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Reviews

Reviews about the Italian language school Il Sasso in Montepulciano. Former students' opinions, suggestions, advices about school, town and ... wine!

Beth (USA)

15.11.2017

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!

Athena (USA)

10.11.2017

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.

Anna (Inghilterra)

10.11.2017

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.

Kjersti (Norvegia)

30.10.2017

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!!!

Shinichi (Japan)

26.10.2017

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!

Oliver (Inghilterra)

18.09.2017

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.

Eva (Svizzera)

18.09.2017

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.

Lucia (Olanda)

10.08.2017

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.

Sara (USA)

28.07.2017

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.

Kitty (USA)

14.06.2017

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!!

Tim (USA)

01.06.2017

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!

Desley (Australia)

01.06.2017

La scuola è meravigliosa. Gli insegnanti sono gentili e pazienti e abbiamo avuto un sacco di divertimento, soprattutto quando siamo andati al mercato.

Richard (Belgio)

15.05.2017

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.

David (Australia)

22.02.2017

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.

Candyce (Canada)

31.01.2017

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.

Joseph (Irlanda)

17.01.2017

I spent over 2 weeks here this summer learning Italian, from the outset getting this set up was an absolute pleasure, Silvia was truly amazing and made the whole process easy and enjoyable. The location of the school is excellent, very central with lots of great authentic Italian amenities very close by. The school facilitated my preference of one to one lessons and I also took part in the afternoon activities which included a lecture about Italian art and a trip to a second world war site. The quality of the teaching was excellent and the lessons were adjusted regularly to suit my preferred learning outcomes and style. I feel like this is the perfect place to learn Italian in an authentic Italian town and I hope to return there sooner rather than later. Thank you all at Il Sasso for a most enjoyable experience.

Kathy & Jerry (USA)

05.01.2017

My husband and I spent two glorious weeks in Monteoulciano studying Italian at IL Sasso Italian Language School. From the moment we walked into the school we knew it was the right decision. Everyone was welcoming and enthusiastic. The student body was international and we enjoyed meeting people from Australia, Switzerland, France, Ireland and Israel. The classes were small, and the teaching method was geared to the group. We had two teachers daily whose styles complimented each other. The classes combined conversation, grammar, Italian culture, reading and games. It was both intense and fun! The school also arranged activities in the afternoons such as movies, wine tasting, cooking classes and trips to neighboring historical sites. The highlights for us were the teachers, the other students and the cooking class with Claudia, at IL Covo and the visit to Val d'Orcia. We loved the town of Montepulciano and the people but after two weeks it was a little confining. Studying at IL SASSO WAS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE and we hope to return for a month on our next visit.

Margie (Australia)

05.01.2017

After a few years break from Italian language I enrolled at Il Sasso in preparation for a long stay in Tuscany. The website was informative and the school was close to where I was staying. What a great plan I made! Everyone at Il Sasso was so welcoming and genuinely encouraging that I couldn't help but feel like I was quickly fitting into this new life. Not only that: Montepulciano is such a lovely town and the local businesses welcome students from Il Sasso and helped us to grow confidence with our Italian as well. My beginner Italian progressed to early intermediate with daily private conversation classes and therefore opened a whole new world of engaging with locals in the beautiful hill town region of Tuscany. I can thoroughly recommend the Il Sasso experience.

Fred (Inghilterra)

04.01.2017

Anche se avevo frequentato alcune classi al mio college locale, ero un principiante virtuale e imparato di più in questo quattro settimane che ho fatto in anni di frequentare corsi part-time. Quando dico che ho imparato più io in realtà dire mi è stato "insegnato" di più. I miei appunti e materiale scritto richiedono studio a casa aggiuntivo. Le lezioni sono state strutturate e anche se sono in lingua italiana dalla parola andare presto ottenere il blocco di esso. Gli insegnanti sono molto paziente e garantire capire a tutti prima di andare avanti. Non ci sono esami o test alla fine. Alcuni compiti da fare, ma vi verrà voglia di farlo. Spero di tornare di anno in anno per quante settimane posso gestire. Grande atmosfera nella scuola. Ho incontrato molti amici, compagni di scuola e gente del posto.

Timo (USA)

04.01.2017

I spent one week studying Italian in early October on 2016. The school is located in the heart of the historic city center. The teachers are all very professional and knowledgeable, something I greatly appreciate as a retired language teacher myself! Whether you are a beginning-level student or advanced, they have classes suited to your needs. I highly recommend Il Sasso and hope to go back again.

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