Italian Language Lesson 5: Beautiful Art and Architecture

| Fri, 08/24/2012 - 08:50

I studied Italian at school and at university and lived in Rome for nearly 5 years. I have started up an Italian school and have been considering some interesting ways to teach the Italian language. I listed the top 5 things I love about Italy and came up with:

1) Amazing food
2) Stunning landscape
3) Romantic language
4) Friendly people
5) Beautiful art and architecture

So I thought - what about teaching Italian through love and awareness of these wonderful aspects of Italy? Italy is famous for the impressive art and architecture it houses, see some of the most widely-known:

Arte (Art)
Extensive art in La Galleria degli Uffizi in beautiful Firenze and I Musei Vaticani in the eternal city of Rome.

Monumenti (Monuments)

Roma, for example, is also home to monuments like la Fontana di Trevi, il Colosseo, La Basilica di San Pietro and il Panteon. All Italian cities have impressive chiese (churches) or cattedrali (cathedrals) as well as stunning ponti (bridges).

Fontana di Trevi

Archeological sites range from the partially buried Roman town of Pompeii to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicilia.

Apparently more than half of the world’s Unesco-protected monuments are in Italy. The number of archaeological sites runs to hundreds, and there are over 3,000 museums nationwide.

Vocabulary to describe the art and architecture we can see in Italy:

Il museo - museum
La chiesa - church
La cattedrale - cathedrals
Il campanile - bell tower
La statua - statue
La scultura - sculpture
Il quadro - picture / painting
Il palazzo - palace / building

In order to visit the museums, galleries and monuments of Italy, we need to be able to ask and understand directions such as:

Dov’è... - Where is..?
Quanto tempo ci vuole per arrivare a .. - How long does it take to get to ...?
Mi indica sulla carta, per favore - Show me on the map, please
Sempre dritto - straight ahead
A destra - on the right
A sinistra - on the left

When we make it there, we can use adjectives to describe what we see, for example:

Mi piace - I like it

Sono stupito / a - I’m impressed

È bello / fantastico - It’s beautiful / fantastic

That's all for now, buon viaggio (have a good trip)!

Alesha Keene is an Oxford graduate of Italian who is now back in London after years spent living and working in Rome as a language teacher and PR consultant. Alesha is CEO and Italian teacher at Alesha’s Italian Masterclass, which runs Italian immersion courses at authentic Italian cafe AltaMarea in Borough Market (London Bridge). You can contact her at or through Facebook or Twitter. Her website it