Tonight I have the pleasure of welcoming a guest post from a great Italian language learning blogger, Melissa of Studentessa Matta. Melissa runs some amazing Italian immersion holiday programs in il bel paese. I’m hoping to be able to drop in on one sometime soon! Buona lettura, happy reading.
Crazy in love with the Italian language!
Ciao amici! If you are here following Sarah’s blog, that means you are a fan of Italy and the Italian language. “Anch’io!” Me too! Although I don’t have a drop of Italian blood and didn’t grow up in a great big Italian family where my aunts, uncles and grandparents spoke Italian and served up heaping bowls of pasta on Sundays, that hasn’t stopped me from adopting Italy and her language as my own! In college I studied Art History in Florence because I wanted to learn abut Renaissance paintings and gaze adoringly at original works by Donatello and Michelangelo. I fully intended to explore every nook and cranny of the Uffizi gallery and climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s Duomo. I was also determined to spend long hours on Sunday afternoons sitting on the banks of the Arno River sketching views of the Ponte Vecchio. What I didn’t expect to do was to fall head over heels in love with Italy, let alone the Italian language.
Italy casts spells and weaves magic over unsuspecting travelers! I am well aware, because when I returned home from Italy I felt a tremendous void inside of me. I began to realize that I missed the Renaissance palaces embellished with colorful frescos, the silky smooth marble statues that stand proudly in front of public buildings, the crenulated medieval towers that rise high into a piercing blue skies, the sun drenched ruby red tomatoes that drip with sweet juices, the church bells that sonorously clang and vespas that ferociously whirrrrrr, like the hornets that they are named after.
In Italian they would say “mi mancava l’Italia” or Italy was lacking to me. To remedy this “nostalgia”, or this “lack of Italy”, I started casting about for ways in which I could renew my ties to il Bel Paese. Due to family responsibilities and work obligations, packing a suitcase and running off to Italy just wasn’t an option. Then it came to me! If I couldn’t return to Italy, I would make Italy come to me. The only way I knew how to do this was to start learning the language at home. My decision to learn Italian filled me with energy and gave me purpose; instead of wistfully recalling past travel experiences, it gave me something actionable to focus my energy on and it gave me goals for the future.
Over the past sixteen years I have discovered many wonderful tools to learn the Italian language and my language skills have progressed to the point where I now write a blog in Italian called “Studentessa Matta”. I chose the name “matta” or “crazy student” for a blog title, because I wanted to convey the idea that anything is possible if you go a little crazy and let go of inhibitions. In so doing, you are freer to take risks and achieve things you never thought possible. Life is an adventure and nothing can stop you, as long as the desire to fly is stronger than the fear of falling.
Through my efforts to learn the language, I found my way back to Italy. I now travel there frequently and all those empty spaces inside of me that were “lacking Italy” have been completely filled. Now I have so much Italy inside of me that I am full to overflowing and sharing it with the world! It is now my great pleasure to collaborate with partners in Italy to arrange small group language immersions for those who want to learn more about Italy and her culture from local Italians. We provide unique opportunities for small groups of language learners who want to practice their language skills in a relaxed and friendly environment.
June 26 – July 4th I will be co-leading a trip to Le Marche and Urbino with my partner Nadia Sparapani & Luisa Donati. We will be combining Italian language lessons with daily excursions to explore le Marche with native guides. We will live in a renaissance palazzo in the little town of Mercatello su Metauro. We will have daily Italian lessons, as well as cooking lessons, taste local wines and cheeses, learn to paint ceramics and even be entertained by a local madrigal group.
June 5th – 15th I will be co-leading a trip to Rome with Kelly Medford, an American artist who lives in Rome. We will be combining language lessons at Scud’It and Italian school near the colosseum with painting and drawing lessons in the parks of Rome with Kelly as our teacher. Evenings will be spent as the Romans due, attending open air cinema on the island of Tiburtina and dancing under the stars in Trastevere. Roman friends will also be stopping by to participate furthering our conversation practice.
September 11 – 25th I will be co-leading a trip to Lucca with the teachers of Lucca Italian School. We will spend morning learning Italian at the school and in the afternoons with the teachers as our guides we will explore Tuscany and the cinque terre. We will have cooking lessons and wine tastings, movie nights, and best of all… biking on Lucca’s famous wall!
I hope that you throw away your inhibitions and dive deeper into learning Italian language too! Perhaps I will even have the pleasure of your company next year and we can go a little “matta” in Italy together! A presto!
Please visit the Matta web site for more information about Italian language trips and Italian Home Language Stays. Also be sure to check out the language learning tips under the tab “Ways to improve your Italian” for new ways and resources to jump start your Italian language learning motors. http://www.studentessamatta.com/