This was my written review on the social media, facebook about Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci in Rome. It considerably sums up my immediate thoughts on the school as soon as I finished a 2-week intensive course on Elementary Italian or Elementare Italiano I & II in December 2016.
“The two weeks I spent on the intensive course was unforgettable. The teacher, Chiara was very friendly, extremely patient, sincerely caring, and was always on time & prepared for class. The other teachers who conducted the extra classes also showed similar positive traits. The staff worked very hard to conduct lessons professionally using the highly effective technique of full language immersion. The classes were engaging with the right amount of learning, fun & games related to the content. Free extra sessions on culture or grammar were provided by the school and the staff also organised language tandems. Now I look forward to return and continue my Italian-language studies with Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci when the opportunity permits me and I would recommend the school to anyone who wishes to learn Italian in Italy. Molto grazie.”
In class, the learning is only half of the experience. The other half would be meeting people from all walks of life. My classmates were from Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, USA (New York), England, Madagascar and Canada. Generally, their ages ranged from 18 to 30 somethings and their backgrounds from one who is in finance, a special ed teacher, an architect, an art student, a student of philosophy, a pianist and a couple of vocal opera students.
One could book accommodations through the school. However I preferred to look one of my own as I wanted to be close to the Vatican City for some odd reason, and a place closer to a Metro station for about €40 per night. The 1 bedroom room apartment was a delight because of its vicinity to the Metro station; and the Italian restaurants, coffee bars, convenient stores and laundry service around it. The caretaker, Mauro was a helpful gentleman and always obliging to my requests, not that I had much and I was an easy-going guest.
My routine on the two weekdays was to wake up at around 6.00 a.m. and after getting ready, I was out of the door by 6.45 a.m. to walk to a local coffee bar for a cappuccino and sometimes a cornetto if I had the time, then to the central bus stop off via Cipro. The bus was usually on time and arrived between 7.00 a.m. to 7.10 a.m. Normally, I would see the same friendly faces but we never talked but would just exchange smiles. The bus rides passing by Garibaldi and River Tiber were always fascinating as I remember admiring the facade of the Roman buildings and The Vatican City.
The Eternal City
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. As I was doing a lot of walking and desirably shedding calories, I felt no guilt when it came to indulging in a typical cucina italiana e cucina romana.
Sightseeing comes naturally and as Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci was a stone’s throw away from Piazza Navona, a 5 minute walk was all it needed to arrive to the square.
On other days I booked tours via Viator to visit The Vatican City, and The Colosseum. The reason for the tour to the former was that I wanted to see Pope Francis during one of his Wednesday’s Audience. This is how close I got to him:
But for most of Rome, one does not need a tour guide. Many a times I just took the Metro or buses and got myself lost. There is so much to discover and explore.
I basically googled Italian school in Rome, and it brought me to several websites and most school are recommended highly by their former students in the reviews but I eventually decided on Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci, because it was located quite central to many main attractions like Piazza Navona and The Pantheon. Booking was done via LanguageCourse.Net and I had corresponded mostly with their staff, Angela. The payments was done online prior to my arrival in Rome for a course fee of €378 for 2 weeks of intensive courses, €90 for 2 private lessons and€70 for an inscription fee. At the end of the course, you receive a certification that you completed the course. There is no exams for the elementary courses.