The country of Italy, with its culture and iconic lifestyle, beckons to be understood. Speaking its language can help. Obviously you can study Italian as a foreign language in a school abroad or online, but nothing and no one will be able to enrich and involve you like an Italian school in Italy! As Italy opens its doors to the world, here are seven excellent reasons to come and study Italian in its native land:
On Father’s Day—and many others—I cherish a special memory: the last time I danced with my Dad, at an Italian-American banquet in Northeastern Pennsylvania. My mother had died a few months before, and I decided to bring my broken-hearted Dad along with me on a book tour that would take me to our home town of Scranton, Pa. Together we navigated the swirls of the New Jersey Turnpike. We stayed at roadside motels and a residence hall of a leafy campus. We ate at the first Mexican restaurant my 90-something Dad had ever visited. One of his hearing aids konkd out. I lost a contact lens. “We better hope Mom is in heaven looking after us,” I said.
My quest for the real Mona Lisa began years ago in Florence when I was doing research for LA BELLA LINGUA. An art historian who befriended me casually mentioned during a dinner at her home that the mother of La Gioconda, as Italians call Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait, grew up in the very same building on Via Ghibellina. I then came across newspaper reports about the discovery of documents from Mona Lisa’s family–the Gherardini–by an archival sleuth named Giuseppe Pallanti. When we met on a rooftop terrace overlooking Lisa’s childhood neighborhood, he marked an “X” on a tourist map to indicate the street where she was born. The moment I ventured onto squalid Via Sguazza, the journalist in me sensed a story just waiting to be told.
Wondering where to go in Italy if you were to travel there right now? Escape the crowds and head to the mountains for some backcountry explorations or try long-distance walks in the rolling countryside or take on watersports somewhere along the summer-ready coastline.
Although 756 years have passed since Dante Alighieri’s birth in Florence in May of 1265, his words live on, not just in literature, but also on the tongues of contemporary Italians.
La Scala recently re-opened after months of silence imposed by Covid-19 restrictions. The news made my heart sing—and brought back the memory of my first night at this iconic concert hall.