From the Author
We had the idea to go to Italy when working as junior doctors in London. We were spending long nights on-call in dimly lit wards and eating hospital food in airless canteens. It was enough to drive anyone pazzo (mad). We started to scheme our escape. We spoke to our Italian friends and patients about Italy, we cooked Italian food, we dreamt of olive trees, we saved and we tweaked our jobs. An Italian friend recommended Perugia and seemingly quite suddenly, we left.
While many were wondering where we were, we were speeding off in our Mini, first through France to Liguria and then to live in Perugia, Umbria. We rented a tiny monolocale (flat) in the heart of the old town (in the base of a 14th century tower) and signed up at the Universita per Stranieri. In the mornings we learnt Italian with views of the Umbrian hills and Assisi. In the afternoons we sipped espressi on the Corso Vanucci, pondered over our compiti (homework) and went home to cook.
It was the best year of our lives. Learning Italian in Italy was fun, easy, inspiring and exciting. We spent the year travelling around the country, meeting interesting people, eating fabulous food and learning how to speak Italian (neither of us spoke a word of it before our trip).
Good, independent information about language courses was difficult to find. The language course websites all looked the same. The booking agencies were overpriced and biased. During the year we set out to compile the ultimate, independent guidebook to the best places in Italy to study Italian. We drove 18,000 miles in our car and visited hundreds of language schools and universities in every region of the country (we visited 24 schools in Florence alone!). We found that the quality of the brochures and internet sites bore no relation to the quality of the schools. We only included the best courses for the book: schools that were offering something special. Many of these would have been impossible to find out about in the UK without a very good grasp of Italian.
We have also included chapters on how to choose a course, how to plan the trip and budgeting . It is the book we would have liked to have had before our trip.
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About the Author
Simon and Louise Read are London based doctors. Last year they escaped the NHS in a Mini for a years sabbatical in Italy where they learned Italian from scratch at the University for Foreigners in Perugia. During the year they travelled 18,000 miles in their Mini in search of the best language schools and universities for foreigners in the country. They fell in love with the country, people, food and language. The result is this comprehensive, fun, independent guide to the ultimate places to study Italian in Italy.