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Learn Italian Through Culture

By Joseph, published on 12/10/2017 Blog > Languages > Italian > The Best way to Learn Italian

Have you ever dreamt of learning Italian? Italy is home to some of the most fascinating culture in the world.

If you can’t physically go to Italy, why not head there in spirit by learning about the language and culture?

A quality private tutor will help you to fall in love with the country and its many treasures by teaching you the language spoken there. They’ll also teach you about Italian culture, too…

Why Learn the Lingua Italiana?

It’s a beautiful bewitching language…

It’s the language of beautiful people, famous Italian painters, writers, composers, and amazing actors, for one. It conjures notions of sunshine, Mediterranean beaches, craggy mountains, and warm friendly people.

Italian is the main official language of Italy and San Marino, as well as being spoken in the Vatican (after Latin, the main official language), parts of Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, and Brazil. At the moment, people are choosing to learn Italian for personal reasons rather than professional ones.

In fact, it’s never been easier to get Italian tutorials. Though some academic establishments do offer Italian classes, they’re not very common in the UK because there’s not enough mainstream demand for learning languages.

While there are some place where you can learn Italian in a class, private tutorials are more flexible since private tutors can be found up and down the country and even in rural areas.

Getting a private tutor is a much better idea than sitting in a dark corner of your house with an Italian dictionary, after all.

Private Italian Tutorials

At-home private tutorials are perfect for keeping you motivated. Revising Italian grammar can demotivate you if you do it on your own.

Unfortunately, you need to know it.

While speaking Italian might seem easier, mastering writing is almost impossible if you haven’t mastered the fundamentals. However, learning to speak while having fun is also really important.

In a group, the teacher, native or otherwise, needs to work with a variety of different levels. In private tutorials, they can personalise their lessons to their students by working with their strengths and weaknesses. In a private tutorial, you won’t waste time going back over things you already know off by heart. Instead, you’ll focus on the things you’re struggling with in order to make sure you master every aspect of a topic.

There’s nothing better than an enriching speaking class, mastering pronunciation, and understanding everything you’ve studied.

How much are private Italian tutorials? Reading is a great way to learn Italian. (Source: negativespace.co)

Additionally, Italian cinema from the last century is wonderful and a great way for you to hear the different Italian accents and how they’re pronounced. This is a great way to continue learning Italian while you’re relaxing. However, make sure you actively watch films when you’re learning a language. You can’t just put a film on in the background whilst browsing Facebook or Twitter and expect to become fluent in Italian.

Your tutor can easily give you a conversation class to help you practise speaking while enjoying Italian culture. These classes could include everyday language and help you learn more about the culture. If you’d like to learn more about history, you can! In fact, that’s the beauty of languages, once you get to a certain level, you can talk about anything that interests you.

Knowing more about a civilisation can also help you fall in love with it and develop an affinity with the language.

Things You Should Know About Italian Culture

The first thing you should know about modern Italian is that it is a direct descendent of literary Florentine (a subdialect of Tuscan) from the Trecento when it was made an official national language.

While Italy might seem geographically homogeneous (most of the peninsula is taken up by the Apennines, after all), since after the Roman Empire, the country was politically divided until the 19th century.

The Risorgimento (or Italian unification) brought the various political groups of Italy together. Italian unification was led by the House of Savoy which ruled over Piedmont and Sardinia.

Once the Austrians were driven from the north of the country, Lombardy and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany were annexed and Florence became the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy. Then the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and Venice joined and Rome was taken in 1870.

Which are the best cities for learning Italian? Did you know that the margherita pizza is supposed to have been based on the Italian flag. (Source: pixabay.com)

Despite a huge variety of dialects, Florentine seemed the natural choice thanks to the works of various poets from the Middle Age such as Dante and Petrarch. Furthermore, Alessandro Manzoni’s 1827 novel “The Betrothed”, which was written in Italian, was hugely successful.

The region had been brought together by a common history (the Roman Empire), a shared religion (Catholicism), and a number of shared traditions (including the Mediterranean diet).

If you’d like to learn more about Italian culture, you should also check out our famous Italians.

Cultural Riches

Italian culture is very rich. In fact, it has excelled over the years a huge variety of different fields including: art, literature, science, and cuisine. Italian culture was home to the Renaissance, the Quattrocento, the Baroque period, to name a few.

In terms of the Republic of Letters, Dante is arguably the most important name. However, we should also mention Ariosto, Boccaccio, as well as more recent names such as Lampedusa, d’Annunzio, Eco, Buzzati, and Moravia.

Architecture in Italy is also very rich and can vary from city to city: from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to Parma’s pastels, Naple’s yellows, and Ravenna’s reds. Venetian mansions replaced Roman villas, loggias, and towers.

Italian food is so much more than spaghetti and macaroni. It’s so widespread that in certain parts of the UK, it’s easier to find an Italian restaurant than a British one. Italy has also been the world’s largest wine producer certain years.

You’ll not be disappointed by the restaurants in Bologna, Ferrara, or Mantua…

Sculpture, art inherited from the Antiquity, and Michelangelo

This Italian painter is probably one of the most popular in Europe. There are so many schools, paintings, frescos, and canvasses. Fra Angelico, Leonardo da Vinci (Was he one of our 5 favourite Italian artists?), Boticelli, and Titian are only a few Italian artists worth mentioning. Mannerism, chiaroscuro, Caravaggism, to name just a few, are all from Italy.

Which are the best websites for learning Italian online? Italy is pretty famous when it comes to painters. Source: Daian Gan)

Theatre should also get a mention thanks to names like Goldoni and Pirandello. In fact, theatre in Italy has been popular for centuries.

We can hardly leave out music, can we? In Italy, opera rules supreme.

Baroque music was also born in Italy and includes famous names such as Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Palestrina, Cimarosa, and Scarlatti. It didn’t stop there, though. There was also Romanticism with Verdi, Bellini, Puccini, and Donizetti.

We should also mention Italian cinema! Composers such as Morricone and Rota, actors like Claudia Cardinale and Vittorio Gassman, and a whole heap of revolutionary directors: Rossellini, Fellini, Visconti, Antonioni, Pasolini, Sergio Leone and Benigni, for example.

Check out our must-see Italian films!

How Can Culture Boost Language?

Learning a language takes perseverance. Even more so if you want to speak it perfectly. Sometimes you have to do a number of boring exercises. Like we said earlier, when watching a film, you have to go back and watch one particular scene over and over.

When you’re reading, keep a notepad next to you so you can write down any vocabulary that you’re not sure of. When listening to music, you should read the lyrics and attempt to decipher them.

Don’t lose hope, though. You can make them more interesting with a dash of culture.

Just a simple exploration of the world of pasta will show you that “farfalle” actually means “butterflies”, for example. There is also plenty of specialised art vocabulary, too.

You’ll learn more about Italian places and history which is great if you want to spend some time in the country. There’s no better way to learn than immersion.

You’ll probably want to explore Apulia, Calabria, or Campania to try out everything you’ve learnt. Speaking with real people in your new language is such a rewarding experience that we really can’t recommend it enough.

You can also practise speaking the language even more! The best way to learn a language, after all, is wanting to learn the language.

How much does an Italian tutor cost? You needn’t stop once you’ve learnt Italian. Why not take up French, too? (Source: pixabay.com)

Once you get into the rhythm of your tutorials, certain things will become second nature to you. By this point, you’ll probably get a taste for languages and want to start learning another language like Portuguese, Spanish, or even Chinese!

If you enjoy learning the language and culture trips, Italy is the place to go. Whether a romantic getaway on a Venetian gondola, a historical trip to Rome, or a genuine Neapolitan pizza, Italy has it all!

Why not study Italian there? You could also teach out there since there are plenty of Italians who’d like to learn English!

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