My experience at Il Sasso was truly incredible. I stayed in Montepulciano for a total of 3 months for a study abroad program, and I know that it would not have been the same without the kind and nurturing spirits of the Il Sasso staff. Everyone there is truly concerned for your well-being and happiness, and they go out of their way to make you feel like family. My Italian improved tenfold, and I can now confidently say that I could do absolutely everything in Italian if I had to (and I did!). It was so nice to be able to walk down the street to go to class, especially in such a beautiful location. I recently read somewhere that, "If you live in a beautiful place, its beauty will be reflected back in the people." I can't help but think of Montepulciano when I read this quote. Not only is the city and its accompanying panoramas absolutely breathtaking, but the hearts of every person you meet are more beautiful than I can describe. Everyone is eager to meet you and happy to let you practice your Italian with them, no matter how broken it may be. They are a patient, understanding, and loving group of people whom I hope to run into again one day in the future. We were absolutely blessed with the incredibly beautiful townhouse we stayed in for our three months with all modern appliances and beautiful architecture. We always had countless amazing opportunities: olive picking, vineyard tours, a cooking class, and so much more! Though the town is quite small and there aren't many young people to interact with, it is the perfect place to learn such a beautiful language as the Tuscan dialect is the closest to "standard Italian". I would recommend going in the summer when the city is full of life and there are lots of celebrations. If you do go in the late fall or winter, be advised that the city is on a mountain and it gets quite cold! I know for a fact that I will be back to visit Montepulciano again sometime in my lifetime, and I eagerly look forward to that day. Tanti...
I am incredibly impressed with the sensitivity of the staff and instructors, namely their ability to assess what each student needs and to structure the lessons accordingly. Apart from being excellent teachers, they are downright nice, genuine people who take a personal interest in their work and seem to enjoy it. I also appreciated the small class sizes, and found the other students to be generally on par with the school, that is to say, a wonderful set of folks across the age spectrum. The school is extremely well run. Montepulciano is a charming town with just the right amount of interesting sights and things to occupy your free time without becoming overly distracting from the learning experience. The town feels intimate and real (not overly touristy) and it certainly has excellent food and wine. Overall, I would recommend this school without reservation for anyone interested in serious learning as well as a marvelously engaging experience of Tuscany.
The beautiful town of Montepulciano, I already knew from last year. However, I did not yet know the charming apartments and the language school Il Sasso, and I am delighted by both. I lived for three weeks in a spacious, clean, beautiful, and also low-priced apartment in the middle of the old town and less than two minutes from the school. I spent the mornings in a pleasant classroom environment with a fantastic panoramic view together with very competent and friendly teachers and nice fellow students from around the world. The atmosphere was always cordial. I've learned a lot, and during and after classes, enjoyed the exchange. In the classroom, there is nothing to complain about the materials and the methods; also the grammar topics and contents were treated that I had wanted. Only the composition of the group was partly too heterogeneous, more differentiated levels would have been good in my case for another course for the two weeks that I was there, but it has adapted perfectly. I organized my activities privately, which was also cheaper than the groups, but I think that the price for the organization was reasonable, and beautiful destinations were offered in any case. Common lunch and smaller meetings with the other students have enriched my stay. In and around Montepulciano, there is still something to discover beautiful and special.
The two weeks in October that I spent at Il Sasso will reside in memory as two of the best vacation weeks I've ever taken. I have studied Italian casually with friends and a mentor for about 18 months, and was astounded to see that the skilled educators of Il Sasso were able to look at my intake exam results and place me exactly where I needed to be on the language learning curve. That placement, coupled with the patient, kind, humorous and highly skilled teaching methods of Sara, Eleonora and Gaia ensured that I would come away from this experience with a significantly improved understanding of the language, and a very fond appreciation for the Italian people and culture. And the somewhat unforeseen bonus is Montepulciano itself. What a wonderful place to visit and spend time in, with postcard quality views of Tuscany at every turn! I was so enthralled by the place that I cancelled my plans to visit Siena during the middle weekend, and spent the entire time getting to know Montepulciano better: shops, art exhibits, restaurants, concerts, cantinas, churches - there just isn't enough time in a weekend to do it justice. And every single place I went I found people who were pleased to hear my attempts to speak their language, and pleased to help me when I asked. Truly a first rate experience in a first rate location.
Great school, few students per class, skilled teachers, in an awesome Tuscan town. I've been taking Italian for two years the week and a half that I went to Il Sasso was most helpful.
I spent a week at Il Sasso Italian Language School in Montepulciano in September. It was a wonderful experience that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn or improve their Italian. The instructors are all great - clear, knowledgeable, patient and entertaining. The classes are small so you have lots of time to practice and ask questions. And when you aren't in class there are many activities they offer - a great tour of Montepulciano, wine tasting, a cooking class and more. The administrative part of the process is easy and they are quite helpful answering any questions you might have. I stayed with a family, which was a great experience and helped me practice my Italian even more. It's a great experience all around.
Just finished two weeks with my wife in the school. Really we could not ask for more. The teachers, the attitude, the atmophere. We learnt in two weeks like we learnt in a year of once a week lectures. I recommend with all my heart.
I have just been to Il Sasso and it was the most unbelievable experience I have had. Very professional.The teachers are amazing. I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of learning this gorgeous language.
I have just completed the four week intensive course at Il Sasso with a home stay. Before arriving at Il Sasso I had been studying Italian for one year but had learnt very little. Within just a week at Il Sasso I had pretty much covered everything I had learnt in a year back home. The classes are fantastic and the teachers really encourage you to learn and better yourself in the Italian language. After a month at the school I can confidently have a basic conversation with Italians and am able to understand a lot of the content of certain conversations. My advice would be to have realistic expectations of what you want to learn after your period at the school. After completing the intensive course I would say that beware of how tiring studying for 6 hours a day is. Also your private lessons will conflict with the majority of the schools afternoon activities so if you want to go on them do not do the intensive course. If you are committed to learning the language a homestay is the only option for you. The family I lived with were fantastic, extremely patient and encouraging even when I said the most stupid things to them. I visited a lot of the schools apartments when going round friends homes and all of them were really nice and close to the school so if you prefer that to a homestay the accommodation is great as well. There isn't a huge amount to do in the town so think about your reasons for studying Italian. If you want somewhere where you can go out every night then perhaps look at language schools in bigger cities as you won't really find anywhere in Montepulciano. There are lots of bars and restaurants though and people at the school were always happy to go for a drink or meal in the evenings. If I'm able to go away for this time again I'd return next year, it's a really great experience!!!
I just came back from a four-week stay at Il Sasso, and I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. From the beginning, the staff was incredibly kind and helpful. Heike always responded promptly to any questions I had about the classes, fees, or getting to Montepulciano. The classes were just wonderful! I opted for the Course Standard +, which consisted of approximately 4 hours of group class and one hour of private lesson every day. I had Sara and Costanza as teachers for the group lessons. They were both wonderful and knew exactly what to do so that the students understand the grammatical concepts covered in each class. It was also helpful to be exposed to two different teachers, as I got used to different styles of teaching and speech. Overall, the class were on an appropriate pace with enough repetition for students to really absorb everything covered. For the private lesson, I had Costanza again. And she was wonderful! The focus of the private lessons was more on reading and conversation, so Costanza and I just talked about whatever topic Costanza prepared for. She was personable, funny, energetic, and incredibly sympathetic even when I made countless errors (especially at the beginning). Once again: she's awesome! And I'd recommend any beginners to go for the Standard + option (instead of just doing the basic group lessons), as the private lesson helped me develop conversational skills that are completely different from understanding grammar. By the end of the four weeks, I could comfortably hold a conversation with a native Italian speaker (with the Italian person speaking slowly, of course). And Montepulciano is a wonderful place to stay! It's a very Tuscan town, but big enough to keep you occupied. It also has tons of good food and great wine, if you're into that sort of a thing. It is also fairly close to a lot of interesting cities/and towns. During my 4 weeks, I went to Assisi, Piensa, Monticchiello, Rome, Florence, and Siena. I also know people who...