Dates of upcoming program
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This weeklong immersion program in the Italian language and culture is set in the heart of this ancient town founded by the Greeks nearly 2500 years ago, the exciting and vibrant city of Naples! Today’s Naples’ art museums, architecture, musical events, and philosophical studies draw travelers, scholars, and students from all countries of the world. You will discover the multiple layers of civilizations that have contributed to the immense cultural wealth of Naples, while studying at your own level the Italian language daily, at the Centro Italiano. Cooking lessons, walking tours, wine tasting parties, strolls through museums and historical sites, are a few of the many activities we have designed to make this experience the most rewarding learning vacation you’ve ever had! An introduction to the Italian language prior to this trip is a prerequisite.
Location & Accommodations
Favored by a mild climate and natural surroundings of extraordinary beauty, the Province of Naples, although relatively small, is notably fractured and complex both from a geographical and cultural point of view. Spreading out in the form of an amphitheater along the coastline of a gulf bearing its name and framed by the heights of the Campi Flegrei, by Vesuvius and Mount Faito, whose extreme offshoots extend to the splendid and indented Sorrento peninsula, the Province of Naples sparkles with gem-like places. Among these jewels are the island of Capri, the Vesuvius area, the Capodimonte hills and, finally, enchanting destinations with a wealth of history, such as Pompeii and Sorrento, Castellammare di Stabia, Pozzuoli, Baia, Cuma and Nola. Then, of course, there is Naples, capital of the region, administrative heart of Campania and cultural center of the first order, boasting an extraordinarily rich and stratified artistic and architectural heritage. Built in 450 B.C. by the Greeks, Napoli (Nea-polis – “New City”) has since been under many cultural influences evident today through its architecture.
Manyhave described Naples as a theater where the curtain does not come down after Act One… Naples will afford you a continuous flow of animated street scenes that will teach you much about the hand and body language of Neapolitans and their way of life. If Naples, like every other large city, has a few less-than-picturesque neighborhoods, the entire city, and most particularly its historic center, underwent extensive restorations throughout the 1990’s, making today’s Naples one of the most interesting locations Italy has to offer. Our three-star hotel offering private baths and internet access in each room is located in the historical center of Naples, surrounded by the most important and fascinating monuments of the city, and several streets away from the Centro Italiano’s classrooms, near most means of public transportation. From dawn to midnight, the surrounding cobblestone streets are alive with the vibrant, larger-than-life characters we all first encountered in the films of local movie star Sophia Loren. A stones-throw away stand erect Baroque churches, a world-class Royal Palace, two massive fortresses and a pair of superb museums, all of which we will have the opportunity to see, while meeting the wonderful people who call Naples home. And if you ask the locals what makes Naples special, you might hear about Pizza, Spaghetti, or Mozzarella di Buffala, unless you are drawn into an animated discussion about the local soccer game…“Vedi Napoli e poi mori”
Your time in Italy will be divided between language classes and exploring the cultural treasures of Naples. During your stay, you will not be passive tourists: rather, you will educate yourself as you participate in activities designed to encourage interaction with the locals. All in all it will be a high-energy week… Tutto in italiano!
Saturday You arrive at last in Bella Napoli. We will begin our program in the late afternoon with a short introduction to the city of Naples and a walking tour to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings. Dinner in a delightful restaurant will be strictly a Neapolitan fare–pasta, pesce o frutti di mare, verdura, pane e vino!
Sunday Andiamo a Capri! By hydrofoil we will go to the island of Capri where we will hike through farms and vineyards up to the Villa Jovis, home of controversial Roman Emperor, Tiberius. After refreshments we will walk down to the Faraglioni rocks which symbolize the island, and savor lunch on the beach at Luigi’s. A small boat will take us to Marina Piccola en route to La Piazzetta, Capri’s delightful square, where the rich and famous gather for shopping, caffè, and, most importantly, people-watching! You will be on your own for dinner upon returning to Naples.
Monday After breakfast, everyone is off to school! Our intensive course begins at 9 o’clock at the Centro Italiano. Following a placement test, you and your fellow students from around the world will attend classes, including an hour devoted to a learning walking tour. Lunch is on your own. In the afternoon, you may choose to enjoy a riposito or explore the city until it is time to take the cable car up the Vomero hill where you will be treated to a cooking lesson and dinner at the home of an Italian family!
Tuesday Back to school at 9:00. We will then gather for a Panino and head to the most important archeological museums in the world,Museo Archeologico Nazionale. With our Neapolitan guide, you will discover exquisite treasures and every day objects found in the excavations at Pompeii and other nearby towns buried by the Vesuvius in 79 A.D. In the late afternoon we will dicuss the Neapolitan nativity scenes, an important art form of the 18th century. A dinner made of authentic Neapolitan specialties will close this evening.
Wednesday Scuola, lunch on your own, free time. At 5:00 pm, you will enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful Piazza Plebiscito, a square once jammed with parked cars and finally cleared in the early 1990’s. Today, it is the symbol of Naples where you will find continuous activities. We will also visit Castel dell’Ovo, tied to the very early Greek settlements. Tonight… Pizza traditionally prepared in a wood-fired hive oven in one of Naples’ best Pizzerie.
Thursday Scuola, express lunch with the group (arancini di riso? Panzerotti? Frullato di frutta fresca?) followed by a guided visit of the Pallazzo Reale, home to the viceroys and kings of Naples for centuries. An afternoon class on Neapolitan holiday desserts will be followed by a visit to a pastry shop and bakery where we will sample various cakes, accompanied by Limoncello. You are on your own for dinner this evening… if you still have room!
Friday Last day of school! Lunch on your own and free time (shopping for souvenirs?) until 6:00pm when we are expected at our Italian family for a second cooking lesson and dinner.
Saturday En route to a tour of the Sorrentine Peninsula, we will first stop in Pompeii for a guided tour by our personal guide. Lunch will be deep in the country in a delightful Agriturismo (farm/B&B restaurant) and we will return to Naples for a Cena d’Addio in a fabulous restaurant overlooking the Naples Bay.
Sunday Our departure day.
Faculty and Staff
Italian Instructor: TBA
Coordinator: Valérie Guillet
Valérie has been running immersion programs since 1995. She was born in France of a French father and Italian mother. She grew up in the French part of the Alps and lived there until 1986 when she started college at the Université Lyon III. She holds a master’s degree in business and languages from that university and a master’s degree from the Department of Education of SUNY Binghamton, in social sciences and translation. She moved to Maine in 1991 and soon after founded The Language Exchange. On this trip, she will be an observer and participant, ensuring that all her students are getting the most out of their experience.