keep in mind that before the music and lyrics can mean anything to you, you must have a healthy foundation of Italian to build off of.  Get started right away by sending us an inquiry, or by taking a look at our different Italian courses.  Soon you’ll find yourself singing along to whatever songs you hear!

What Not To Do – 10 Mistakes Tourists Make In Italy

Posted on February 19th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

duomo-y-la-torre-de-pisa-pisa_19-130412Are you in the process of planning out a trip through Italy?  You’ve probably read up on local culture, history, and etiquette so you know exactly how to act and what to do throughout your travels.  But how about what NOT to do?  Italy is a very traditional and particular country, and while you’re sure to get a warm welcome as a foreigner it’s important not to ruin that by committing any sort of taboo.  Here are the top ten pitfalls and faux pas to avoid if you want your vacation to be as enjoyable as possible.

  1. Get Too Attached To Your Itinerary.  Some preliminary planning is key for any trip, but as Italy’s infrastructure tends to be less organized than other European countries’, don’t let yourself get frustrated if your plans fall through.
  2. Wear Shorts.  For one thing, it will mark you out as a tourist, and you may be denied entrance to various historic churches and religious sites.  Play it safe and always wear trousers, even in the summer.  Similarly, women can be denied entrance to churches if they don’t have a covering for their hair, so always keep a scarf in your purse.
  3. Travel Without Cash.  Many venues in Italy don’t accept credit cards, and hardly anyone takes travelers checks anymore.  Do yourself a favor and keep a decent amount of euros in your wallet.
  4. Order a Latte.  Since latte is the Italian word for “milk,” if you step up to an espresso bar and order one, it’s likely you’ll end up with a cup of steamed milk.  Be sure to specify, “un caffe latte.”holiday-travels-airport-1199-l
  5. Eat Supper At 6 pm.  While this is a reasonable dinnertime for most English speakers, Italian restaurants don’t open for meals until after 8 pm.  Before then, all you’re likely to be served is cocktails, and any food you do get is likely to be subpar and overpriced.
  6. Tip.  Unlike in the United States, tipping is not required in Italian restaurants or cafes.  It’s an appreciated gesture for exceptional service, but otherwise don’t feel bad for not leaving an extra 20% on your bill.
  7. Drink Coffee During a Meal.  Aside from breakfast, coffee is generally drunk after meals as a digestive, and doing otherwise will earn you plenty of strange looks.
  8. Touch Produce in a Street Market.  This is considered very rude—the vendor will pick what fruits and vegetables you get to buy, and they won’t appreciate you pointing out which ones you want either.
  9. Travel With a Heavy Suitcase.  You will be doing a lot of walking through narrow alleyways and up staircases, so travel as light as you can.  A small, lightweight backpack on wheels is probably your best bet.
  10. Show Up Without Knowing Any Italian.  Without a doubt, even a beginner’s understanding of Italian will help you enjoy your trip a hundred times more than if you only speak English.  Get started by browsing our different levels of Italian courses, or send us an enquiry and we’ll see how we can best prepare you for your journey.

Fabrizio vs. Giorgio – How To Name Your Kid Italian Style

Posted on February 5th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Are you expecting a new baby?  Have you read through all the baby name books and been satisfied with nothing?  If you’ve married an Italian, or are of Italian heritage, you may wish to name your baby a traditional Italian name.  This way, you can count on your child having a lyrical, romantic-sounding name, and, if you plan on raising them in an English-speaking country, a totally unique one.  (However, this also means that your child will spend their entire life having their name misspelled and mispronounced by well-meaning peers.)  Here are a few popular options you may wish to consider.


When naming children, it’s key to keep in mind that once they’re old enough to go to school, the other kids will be looking for any excuse to make fun of them.  For example, don’t call your son “Baldassario” unless you want him to go through twelve years of school with the nickname “Bald Ass,” and so on.  Your best bet would be to name you child something that sounds exotic and elegant, but can also be shortened into a common nickname if needed, such as “Filippo,” “Nicolo,” or “Antonio.”

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more cryptic name for your son, you may wish to pick a name based on meaning or literary allusion.  You could choose a name like “Vittorio,” which means victorious, “Ignazio,” which means fiery, “Santino,” which means little saint, “Orsino” which means little bear, or “Adriano,” which means from the Adriatic Sea.  Certain celebrity names with overly particular connotations, such as “Fabio,” “Orlando,” or “Guido” should be avoided.  However, if you want to pay homage to a Renaissance artist or poet with a name like “Dante,” “Francesco,” “Leonardo,” or “Michaelangelo,” they are classy and cultured, and come with the added bonus of easy nicknames: Frank, Leo, and Michael.


As for girl baby names, you have a wealth of beautiful and aesthetic names to choose from, such as Aida, Bianca, Viviana, and Julietta.  Virtually any female name you decide on is bound to sound regal and intriguing, so you will have to take time to think of other details.  Do you want a more recognizable name for your daughter?  If so, you may wish to consider names like “Maria,” “Angela,” or “Christina.”  If you’re looking for something more dynamic that will set your daughter apart from the crowd, go for a name like “Serafina,” which means from the seraph, “Renata,” which means reborn, or “Speranza,” which means hope.  If you’re looking for something imaginative, these are only the beginning of the possibilities.

Whether you’re considering an Italian baby name to please your or your partner’s family, to pay homage to your ethnic roots, or simply because you’re looking for something different, you have a world of resources at your fingertips.  To fully take advantage of them, you will want to learn the Italian language; send us an enquiry to get started, or take a look at our different levels of courses.

10 Best Italian Pick-Up Lines

Posted on January 30th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

retrato-de-alegre-bashkir_19-128240Italian, as they say, is the language of love.  So if you’re trying to introduce yourself to a possible romantic interest while in Italy, you have a world of amore at your fingertips.  However, if you’re a newcomer to the world of dating in Italian, you may find yourself a bit tongue-tied.  Here are a few crowd-pleasers you can remember to use on that gorgeous ragazzo or ragazza you meet at the club, with hopes of that first short, awkward conversation sparking into something more.

  1. Tu sei una stella… la mia stella.  Romantic and poetic, with allusions to Danteit translates to, “You are a star… my star,” and if appropriately timed and delivered in a perfect Italian accent is sure to make the object of your affections weak at the knees.
  2. La tua bellezza sorpassa il sole.  “Your beauty surpasses the sun.”  Also exceedingly poetic—try not to use this in combination with the previous line, or it may come off as smarmy and insincere.
  3. Hai degli occhi belli.  “You have lovely eyes.”  A good conversation starter for anyone, male or female, and it won’t come off as overly forward.
  4. Posso offrirti una bevanda calda per sciogliere il ghiaccio?  “Can I buy you a hot drink to break the ice?”  Equal parts clever and corny, this may appeal to a man or woman who has a good sense of humor.  It also gets points for being straightforward and not depending on flattery.corazon-con-lazos_23-2147488623
  5. Complimenti alla mamma, sei fantastica!  “ Compliments to your mother—you’re fantastic!”  Adorable, if smacking slightly of Italian men’s tendency to be tied to their mothers’ apron strings.  At any rate, this one is more popular in the southern provinces.
  6. Baciame.  “Kiss me.”  Again, props for not beating around the bush.  You will probably have more success with this if it comes strategically placed after some sort of preliminary conversation.
  7. Qual’è il tuo segno zodiacale?  “What’s your zodiac sign?”  It’s a bit old-fashioned, but Italians are often superstitious, and this can lead to an interesting conversation on astrology and the effects it has on personality.
  8. Voglio vederti stasera.  “I want to see you tonight.”  Brooding, domineering, and mysterious—make sure you’re wearing a good suit and standing in dramatic lighting.  Walk away without another word and don’t look back.  Light a cigarette if you have any on you.
  9. Ciao, bella!  “Hello, beautiful!”  It doubles as, “Goodbye, beautiful!” as well, and makes you come off as playful and unintimidating.
  10. Vorrei che tu mi insegni italiano.  “I would like you to teach me Italian.”  The most insidious of pick-up lines, it will cater to the other person’s desire to teach you their language while giving you a chance to enact further romantic schemes.  Get a head-start on your Italian lessons by looking into one of our Italian courses or send us an enquiry  for further information.  Soon enough, you too with be a master at the fine art of what the Italians call amoreggiare.

Top 10 Useful Phrases To Learn Before You Travel To Italy

Posted on January 26th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Are you about to fulfill a lifelong dream and take that long-awaited holiday to Italy?  Are you desperately thrilled or desperately terrified at the prospect of throwing yourself into the deep end of learning Italian?  For the aficionado of language-learning, traveling to a foreign country can be the ultimate immersion experience, but it can also be frustrating and overwhelming if you arrive without the proper linguistic skills.  Italy especially can be tough to navigate, as in more rural areas, especially in the south, you’ll run into a good deal of local dialects and a considerable lack of people who know English.  If your trip is coming up and you’re starting to panic, here are the top ten useful phrases that, along with pantomime and a friendly demeanor, will get you through your travels in one piece.

  1. Non capisco – io non parlo italiano.  “I don’t understand – I don’t speak Italian.”  If you don’t understand someone when they’re talking to you, at least you can explain why you don’t understand.  Then, hopefully, they will switch to English.
  2. Lei parla inglese?  “Do you speak English?”  Another indispensable one, this will get you the help you need if you’re stuck in a bind.  Note: “lei” is the “formal you” in Italian, which you should always use when speaking to strangers, just to be polite.
  3. Dov’è…? “Where is…?”  From hotels to bus terminals to train stations, this simple contraction is key in getting you where you want to go.
  4. Salve, mi chiamo… “Hello, my name is…”  If you intend to meet anyone in Italy, you will be grateful you know how to introduce yourself in a civilized manner.  Like other romance languages, it literally translates to, “I call myself…”
  5. florentino-escena_2238887Mi scusi.  “Excuse me.”  Good manners are especially important when traveling, as the last thing you want to do is give off a poor impression of your home country.  This phrase can be used in any situation, from knocking into someone on the street to wanting to catch the attention of a barista in a café.
  6. Quanto costa…?  “How much?” Good for ordering in restaurants, hailing taxis, and booking hotel rooms.
  7. Una birra, per favore.  “One beer, please.”  A useful phrase in any language – if you’re in a more upscale restaurant, you may wish to substitute “birra” with “bottiglia di vino.”
  8. Grazie.  “Thank you.”  Even foreigners can’t sound inelegant when thanking someone in Italian.
  9. C’è un bagno qui?  “Is there a toilet here?”  Again, a crucial phrase for anyone to know when traveling, especially if you’re with children.
  10. Arrivederci.  “Goodbye.”  Or you could go local and call back as you speed away on your Vespa, “Ciao!”

Of course, as useful as these phrases are, they are only the beginning.  To truly appreciate your travels in Italy, it’s imperative that you go with at least a fundamental understanding of the language.  Get started by taking a look at our list of Italian courses, or send us an enquiry for more information.

That’s Amore – Expressing Feeling the Italian Way

Posted on January 24th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Like most other Latin and Mediterranean countries, Italians have a very overt way of expressing emotions and interacting with others.  They can be quite flamboyant with their speech and body language, and intruding on other people’s personal space in the norm.  If you’re from a culture that appreciates more of a distance, both physical and emotional, between yourself and people you just meet, Italians’ overemotiveness can come as a shock at first.  And if you’re in a relationship with anyone from an Italian background, this cultural block can lead to strife and hurt feelings all around.  Here are some things to keep in mind for smooth sailing in your dealings with Italians.


  • When you meet someone for the first time, it is common in Italian culture, even between men, to give the other person an affectionate kiss on the cheek and sometimes even a hug.  Don’t shirk away from this, as you will give offense.
  • In speaking, exclamations are common.  Everyone raises their voice in excitement now and again, but the Italians do it far more commonly, thus lending a heightened sense of drama to everything they’re talking about.  Phrases like, “ma dai?” to connote disbelief and the filler word, “boh!” are common interjections – to Italians, they give conversations a dash of color. 
  • Hand gestures are ubiquitous.  As mentioned in a previous post, Italy has a complex and fascinating second language of hand gestures that serve to express emphasis, sarcasm, affection, and disdain because verbal language just isn’t emotive enough.  Body language is also quite informal, and an Italian person may stand closer to you than you’re comfortable with, punctuating his or her conversation by slapping you on the back or elbowing you in an amiable fashion.
  • Arguments are loud and heated.  Keeping a cool, even temper is not considered a virtue in Italian society.  When upset, it’s expected that you shout and gesticulate wildly, throwing tantrums and waterworks left and right.  If you come from a more stoic culture, prone to brooding and resentment, you may want to start communicating your feelings in a more overt manner if involved with an Italian or they will never have any idea that something’s wrong.  (Moreover, studies have shown that it’s good for mental and physical health to have a good meltdown every now and then.)pink-tree-woman-297021-o
  • Affection is abundantly expressed.  Similarly, if you’re the sort of person who saves saying “I love you” for special occasions, like deathbeds and apocalypses, you will  have to make a special effort if dating an Italian.  They will constantly be showering you with verbal affection and will expect to be reassured likewise.  A simple “ti amo,” at key moments will keep your relationship from going sour very quickly.

The best way to keep your Italian paramour in good spirits is to speak to them in their tongue, the undisputed language of romance.  Start your discovery of Italian by sending us an enquiry, or looking at our list of Italian courses.  Before you know it, you will be spouting out sweet nothings like there’s no tomorrow.

How To Be a Good Tourist In Venice

Posted on January 20th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

florencia-firenze_2537984As a country chock full of diversity and unique cultures, Italy’s different cities will appeal to different types of travelers.  For example, the fashionista is bound to go to Milan, while the romantic will get a lot out of a trip to Venice, and the foodie will love their time spent in Naples.  While every city holds its own charms and deserves to be visited for at least a week by the conscientious traveler, Florence, the capital of the region of Tuscany, is a must-see for anyone interested in art or architecture.

The zenith of Italian culture, Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance, the Italian language, and innumerable artists and poets whose legacies still endure today.  Understandably, they are considerably proud of their heritage and work hard to preserve their status as a city that celebrates art and creative genius.  As such, to be a responsible tourist and get the most out of your trip to Florence, see that you visit as many of their world-famous museums as possible.  The one you absolutely must go to is the renowned Galleria degli Uffizi, a fine art museum with enough Renaissance paintings and sculptures to fulfill anyone cultural quota for the year.  However, other museums that might pique your interest include the Gucci Museum, the Accademia Galleria, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

If you’re more keen on getting some exercise and fresh air, don’t feel like you’re missing out, Florence is essentially one big art gallery filled with breathtaking palazzos and cathedrals.  Be sure to take your camera as you visit the Palazzo Vecchio, an old palace strewn with objets d’art, as well as the Ponte Vecchio, the city’s oldest bridge spanning the river Arno, and the iconic cathedral, Duomo di Firenze. florence

After you’re through taking in the sites, take some time to appreciate Florence’s more grassroots art scene—the city is filled with street artists and musicians, especially outside the Uffizi.  Linger a few moments to enjoy their performances and support the local arts by donating a few euros.  For the shopaholic, don’t leave Florence without buying some of their fine leather products, which the city is famous for.  (Don’t get ripped off—it is appropriate to haggle with vendors, especially if they’re selling their wares in open-air markets.)  Florence, in light of its unmatchable history of poets and writers, is also well-known for their beautiful artisan books and journals, spun glass, jewelry, and many other pieces that make excellent gifts.

Finally, while visiting Florence, be sure to kick back and enjoy the wonderful food, wine, and ambience.  The Florentines are incredibly friendly and eager to chat with foreigners, and if you find yourself being introduced to the city by a local, it’s sure to be a great experience all around.  (If not, be sure to sign up for a free walking tour, and tip generously!)  Either way, a basic knowledge of Italian will be invaluable in your travels.  Send us an enquiry and we’ll get you started in Italian classes, or browse our different types of courses to see what will best prepare you for your coming trip.