Reviews about the Italian language school Il Sasso in Montepulciano. Former students' opinions, suggestions, advices about school, town and ... wine!
To first begin with a little bit about myself, I have previously studied four other languages: Latin, Ancient Greek, French, and German. In three weeks at Il Sasso, I learned as much as I did in one semester of German at an ivy league university. The teachers are amazing, enthusiastic, and you will absolutely be amazed at how much Italian you are able to pick up in one or more weeks. I definitely hope to come back and would encourage anyone to do it. A few words about the town, Montepulciano is absolutely beautiful and a wonderful place to spend a couple of weeks. There were people while I was there as young as 16, and as old as 70, the program really is appropriate for all ages!
So many of us admire Italy for it's beauty, food and culture but when we travel there we look in as outsiders. My experience at Il Sasso made me feel at home in Montepulciano, which is a breathtakingly beautiful town in Tuscany. The faculty at the school are very warm and friendly and they are good teachers. We took a placement test and were put in classes with others of our ability. The morning class runs from 8:45-1 with two breaks. With the longer break the students go to a bar (coffee shop) across the street. The other students were from all over and were a nice mix of ages, although there were quite a few Americans, and everyone had fun together. I was only there for a week but I felt sad leaving my class because we really enjoyed each other. I made great progress in my Italian over the week and what was best was I stopped being shy about speaking. I also felt really comfortable in Montepulciano by the time I left. I'm already thinking about coming back next year.
I cannot recommend Il Sasso enough. It was the stuff dreams and memories are made of. I say that because, I dreamed of doing such a thing and acted upon the desire, then so many memories were made ... which are now part of my soul. All of that, may seem overly dramatic, however, I am a married 52 year old female with a full life at home. It was exciting to take time off for myself and do what I wanted. I was 4 weeks at school and an additional 2 weeks traveling. There are different levels, you are given a quick assessment and them placed in a class. There were different students coming and going each week. They came for 1 week, 2 weeks, 4-6 weeks and even for 3 months. The staff at Il Sasso are kind, patient, encouraging, warm, and helpful. They want you to succeed at learning ... and get as happy and excited (as you do yourself) ... when a "breakthrough" is made. We would have a grammar class and a conversation class. There was a little bit of homework (which I didn't always manage to complete before class). I also signed up for the private lessons, which could be done solo or with a second person. The private (solo) lessons helped me get over the hump/blockade that I had in learning Italian. I really was able to progress as the teacher assessed where I was having the trouble and then really worked on that (what a kind and Patient man Alberto was with me)!!! There are after school activities as also excursions offered to reinforce your learning. You are able to do as much or as little of the extracurricular activities as you would like. I had as much fun after school, as I did in school. If you come on your own and have concern about being lonely or unsafe - in my opinion ... there is not a problem with either here. So much to do, so much to see! I walked in the city at night (sometimes late) by myself with no bother at all. The picturesque town, the surrounding area, the history. I will never get enough. I plan on returning as soon as I possibly can.
What an exceptional experience as a Beginner student last fall, 2017 at Il Sasso. Costanza is an excellent instructor and made me feel comfortable every morning with our lessons. She helped create a learning environment that was stress free and fun. I am returning in early 2018 for more training and of course, enjoying exquisite Tuscany! If this is your first time to the area, consider staying in one of the peaceful and charming agriturismos that are nestled next to Montepulciano.
From the minute I had first contact with the school via email, through to my arrival and for the entire two weeks i was at Il Sasso, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. My interactions with the admin staff via email before arriving were stellar and gave me a lot of confidence in the experience I was about to have. Once at the school and in Montepulciano, things just continued to get better and better. The town was stunning and so full of life and interesting things to do. The school arranged my accommodation and it was perfect. A wonderful little apartment in a beautiful location on the edge of the town. I was incredibly nervous about attending school after so many years away from it. At 65 and a total beginner in terms of the Italian language, I was worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew. From the minute I met the staff and the teachers my fears were put to rest. The program is an excellent one and my teachers Elenora and Sara were incredible!!! The small class size allowed for a lot of individual attention and while Sara and Eleanor were always patient, encouraging and engaging, they were also very persistent in ensuring that everyone participated fully. Shy or not, we were all pushed (in the nicest of ways) to talk. Don't get me wrong, the classes were hard work but fun at the same time and although I had moments where I doubted I would ever speak or understand the language (and thought my head would explode!!!) by the end of the first week,I was both speaking and understanding a lot. The structure of the lessons is perfect, with emphasis on discussion first. Yes there was homework but never too much and the afternoon's optional excursions were excellent. I met so many interesting students from around the world, many of whom had been to the school multiple times. I can understand why and hope to go back again myself. My time at the school (2 weeks) was short and went by in a flash but it really set me up well for the rest of my 6 week solo journey in Italy. I am certainly far from fluent but my time at the school gave me the confidence I needed and the language skills to really enjoy the rest of my trip. I would highly recommend Il Sasso to anyone wanting to learn or improve their Italian. What an amazing experience it was. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone at the school!!!
I just returned from Italy where I spent 3 months studying Italian at Il Sasso and I cannot emphasize enough what a fantastic school it is. Il Sasso has a dedicated student following; I met students from all over the world; some coming to the school for years. I learned about this school through my local Italian Cultural Center in San Diego. Il Sasso is the language school they recommend to their students traveling to Italy to learn Italian. Over the 3 month period I met students who had been to other language schools in Italy and they said that Il Sasso is superior. Il Sasso is ISO Certified (International Organization for Standardization). The school follows a strict standard of teaching and it works. Each teacher follows the same protocol so the classes are consistent. The teachers themselves are friendly, helpful, upbeat and extremely well organized all while adding their own personal flair to the classroom (thanks to Cinzia, Eleonora, Roberta, Sara and Alberto!) The structure of the group classes is as follows: Monday - Friday you will be at the school for 4 1/2 hours. The first 1 1/2 hours is discussion only in Italian, of course. During this time each student talks about what they did the day before or their plans for the afternoon and evening (this is something you can prepare for the evening before to be familiar with the vocabulary you might need). It’s a chit-chat session guided by the teacher. Then there is a 30 minute break where you have plenty of time to get coffee and food at one of the coffee bars close to the school. The next 1 1/2 hours is a grammar lesson taught entirely in Italian and yet completely understandable even for beginners. Then a 15 minute break. The final 45 minutes is a relaxed session often playing a word game (my favorite was Taboo!) Plan on 30 - 60 of homework each day. To top it off the school is located in the beautiful town of Montepulciano. There are dozens of fabulous restaurants and shops and a weekly open market at the train station. Lots of history, naturally. This is a town with plenty of tourists but less "touristy" than other local towns (that are well worth visiting). Prepare for plenty of entertainment especially in August with the build-up to the Bravio delle Botti race; parades, flag throwing and drumming. I love listening to and speaking Italian and Il Sasso made that possible!
I was only able to attend class at Il Sasso for one week this past October, but it was a really great week! After a placement test I quickly settled in with two great teachers in the correct level. Even with only one week both refreshed and improved my Italian. The combination of grammar, conversation and homework was perfect. Everyone at the school was very helpful, whether it was making arrangements to attend, transportation information, or help while I was in Montepulciano. The I wish I had been able to stay another week or two. I stayed in a small apartment (that I found) on Via di Collazo that was a perfect location 5 min. walk to school with a fabulous view of the countryside.
I spent a week at Il Sasso back in June this year and my only regret is that I didn't stay longer! From the quintessential Tuscan hill top setting of Montepulciano to the warm, inviting reception from the school upon my arrival, it really was the perfect place to learn Italian. Classes are small which makes for excellent value for money in terms of learning as much Italian as possible during your stay, and the teachers I had were excellent and extremely professional. My homestay was so good that I dreamed all day about what my host lady was going to serve up for dinner (a phenomenal cook!) and I actually cried when I had to leave. The sign of an outstanding holiday! I would recommend Il Sasso to anyone wanting to learn Italian. I've been to a number of language schools over the years and this one really stands out.
En fantastisk språkskole som kan anbefales på det varmeste. De ansatte er dyktige, rutinerte og profesjonelle, samtidig som de er jordnære, "vanlige" mennesker som deg og meg, med humor og varme. Spesielt en lærer hadde ett nydelig vesen, som fikk meg til å slappe av når jeg synes ting var vanskelig og nesten mistet troen på at jeg skulle klare det. En veldig bra språkskole!!!
10月前半の２週間、il Sassoに通いました。一言で言って、これまでに体験したことのない素晴らしい２週間でした。 これまでに約６年間（毎週一回ですが）イタリア語講座で学んでいたとはいえ、il Sassoでの授業が始まる前は緊張と不安でいっぱいでした。毎日4時間、月曜から金曜まで、自分には負担が多過ぎるのではないだろうか・・・そんな不安は初日の授業が終わった時には吹き飛んでおり、ロベルタ先生とチンツィア先生、それに素敵なクラスメイトのお陰で、すっかりくつろいだ気持ちになっていました。その後は毎日の授業が楽しくてたまらない、そんな気持ちで通いました。文法の授業では重点視された接続法を始め、人称代名詞、近過去と半過去等々、これまでにない気付きが多数ありました。とは言え、高齢者の自分がそれらをいつまで覚えていられるかは定かではありませんが（苦笑）。 授業の中で、”viaggiatore旅人”と”turista観光客”は違うと説明していただきましたが、私もil Sassoでのイタリア語の学習を通じて旅人viaggiatoreになりたいです。そのためにも、出来るだけ早い機会に是非もう一度、 il Sassoで学びたいと願っています。 il Sassoの先生方、スタッフの皆様に感謝を込めて、アッリヴェデルチ！ Ho frequentato la scuola "Il Sasso" per due settimane nelle prime di ottobre. In una parola, è stato il tempo bellissimo, una esperienza che non sono mai stato prima. Studio l'italiano da circa 6 anni a Tokyo, una volta alla settimana, però avevo paura prima del inizio del corso alla scuola perché era la prima volta a studiare in Italia e anche 4 ore ogni giorno da lunedì a venerdì, non sarà troppo? Tuttavia dopo le 4 ore della prima lezione lunedì mi sono sentito a casa con le brave insegnante, Roberta e Cinzia, e anche i simpatici compagni di classe. Successivamente ogni giorno di lezione è stato pieno di divertimento. Ho imparato molto, in particolare la grammatica di congiuntivi, pronomi personali, passato prossimo e imperfetto, anche se non sono sicuro per quanto periodo saprò ricordare. Facilissimo a dimenticare per anziani. Come l'insegnante ha detto che c'è differenza tra viaggiatori e turisti, vorrei diventare un viaggiatore in Italia con lo studio di lingua italiana al Sasso! Spero sicuramente che ritorni al Sasso il più presto possibile. Con il mio ringraziamento a tutti di voi al Sasso! Arrivederci!
For many years I have holidayed regularly in the Montepulciano area and I have always wanted to register with Il Sasso to improve my Italian. This time I took the opportunity to do so and I'm very glad I did. Tuition was provided every morning from 8.45 to 13.10 with 2 breaks (these gave a good opportunity for students to meet each other at the caffe conveniently located nearby!) Students completed a short written 'test' in advance to gauge their level of ability and this in conjunction with discussion with the course organisers helped ensure they were allocated to a class which was appropriate to their degree of 'fluency' in Italian. Tutors were very experienced and there were lots of opportunities to practice and improve conversation. Important aspects of grammar were well taught using lots of clear examples. I have studied Italian for many years but there is no doubt that after this short course at Il Sasso my knowledge of Italian (in particular the use of the Subjunctive (Congiuntivo)) and confidence in speaking it, have improved considerably. Montepulciano itself is a beautiful city with lots to do, il Sasso itself is located very near to the Poliziano Caffe/Patisserie Il Sasso can organise accommodation and also organises social events for its students. All in all a very positive experience, I thoroughly enjoyed my week, I can strongly recommend Il Sasso and will register again for a course in future.
Die Schule, der Ort und vor allem die Leute bietet die besten Voraussetzungen für das Erlernen dieser Sprache. Alles sehr gut organisiert und sehr sehr nett, freundlich und kompetent. Mir wurde die Schule empfohlen als " die beste" - und es stimmt tatsächlich.
Le due settimane al Sasso erano molto utili e piacevole. Ho imperato non solo problema importanti grammaticali ma anche fatti interessanti sulla cultura e la vita italiana. Gli insegnanti (Patrizia, Alberto e Roberta) sono molto gentili. Studiare l'italiano è un divertimento a Montepulciano. Grazie e arrivederci.
I have taken Italian lessons several places in Italy and at home in Texas, but Il Sasso is by far the best language school. I first spent a week there in 2013, but this time I returned for a whole month, and I still can't believe how much more comfortable I am with the Italian language, especially speaking. Il Sasso is located in the heart of a Tuscan hill town with breathtaking views, known worldwide for its wine: Vino Nobile. The classes are small, and each student takes a test on the first day for proper placement. The directors at Il Sasso make a real effort to put you in the right class so that you can learn at the proper rate, rather than feeling either bored or inadequate. Indeed, for one of my four weeks I was placed in a private class because I was the only one on my level. At first, I felt nervous and ostracized, but, in the end, private lessons were exactly what I needed to build my confidence. The structure of the day at Il Sasso is optimal. Classes begin at 8:45 am. We usually study a new lesson on grammar and practice it until 10:15. Then we get a pausa of thirty minutes, during which the students migrate to the coffee bar across the street, run by the affable Alessandro and Silvia. Next we practice more reading and vocabulary, followed by a fifteen-minute break, and then the last 45 minutes of class is giocare: to play games. We play l'impiccato (hangman) or Taboo, or mime words and try to guess them, etc. It's a great way to practice, but it also builds a sense of fun and friendship among the students and teachers. To a one, the teachers are amazingly friendly, patient, warm, and encouraging. Eleanora and I bonded over our rescued cat stories. Hers is named Mosé (Moses). Costanza taught us that the @ symbol is called la chiocciola in Italian, meaning snail. She also taught us my new favorite Italian word: ninanana, which means lullaby. Still, our teachers hold us accountable. You can't get away with just throwing out words but must speak in complete sentences. You can't plug in the English words for what you don't know because your fellow students speak languages from all over the world. Whenever I was speaking and mixed up the masculine or feminine endings, one of my teachers, Alberto, would mime with his hands an O for masculine and a curvy woman's body for feminine. He made me laugh, and laughed with me, which makes everything easier and more fun. One day in class, Henrietta from Denmark, started laughing. The more she laughed, the redder and more embarrassed she became, which caused us all to laugh even more. Alberto called her laugh: ridere del cuore, laughter of the heart. Humor, the universal language we all share, bonded us together. Sadly, you'll never get that from Duo Lingo or Rosetta Stone, as helpful as those online programs are in building vocabulary. Language is above all about human interaction. Il Sasso also organizes optional activities for every day of the week, from excursions to nearby towns, such as San Quirico D'Orcia and Bagno Vignoni, to Iris Origo's famous gardens at La Foce, to showings of Italian films, such as Il Nuovo Cinema Paradiso and Benvenuti al Sud, cooking classes at the local restaurant, Gattavecchi, wine tastings, and even a passeggiata to the nearby hill town of Montefollonico. Perhaps the hardest part of attending Italian classes at Il Sasso is when it's time to leave. As we said our goodbyes, we were all plotting our returns.
Sadly only spent a week in class ... I wanted more! Classes are fun, instructors encouraging and you will make great school friends!!! I would highly recommend for people of all levels. In addition, the afternoon excursions are a total blast! Can't wait to return to Montepulciano for more!!
I returned to study at Il Sasso in 2017 this time for two weeks, after a great experience in 2016. Once again I can't say enough about the high quality of the instruction - I'm a retired language teacher, so I know good teaching! - the welcoming ambiance, and the activities the school plans for its students. If you're looking for a charming and less hectic location in which to learn Italian, you can't go wrong with Il Sasso!
La scuola è meravigliosa. Gli insegnanti sono gentili e pazienti e abbiamo avuto un sacco di divertimento, soprattutto quando siamo andati al mercato.
In the course of one week with group and private lessons I learned more than two years nightschool. Wonderful people great activities and a nice central location for other visits.
Having spent two-weeks at Il Sasso in 2015, I returned in July/August 2016 for a month as it was such an exceptional experience ... and it was once again. I've been learning Italian now for five years at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney and most of my classmates also go to Il Sasso when in Italy, as it is not only extremely professional as a language school, but you are able to immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of a highly sophisticated, yet remarkably small, Italian fortified hilltop medieval village in Tuscany where the Medici went after having to leave Florence. You can really live the dream. Two recommendations: ~ I split my four weeks into two two-week courses and travelled around Italy for a week in between. That stopped it being too intense for me and allowed me to practice my Italian on unsuspecting Italians (who really do appreciate that you are making the effort), and ~ if you are able to visit in Summer in July, you will coincide with their famous arts festival: the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte (www.fondazionecantiere.it). It's an exceptional experience. The school arranges outings, so, as a single traveller, I find my time in Montepulciano at Il Sasso to be quite a social experience with the people you meet there, from all over the world. Or you can keep to yourself. Whatever suits. Highly recommended on every level.
Well if you want to learn Italian, or brush up on your once-learned Italian, this is a wonderful place to do it. Classroom size is small and I had a great experience studying Italian with my amazing (and very patient) instructors Vanessa and Sara. I also went on several of the excursions that were offered and they were well worth it! OK with one exception - the organic farm visit - not a good experience. However, the entire classroom experience and all other excursions were excellent experiences for me and I recommend it to anyone who is considering studying Italian in Italy.