On Saturday the 1st of June we kicked off the 2019 summer season with our first course in Bellaria Igea Marina, an iconic seaside resort on the Adriatic coast in northern Italy.
I had an amazing time together with my students Bill and Hilda who were very pleased about their Italian experience! In this picture they are fighting with rolling pins in order to establish who is the best pasta chef during the pasta making lesson they attended!!
Bill and Hilda-having fun at the cookery course
Italian Tutor experience’s aim it’s not just learn Italian in Italy but indeed to get the students to discover other aspects of Italy, such as cookery, wine and art and above all get them to mingle with Italian people so that they can get constant feedback about their improvement from the locals: the best way to learn Italian
I kept a photographic diary of this amazing week of italian lessons and I would like to share it with you!
Bill and Hilda arrived in the evening and we had a welcome drink at the beautiful Agostini Hotel where they spent 7 nights with full board accommodation. Hilda liked a lot the Aperol Spritz, a cocktail which is very popular in Italy.
Gabriele (the teacher), Bill and Hilda (the students), Sabina (the head of logistics) and Fabrizio (hotel owner)
Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
Italian lessons in Italy. Such a privilege to teach in the patio of such a beautiful hotel just metres away from the beach and the sea! Here some pics:
Learn Italian while having sightseeing in Italy: the Ravenna experience. Visiting the tomb of the great Dante Alighieri, the first writer to use Italian language in a poem, is indeed an honour for an Italian teacher and his students!
Fans of the Italian language in front of the great Dante's tomb
Our guide took us as well through the attractions that make Ravenna unique in the world: the beautiful churches and its mosaics which are exquisite and decorate the inside of every single monuments: what looks like just a collection of tiny, bright tiles is in reality a vivid image of a sea voyage, an image of Jesus, or a choir of angels: I sometimes wonder how long each of these mosaics must have taken to create. What talent they had!
Learn Italian while having sightseeing in Italy: the cookery experience! Wednesday was definitely the most fun day. In the morning we headed to “La collina dei poeti, a beautiful winery just outside the charming town of Santarcangelo di Romagna, about 20 minutes taxi drive from Bellaria Igea Marina.
Bill and Hilda around the vineyard
After a walk through the estate which is characterized by vineyards and old trees, cypresses, chestnuts, silver pines and mulberry trees scattered everywhere we had a pasta lesson inside the farmhouse. Thanks to the patience of our pasta teachers who were constantly around to fix my mess (as you see from the video) even I, the worst cook ever, managed to get my tagliatelle done from scratch!!!
Making pasta all together
After a toast with our lovely pasta teachers, we finally got to eat what we had produced and it was just amazing!!! A glass of Sangiovese wine from “La collina dei poeti” is a perfect match for tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce.
The tagliatelle we had made: awesome.
Oops… I forgot to mention that we made as well a lovely folded flatbreads called “cassoncini” filled with spinach wich we had with some local “formaggio and salumi” (cheese and cured meat)!!!
We ended our meal with some traditional “ciambella romagnola” together with some “passito” wine (a sweet one).
The cookery experience was an Italian lesson itself: quite a lot of Italian worlds that came up during this experience: names of cookery tools, exclamations, colloquialisms…
After such a big meal, we thought a walk would help with digestion so we went for our guided visit in Santarcangelo di Romagna. Our young guide was extremely knowledgeable and took us from the amazing Piazza Ganganelli to the top of the colle Giove (the Jupiter hill) where around 1000 years ago, an imposing stronghold later called “Rocca Malatestiana”, was constructed and became the town’s hub.
Santarcangelo di Romagna
The most amazing thing we got to see in Santarcangelo are the caves, though. The all town is built on a hidden and mysterious world made of tunnels, shafts, and impressive circular halls. In the east part of the hill, are 150 caves. Many of which were used as cellars for storing wine. Five of them are thought to be much older, perhaps created as a place of worship. We were guided through the underground maze and told ancient legends and exciting stories.
The cherry on the cake of the day was the visit to the most ancient shop in Santarcangelo: “Stamperia Marchi” which was founded in 1633. Since then the old mangle (“Mangano” in Italian, actually an invention of the great Leonardo da Vinci) has always been working. It is an old press, which is unique for its size and weight and it is used to press, smooth and stretch the fabric. The workshop has been handed down from father to son for nearly 400 years. The Marchi family preserves the traditional art of hand printing on fabric using natural and mineral colours. In the workshop there are thousands of old wooden moulds used to print different drawings on table clothes, napkins, towels, bibs…which are sold in the shop above the workshop. The Marchis were so kind to show us the operation of the mangle. Have a look at this video. It’s just amazing. Apologies for the subtitles in Chinese but I could not find anything in English and filming it’s not allowed in the workshop. By the way images say everything.
Friday we left Italy and we went abroad! You may have heard of a place called San Marino which is actually a totally independent Italian speaking republic, surrounded by Italy and it’s 35 minutes taxi drive from Bellaria Igea Marina!! Here Bill and Hilda are in front of the beautiful “Palazzo Pubblico”, the parliament palace! And again inside the San Marino Basilica, devoted to Marino who arrived from modern-day Croatia in 257 A.D on Mount Titano.
Bill and Hilda in the San Marino Basilica
Bill and Hilda in front of the public Palace
Marino, later made a saint, decided to move to Mount Titano after working for a period in nearby Rimini as a stonecutter. Marino lived there, surrounded by people attracted by his charisma, until his death in 301 A.D. The legend says he received Mount Titano as a gift from the legitimate owner, in favour of whom he had performed a miracle and subsequently he left it to those who had lived around him. Hence the mythical foundation of the Republic, which, still today, coincides with San Marino’s death year.
The old-town centre is located on the top of Mount Titano, 750 m above sea level; mighty medieval stone walls enclose the original settlement, which is likewise entirely built of stone and closed to traffic. The old-town centre is criss-crossed by narrow streets lined with buildings and monuments. From there you can get amazing views. Here some of the e pics of the day.
San Marinos walls
Our tour guide
View of the fortress
Back in Italy, we had a good bye drink at the hotel. Hilda and Bill left early on Saturday morning! A big thank you to them and to my friend Sabina, the head of the local tour operator who made this amazing week possible!
On Saturday the 9th of April we kicked off the 2022 summer season. I had an amazing time together with my students Jeremy and Bev who were very pleased about their Italian experience in Bellaria Igea Marina!
Two weeks ago we kicked off the first course of season 2023 in Bologna, my hometown, the beautiful capital of Emilia-Romagna. I had an amazing time together with my student Crispin and his wife Christine. Crispin has been my student for a very long time.
The last week of September we kicked off another course in Bologna, my hometown, the beautiful capital of Emilia-Romagna. I had an amazing time together with my students Dave and Diane who have been my students for a very long time.
I am a 44 years old certified Italian teacher with a degree in politics and a PhD in modern history.