For decades summer meant Italy to me. We would leave California just after Memorial Day, fly to Rome and drive the Aurelia north to the Argentario on the Tuscan coast. Every day we swam and hiked and sailed, lingered for hours over lunch on sun-dappled terraces, talked long into the night with friends at candle-lit dinners. Not this year. Not yet.
To all who are returning to Italy, I say, “Buon viaggio!” May your travels be smooth and safe. May you savor Italy’s loving embrace and enjoy each moment to its fullest. For the rest of us, I will be posting a series of blogs on my website on “Summer in Italian,” featuring the words and expressions that make the season especially sweet.
I also want to update readers on the language schools of Italy, which were battered by the pandemic. The petition that I wrote about in a previous newsletter garnered more than 7,000 signatures from around the world. Many schools began offering classes in the Spring, with the official green light on July 1.
I asked some teachers of LICET (Lingua Italiana Cultura e Turismo), a consortium of schools promoting Italian and cultural tourism, why foreigners should study Italian in its native land. Here are some of their responses:
* Immediately practice what you learn. What better way to acquire grammar than to apply it as soon as you close the book? Or even during the coffee break?
* Compare notes with students of other nationalities and share the joys and sorrows of learning the “bella lingua.”
* Italian teachers are usually Italian. As such, they put passion into explaining adjectives. They get excited conjugating verbs. They know how to drag students into the vortex of adverbs. You don't just learn grammar in their lessons; you also absorb their culture.
* Italians speak with their hands—which entitles students to do the same. Italians will never miss a chance to help you communicate, and you’ll learn a new word and gesture, such as a fingertip touching a cheek (Delicious!), every day.
You can read the complete article, “7 Reasons to Learn Italian in Italy,” on my website. I agree with all of them and add another: As you learn Italian in Italy, you assume a new identity. Years ago Dianne, the sensible mother, wife and writer, turned into Diana (pronounced Dee-ahn-nah), a carefree spirit who eats tiramisu for breakfast and dances barefoot under the Italian moon. Imagine how you might be transformed when you start speaking Italian!
Whatever your plans for this summer, wherever you may go, I wish you “Buona estate!”