I have just returned from 8 wonderful weeks at Il Sasso – definitely 2 of the best months of my life! I chose this school because of all the glowing reviews, and also because I wanted to go to a small town rather than a city. I felt that I would be less likely to be spoken back to in English in a small town where everyone knows the school, and what people had said about the locals encouraging you to practise really appealed to me. I hoped I would feel comfortable more quickly in a small place, and I definitely did! To begin with I must mention Heike, the secretary at the school. She answered my very first email, sent months before I arrived, quickly and efficiently. And that was the same with each and every email I sent thereafter (and I sent a lot of emails!!). She gave me all the information I could possibly need, and really put my mind at ease. I was travelling alone for the first time and was nervous, so that was great. And when I got to the school she was just as wonderful; always efficient, and always incredibly friendly and supportive. She's the absolute perfect person for the job, and I'll really miss her! Secondly, the teachers. I was lucky enough to have Sara for the full 8 weeks, which I was thrilled about, but I also had Silvia, Costanza, Roberta and Alberto, all of whom are completely amazing and massively warm and friendly, and always smiling! They get everyone in class talking, but at no point does that make you feel stressed or uncomfortable. The class sizes are small, which helps, but the teachers are so patient and encouraging. Your confidence really grows each time they utter a "brava!" or "perfetto!" after something you have said! It's quite a terrifying thought as a beginner wondering how on earth it can be possible to understand the teachers when they speak in Italian. But it's fine! They talk quite slowly and use many actions; they have so much energy! At the end of every morning you go away amazed at how much you have learned in 4 hours! I ...
My wife and I attended Il Sasso for 4 weeks during May. We had a wonderful time learning Italian in a friendly and happy atmosphere. It had been a long time since we had been in formal education and we were thus a little apprehensive but we needn't have been. At no time were we made to feel that our basic skills were inadequate. We received excellent tuition from numerous tutors who were real enthusiasts. After the 4 weeks at the School we both felt that we had come a long way from being 'struggling tourists' to being able to understand what was going on. We intend to return in 2014. In addition to the language training the tutors were also delighted to share their knowledge of the local area giving us both an opportunity to explore the region. It would be remiss if I did not mention the first class administrative support we received from Heike who retained her sense of humour notwithstanding the ceaseless barrage of questions and queries received from the students.
Svært dykitige lærere! Hyggelige og imøtekommende personale! Fleksibilitet og engasjement! Undervisning og aktiviteter på skolen og i den flotte byen Montepulciano. Veldig kjekt og lærerikt.
I can only add on to the long line of students who have frequented and praised this school, but it is just such a good, unique school that praise it I must. I had been looking at schools for months, and had the intention of going further south, but this school kept coming up on my short-lists. I realised that it was not only one of the best in italy, but all the criteria I had fitted this school perfectly, and now having left Il Sasso I can certainly confirm that my experience could not have been more rewarding. The most important part of chosing a school is finding one that is recognised by professionals and appreciated by previous students. The quality of the teachers, and how they teach, will mean that your schooling is successful or not. At Il Sasso the teachers are undoubtedly extremely knowledgeable in communicating with foreign students, and this helps immensely when you arrive not speaking a word of their language. I was blessed with a fantastic teacher, Costanza, for 5 weeks, four of which I was alone in class. She is amazing, she speaks and explains clearly, she remembers things about your life outside of school, she encourages all sorts of questions, and when you feel you are getting to a difficult part, she motivates you and takes it at your speed. She couldn't do her job better than she does it already. she is the one who enabled me today to have a 30minute conversation in italian, when 5 weeks ago I couldn't say a single phrase! Amazing! However, don't dispair if you are given another teacher, I heard nothing but good of the others, and they are not only excellent teachers, but the sort of women you'd want as a sister or 'best friend', genuine people who only want the best for you. The organisation of a school, homestay and the day to day life of a foreigner in a town like montepulciano, only runs smoothly when you have a person like Heike in control. I had no problems during my five weeks, but she is the one who made my life easier behind the scene...
A dream it was, and a dream it is ... as it was only just the beginning of very fond memories that just keep flooding in. What can I say, that has not been said, for Il Sasso is a dream that you never want to end. From the first point of contact, to the very end, Il Sasso ensured all my needs were met. From Heike, Silvia, Sara and all the school, you will not find another that is such a jewel. They tick every box, and that is quite rare, because this school really does care. It took me a while to figure out which school I wanted to go, as I only had a week to give it a go. There was no doubts to have after my first point of call, as Heike was always there to answer my calls. If it wasn't for her, I'm not sure where I would have gone, as she makes your stay easy, with all that she does. And when I had an emergency, she knew how to respond, for this is what she does, she goes above and beyond. To add to my fortune of an unbelievable stay, Silvia and Sara were my teachers that blew me away. They had their own style, and I was totally amazed, as how much I learned within a day. And from what I can see, and from what everyone has said, this school is the best ... enough said. And then there was the accomodation, to add to the experience, with views to die during my tuscan experience. Politian is the name on everyone's tongue, as Giacomo and Maria just did so much. From my endless questions to the emergency one night, there is no doubt about it, they are one of a kind. So let me just say, after all I have said, it's only when you trial another and realise this school knocks them for dead. From their professionalism, ambedience, style and caring nature, your mind will not wonder when filling out another application. Because I just can't wait for my next adventure ...
Due to a recent job layoff, I was blessed with the rare opportunity to take 6 weeks off and study Italian in Tuscany. I chose Il Sasso due to the many glowing reviews here on Trip Advisor and now it's my turn to add one more. First, I must preface my review by saying that my situation was a bit different from most students in that I attended the school during a slow time of the year and after my first week there were not enough students at my level to have the normal 4 hours of group instruction, so I was switched to 2 hours of private instruction. This turned out to be ideal for me and I'm very glad Il Sasso offers this as an option! The teachers are excellent (I had Patrizia, Costanza and Sara) and the instruction is top notch! They really gear the lessons to your language level and interest. It may sound a little daunting to hear that all of the lessons are conducted in Italian, but it really is the best way to learn and you'll be surprised by how much you actually understand. My accommodation was a lovely little apartment within a minute walking distance (uphill!) to the school. It was small and cozy and really made me feel like I was part of the town and not just a visitor. Of course I can't forget the school's secretary Heike. She was of immense help both before and after my arrival in Montepulciano doing everything from arranging my housing to helping me make an appointment with the doctor when I got a nasty spider bite. The only thing I regret about my stay in Montepulciano (aside from the fact that I had to leave!) is that I went so late in the year. I was there from Nov 11 to Dec 22 and there were very few students. I think my experience would have been more enjoyable if I could have shared it with more people. Montepulciano is a beautiful town, but as a previous reviewer stated, be sure to bring comfortable shoes and get ready to walk some hills!
I chose to go to a language immersion school by myself in the heart of Tuscany. I was pretty nervous making my way to Montepulciano not really knowing what to expect given I did not know any Italian (except a few words here and there I could remember from studying 20 years ago in school). The teachers and staff at Il Sasso were wonderful. I couldn't figure out how they would keep to only speaking Italian to a beginner like me and still be effective. But it worked really well and I learned a great deal. I had several teachers because I was there for 6 weeks but Cinzia and Sara were my core instructors and they are remarkable. Using stories, role-playing, real life examples, humor, pictures and lots of practice they fostered a fun and very effective learning environment. In addition, Heike, Alberto, Patrizia, Silvia and others were very attentive and organized outside the classroom. The apartments were close and comfortable and the actitivites after class were fun and informational. Montepulciano is beautiful and offers a relaxing environment to learn in - everyone in town knows the school well and is supportive that you are learning to speak Italian. Bring comfortable shoes to walk the hills as there are plenty of them!
I have been to Il Sasso numerous times. Thanks to the teachers there, I am able to converse with Italians, read the paper and even make telephone reservations. My first time there, alone, as a beginner, I was extremely nervous. Within a week, I felt comfortable and at home. The school is well orgnanized, the apartments charming and the cultural acitivities fascinating. What I love about the school is the diversity and maturity of the students. I have meant people from all over the world that I am still in touch with. The greatest reward of all is when an Italian says "parla Italiano molto bene".
Helen & Ira (USA)
We spent a week studying at Il Sasso. My husband and I have gone to other language schools during our many Italian trips. Il Sasso is by far the best. The quality of the instruction is very high - the teachers are skilled at weaving the class into a working whole, with everyone participating and enjoying the learning. Yes, there is homework every night, too, but not too much. The town is lovely even though there is not one flat street in the entire place (so plan accordingly for your shoes - my husband almost skateboarded around a corner before he changed out of leather-soled shoes). Some excellent restaurants, and within easy reach of many other lovely places to visit.
Great teachers, private lessons are great as they will focus them on your particular level and needs.