Italian language and culture

Italian culture courses

Our Italian culture courses are in-depth studies on different aspects of Italian culture and have Sicily and its importance in the Italian cultural scene as their main focus.

Who are the culture courses aimed at?

The study of the Italian language naturally goes with an interest in Italian culture. In these courses, the focus is not on linguistic aspects but on cultural content.

As the courses are taught in Italian and the content and materials used require a good understanding of written and spoken Italian, we recommend that you have a B1 language proficiency level.

What culture courses do you offer?

The culture courses we offer are:

  • History and Art History in Sicily
  • Cinema and Literature in Sicily
  • The Mafia and Cinema in Sicily

How long do the culture courses last and how are they structured?

Our Italian culture courses last for 2 weeks and there are 2 lessons per day from Monday to Friday. We recommend that you have a B1 level of Italian to take these courses.

What does the History and Art History in Sicily course cover?

Sicily has always been the focus of attention of the most important civilizations and major dynasties in the Mediterranean because of its central location. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, French (Angevins), Spanish (Aragonese) and even Austrians (although only for 11 years) have been to the island. Therefore, studying the history of Sicily is like studying the history of the whole Mediterranean!

As a result of this history, every civilization and dynasty that conquered, ruled and governed Sicily in the past has left its mark in various different ways. They left traces of their stays in the architecture, monuments and art of the island. Sicily was the world’s first true melting pot in terms of the presence and coexistence of different people, cultures and religions all in the same place. It was also the first artistic melting pot as shown by no less than 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

What does the Cinema and Literature in Sicily course cover?

The relationship between Literature and Cinema in Sicily is a long and flourishing love affair of films that have characterized the Italian cinema. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMBD) website, there are more than two thousand titles shot in Sicily (including inspired by the literary works of prolific Sicilian writers). Excluding Lazio, which includes Rome and thus Cinecittà, Sicily is the Italian region where the most films have been shot in Italy.

Just think of films such as Ugo Falena’s Cavalleria rusticana (1916), from Giovanni Verga’s novel of the same name, or Giuseppe Sterni’s Storia di una capinera (1917) or Franco Zeffirelli’s ‘Storia di una capinera’ (1994), also from a novel by Verga. Again from the famous Sicilian verist author, Luchino Visconti’s La terra trema (1948) and Alberto Lattuada’s La lupa (1953) were adapted.

Then it is worth mentioning the Risorgimento novels and subsequent films Il gattopardo by Luchino Visconti based on the novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and I Vicerè by Roberto Faenza (2007) based on the novel by Federico De Roberto

There are also the films based on the novels of Leonardo Sciascia: Il Giorno della Civetta by Damiano Damiani (1968) and Un caso di coscienza by Gianni Grimaldi (1970). The films based on Vitaliano Brancati’s novels are Bell’Antonio by Mauro Bolognini (1960), Don Giovanni in Sicilia by Alberto Lattuada (1967), Paolo il caldo by Marco Vicaro (1973) and Un bellissimo Novembre by Alberto Bolognini (1969) which was based on the novel by Ercole Patti.

Last but not least, we have to mention the TV series Il commissario Montalbano which was the brainchild of the Sicilian writer Andrea Camilleri. In short, Sicily has always been a natural setting for the cinema and a great source of inspiration for its writers.

What does the Mafia and Cinema in Sicily course cover?

The knowledge that the general public has about the Mafia is often taken from watching tv shows or films. Indeed, it is rare that a film succeeds in telling the story of the Mafia from a historical, anthropological, social and political perspective. Many films trivialize this topic, presenting it in a folkloristic way and conveying the idea and stereotype that Sicily equals the Mafia. The Mafia is a complex phenomenon that has to be studied carefully in order to understand its historical origins but also to charter its development into the cult that it has become today, particularly at an international economic level.

On this course we will analyze both factual information and misleading views on the Sicilian Mafia and how it is portrayed in films. We will explain this phenomenon that is so strong in the international collective imagination and so devastating for the image that Sicily projects of itself.

How much do the culture courses cost?

Culture courses cost

€ 900

2 weeks,
2 hours per day
from Monday to Friday

Enrich your cultural knowledge about Sicily by attending one of our culture courses. Apart from helping you to understand Sicily better, it will also be an effective way to broaden your Italian language skills. 

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