Reviews about the Italian language school Il Sasso in Montepulciano. Former students' opinions, suggestions, advices about school, town and ... wine!
For learing Italian this is the place to go! I have gone twice and will be back a third time! For learning Italian I spent quite a while searching out and selecting where to go. I wanted a place that had experience with foreigners, where the other students were also serious and committed and where I could immerse myself and really learn something, that I would subsequently be able to use, and not just for ordering food and drinks. I needed to reach a level where I could comfortably converse with my Italian in-laws. Il Sasso provides this and more. But whatever your reason or goal, you will certainly leave Il Sasso having learnt much and being confident in using the Italian you have learnt. The teachers are dynamic and knowledgeable. They mostly speak only Italian and thus force you to listen and learn - though will if really needed explain something in English. They genuinely seem to enjoy speaking slowly and clearly – not exactly and common Italian trait! ;-) The teachers are used to different levels / speeds of learning, and are good at adapting and explaining things in various ways, until you get it. The teaching is reinforced by various exercises, talking and small games. Classes are small, fun and lively. You learn from the others and they learn from you. Importantly, the people in a class are at more or less the same level, and given there usually are many students, you can be moved as needed. The first time at Il Sasso I stayed for three weeks, at the end of which, with some help from one of my teachers, I was able to make a small, but correct toast in Italian at the wedding of two good Italian friends. Although at that point not the great conversationalist, my Italian had in three weeks reached a level where my Italian girlfriend no longer felt she could speak "privately" in Italian. The second time at Il Sasso I stayed for two weeks. This stay helped to reinforce my prior learning, added more to it, and importantly added correct grammar. I left being much more confident in speaking and found it easier to understand what was being said to me in passing or in proper conversations. In addition to the above, I would add that Montepulciano is about as lovely a setting for learning a language as you can imagine. It is exactly what we foreigners think of when we picture a little mountain village in Tuscany overlooking the vineyards. And yes, it is certainly possible to sit at a small Vinoteca or Osteria having a glass of wine while doing your homework. The various people working in bars, cafes etc. fairly quickly recognize you as a student from Il Sasso, and add their help to your learning by letting you practice “in a safe environment” and gently correcting your Italian when necessary- absolutely fantastic for improving and building your confidence.
Для меня было жизненной необходимостью как можно быстрее заговорить по-итальянски, в чем мне очень помогли в Школе Иль Сассо. Мне было комфортно и интересно учиться среди других учеников, разного возраста и рода занятий, приехавших из разных стран. Занятия в небольших группах с несколькими преподавателями, чередование грамматики и практических упражнений, по правилам школы общение на уроках и среди учеников на итальянском - кто как может ... но все это позволило погрузиться в процесс изучения итальянского языка с головой и ускорило обучение. В конце первой недели меня перевели из "нулевой группы" в "элементарную". Было приятно, что в Иль Сассо заботятся не только о часах, которые ученики проводят в школе, но и об их досуге - организуются различные экскурсии, дегустации, шоппинг, приветсвенный фуршет и прощальный совместный обед. После окончания обучения кроме приличных знаний итальянского (я даже смогла начать подрабатывать переводами с итальянского на русский) у меня появилось много друзей. Я продолжаю жить в Италии, а некоторые из моих бывших одноклассников возвращаются в школу усовершенствоваться или освежить свои знания во время своих отпусков и навещают меня. Я тоже хотела бы вернуться в Иль Сассо, но, наверное, чуть попозже, на кокой-нибудь специальный курс, а может быть и на подготовку для получения сертификата... кто знает ;-)
Провела незабываемое время в Италии вместе с Il Sasso! Учила итальянский язык, как говорится, с "нуля", само обучение на итальянском, что значительно ускоряет процесс освоения материала. Обучение в группе, но индивидуальный подход к каждому, что особенно важно для начинающих студентов. Очень понравилось, как построен сам процесс обучения, в игровой форме учились общаться, строить диалоги, запоминали новые слова. В целом - непринужденная, но плодотворная атмосфера. Студенты Il Sasso - это и молодежь около 20, но в большей степени - это люди старшего возраста со всего мира, многие даже приезжают парами, многие даже не первый год...Возможно поэтому, в группе всегда царит особенная атмосфера, ведь люди собираются по интересам- все любят Италию, интересуются культурой страны и по -настоящему хотят изучать/совершенствовать итальянский язык. Обязательно продолжу свое обучение в этом году вместе с Il Sasso, ведь для меня это не только отличная возможность быстро "подтянуть" итальянский язык, насладиться вновь просторами Тосканы, но и повидать своих новых друзей ;)
Il Sasso is a wonderful school to study Italian, with the added bonus of being in a small, historic, and beautiful Tuscan hill town. The teachers are highly experienced, warm, and adaptive to the individual student. I could not review the school without commenting on how being in Montepulciano adds tremendously to the overall experience (need I mention the wine, food, beautiful walks in the area, Terme (hot springs). I Would give Il Sasso the highest rating possible. In addition to the day classes of individual lessons, there are group lessons in Italian as well as short courses and small tours. I took a one evening Tuscan Cooking class which was one of the highlights of my trip. If you want to stay for longer, Il Sasso will help you organize your stay. I had an unforgettable experience staying with a wonderful local family. My time there inspired me to continue to study Italian, and I am going to return to Il Sasso this year.
Tony & Anita (Australia)09.02.2015
My wife and I attended Il Sasso language courses for 4 weeks (20 hours per week). The school was well organized, well equipped and all of the teachers were qualified, enthusiastic and effective. The school offers anything from a single class to classes for many weeks at a time, delivered at the level appriate for the attendee. Our Italian improved dramatically, thanks to this experience. Set in the wonderful walled city of Montepulciano perched on the top of a hill, adds to the magic. The residents are welcoming to students and are more than happy to allow students to practice their Italian when having aperatifs or meals in the many restaurants. Altogether a wonderful experience in Tuscany!
A wonderful learning experience! I had always wanted to learn Italian, but had done little about it. Then my new wife suggested going to Italy to study and we chose Il Sasso as our language school. We could not have made a better choice. From the welcome meeting on Sunday evening, complete with local wine, salami and cheeses, to the farewell lunch at a traditional restaurant just up the road, we were made to feel part of the Il Sasso family. Everyone was friendly and helpful, particularly Heike, the administrator, who speaks several languages and seems to be able to sort out any problem with out fuss or fluster. But the best thing about Il Sasso is the teaching. The classes are small and everything is in Italian but the teachers are SO skilled at encouraging students to speak and to use the language they are learning. We studied grammar and vocabulary in the usual way, but also played lots of language games and had a lot of fun in our classes. We had lessons every morning had a manageable amount homework to do every day, and we thus both made great progress. Our fellow students were another plus. They were interesting and sociable, and we shared many lunches and dinners trying out our new language skills (even if we did slip back into English at times.) We now have sufficient confidence to join in conversations with the wonderful local Italian people and sometimes even make a contribution! We would love to go back and intend to do so.
Fantastico! I spent two great weeks learning Italian at Il Sasso in Montepulciano. From the minute the director evaluated my Italian Level to the classes with very dedicated teachers, it was a very special experience. I felt like I was living in a fairy tale village perched high over the Tuscan hillsides going with the Italian teacher to the fruit and meat market and hearing about and seeing the Rennaisance opera house. The school also arranged great trips to an organic farm and cooking lessons at the local winery. I can't wait to return and learn more of the language of Dante, Carravaggio and Roberto Bennini!
If you are looking for a great Italian language school in a stunning small town, then look no further than il Sasso language school in Montepulciano. I've enjoyed many visits to il Sasso over the past 9 years and recommended the school to a large number of friends, many, who like me, make it a regular pilgrimage. The staff and quality of teaching are second to none. The delightful Tuscan town of Montepulciano and its people very warm and welcoming - a great place to learn and practice Italian. Over the years, I've made many international friends through il Sasso and I look forward to my next visit.
Да, я теперь живу в Италии, уже второй год, в тосканском городке с жизненным названием Аквавива (Живая Вода), это совсем недалеко от Монтепульчано. Но, когда я приехала в Италию, то особых знаний итальянского у меня не было, вернее, они вообще отсутствовали. Так что, школа была идеальным решением для меня. Мене чем за месяц я достаточно многому научилась. Школа помогла мне не только начать говорить и понимать по-итальянски, но и адаптироваться на новом месте, разбираться в особенностях местной жизни, что немаловажно. Кроме того, у меня появилось много новых друзей, как среди преподавателей школы, так и среди учеников-иностранцев, с которыми мы теперь много общаемся (в интернете, посылаем друг другу открытки) и даже встречаемся, путешествуем вместе.
I had an amazing experience at Il Sasso! I came in with very little background knowledge of Italian, and I could hardly remember any vocabulary or grammar rules. After three months, I could hold conversations with native speakers, understand fluent Italian conversation for the most part, and could write well in Italian. Most importantly, I felt extremely comfortable with the language and was not nervous about talking to strangers after all the speaking practice I had at Il Sasso. I learned so much. The teachers were simply amazing! They know exactly what they are doing and provide meaningful (and helpful) lessons, interesting conversation topics, and supplement excellent practice work (in the book or they provide hard copies). The classes are kept small and are well-managed. I met the most interesting people from all over the world and that was an enjoyable added bonus. The school is small, but every single staff member is friendly, knowledgeable, and caring. It's located in a great part of town- close to cafes and shops. You will love every minute here! It was definitely money well spent! I plan to return on my next trip to Italy!
I returned to il Sasso during October 2013 for my second visit. The quality of the teaching, the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, and the charm of Montepulciano pulled me back for another top-notch week. My class was small, just three of us, and the teaching as always excellent. One thing I especially like is that the instructors gear their own language use and pace to that of the students, and take you just to the edge of the next level of understanding. I also really appreciated the conversations about everyday life, what we did after class, dialogues about our homes, discussions of food, shopping, etc. One of the highlights for me was the cooking class at Gattavecchi with Lillian. I participated in this class on my first visit and was hoping that it would be offered again. Sure enough, it was, and I participated with other students in a memorable night of cooking, eating, and drinking Gattavecchi wine. I highly recommend this extra activity. If you are seeking a peak Italian language experience, set in one of the quintessential Tuscan hill towns, look no further. Register at il Sasso today!
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 baci a tutti alla scuola! Mi mancate troppo!
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!!!