I've just returned home after my second two-month stay in Montepulciano attending Il Sasso Scuola di Italiano. Yes, my second stay but certainly not my last. Is it habit-forming? Perhaps, but pleasantly so, as I learned from other students who have enjoyed many more years there than I. After trying and dropping other language schools (Italian and others), I finally discovered a real gem at Il Sasso, thanks to the encouragement and support of the extremely talented teachers and staff, all of whom made me feel welcome from the first day. The teachers I had - Sara, Roberta, Francesca, Eleonora, Gaia, Cinzia, Constanza and Alberto - kept classes lively and educational. And special thanks to Heike who kept me well informed and in the right classroom at the right time. Montepulciano also is a gem, perhaps the most-beautiful of Tuscany's hill towns, where the shops and stores are accustomed to seeing many tourists yet welcome Il Sasso students and are saintly patient with our halting yet enthusiastic Italian. This fall I joined with five other students to spend five days with Sara exploring in-depth the rich bounty of regional art and culture, expanding our horizons (literally and figuratively) as we wandered through cathedrals, underground cities, museums, and abbazie, gazing at Italian history come alive through Sara's profound knowledge of her country's heritage. To her a special thanks and to all the staff, I echo an earlier post: non vedo l'ora di ritornare!
I have been studying Italian on and off for 30'yrs and was looking for a different kind of course than a purely grammatic oriented one. I was lucky to find a course in the history of art at Il Sasso with Sara, for intermediate to advanced students. We learned Italian through art and took excursions every day to other towns and sites which was just wonderful. The class was mixed levels but Sara did a great job including everyone. The students were for the most part older retirees but there were 2 young adults. They were all interesting people. And Montepulciano is a lovely town in which to be embedded for a week. Although quite touristy in the center, just a few minutes walk away and you can enjoy the quiet small streets. The panoramas are incredible, people are friendly, lots of lodging choices. I definitely hope to come back!
After trying to learn Italian on our own for a number of years without much success, my husband and I decided to bite the bullet and signed up for four weeks at Il Sasso in the lovely town of Montepulciano. It was one of the most rewarding and memorable experience of our lives. From the welcoming "meet and greet" session, to the group and private lessons, to the excellent excursions the school offers, all were geared to provide you with a instant, supportive "family" while learning the Italian language and culture. While I found week 1 quite overwhelming (my head was spinning from interpreting the instructions in Italian and trying to absorb the content), it got easier as my vocabulary and confidence developed. By week 4, it seemed perfectly normal to be conversing in Italian for hours at a time. We also met some wonderful people from all around the world. Special thanks to Cinzia, Sara, Gaia and Eleanora, our wonderful class teachers, and to Costanza and Alberto our private lesson teachers, and Heike. If you have been waffling about doing this, please take the plunge. You will not regret it. We hope to be back in a couple years, this time for 3 weeks, to continue this adventure.
What a beautiful summer, experiencing the Tuscan landscape and studying Italian at Il Sasso! I was in group lessons, and afternoon private lessons for one hour. Before coming to Il Sasso, I only knew how to greet someone in Italian, and count from 1-100. Yet, by the end of one month, I have made tremendous progress and was using the A2 textbooks. This is because of my excellent teachers: Eleonora, Cinzia, Sara, Alberto and Gaia. And, if you're lucky to have Costanza as your private lesson teacher, request her! My teachers taught Italian in a living context. We were not studying just repeating grammar, but learning how to use Italian at the supermarket, and other useful situations. I highly recommend private lessons, even for just one hour, if you're really looking to improve your Italian. My success with the language is indebted to Il Sasso. Plus, Montepulciano, with all its Medieval festivities and quirks, is a memorable and unique experience. You won't regret it!
I dont know why it took me so long to write a review about this fabulous school. My first time was in late October 2012, and Alberto told me to come back at a different time :-) Since then, I've come back 2014, 2017, 2018. Every time better than the one before. All the insegnanti here are so caring and smart, why would I go any other school? And what about Montepulciano?? Hello!! The most beautiful hill town in Tuscany, secondo me! Non vedo l'ora di ritornare!!
I am still in Tuscany. It will be very difficult to leave. My fourth of five weeks as a student (yes, mature of age but young of heart) at Il Sasso, Il Scuola di Italiano a Montepulciano. By good fortune, my friend had attended last year (2018) and told me about this jewel in the heart of Tuscany. Heike, one of the very helpful team responded overnight to my enquiry and I was enrolled, after a small deposit, for beginners, June 2019. Alberto, another of the wonderful team here greeted new students with apperitifs the night before we were due to start, and standing on the balcony, looking over the rolling Tuscan landscape with sweet scented air filled with birdsong, the trip alone from Perth, Australia, was worth it! The following morning we were allocated appropriate classes to match our level of experience and confidence with the Italian language. Your head spins, but the team here are brilliant. I can mention those teachers our class has had...Gaia, Sara, Roberta and Francesca. Each brings creativity, experience, patience and humour as we mere beginners (only talking on behalf of myself here...) try to tackle and learn this melodic language. Il Sasso has a long history with foundations in helping build broader literacy in the 1980s with a standard language based on Dante. Now Il Sasso is helping people like me get a taste of 'living and speaking' local. Afterall, Tuscany has the most wonderful people, food and wine. Why wouldn't you? Sylvia is another of the team at Il Sasso who work hard to make sure your learning experience is not only in language, but with additional cultural activities, partnering with local businesses and producers accessible to students here. It's going to be difficult to leave ... but I know I will also return. Montepulciano gets into your heart. Cycling, walking, eating, wine tasting, art ... it's all here. Il Sasso helps to magnify the colour of your experience. A bonus ... all the wonderful people you meet from around the world! ...
Se vuoi imparare l'italiano in Italia, non cercare oltre Il Sasso. Situato nell'incredibilmente incantevole Montepulciano, una città collinare per eccellenza in Toscana. Le classi sono piccole e suddivise per livello. Gli insegnanti sono fantastici. Dopo la scuola, ci sono attività che si possono fare localmente quasi tutti i giorni dopo le lezioni, se si sceglie (film, degustazione di vini, cucina, ecc.). Sono andato due volte e tornerò sicuramente l'anno prossimo. Basta prenotare il tuo tempo lì (un minimo di una settimana, due settimane sembra molto più tipico e molte persone sono lì per 4 - 8 settimane o più). Partire. Sarai così felice di averlo fatto.
La scuola "Il Sasso" e perfettamente organizzata e gli insegnanti sono utili e molto pazienti. Mi è piaciuto tanto la dimensione e la composizione della classe. E' stato importante per me che ho potuto vivere in questa bellissima città. Non dimenticherò mai le due settimane a Montepulciano.
WOW! I am so happy with my language immersion experience at Il Sasso. From the beginning, corresponding with Heike and Silvia was a delight - so easy and they are very helpful. They assisted me with making all my arrangements, including booking a driver from Rome airport to Montepulciano - so appreciated! My experience as a complete beginner has been wonderful. My teacher, Cinzia is amazing. I wish all my teachers at university and in high school had been this good. She is so encouraging, patient and knowledgeable. I seriously love her. I was originally very nervous as I have no background speaking Italian, but she immediately put me at ease and was full of positive reinforcement. It's only been one week and we have learned how to order at a cafe and restaurant, go shopping in a market, and how to make a hotel reservation, plus much more! I really appreciate the emphasis on conversational Italian. In addition, Montepulciano is lovely. The people here could not be more hospitable. The restaurants are delicious, there is a music school where you can listen to fabulous classical concerts, many wineries in town that offer complimentary tastings and tours of their underground cellars and sometimes there are festivals in the main square (Piazza Grande). We had the good fortune to be here during the chocolate festival (early April)!. If you are thinking about taking Italian immersion, Il Sasso is THE place. I am already planning my next trip so that I can improve my Italian further.
Pamela & Bruce (USA)
My wife and I spent 2 weeks at Il Sasso ... and had a great experience. The school is in the center of gorgeous Montepulciano, the instructors are energetic and knowledgeable and the focus is on student achievement no matter what your skill level. Spend a week or two and you'll find you visit to Italy truly rewarding.