My Three-week Italian Language Learning Adventure
Following a tour of the Milazzo headquarters of Laboratorio Linguistico I went on a country excursion into the surrounding Nebrodi Mountains with my two Italian teachers Francesco and Franco. We visited the Rocks of Agrimusco, a cluster of mysterious-looking rocks on a high plateau with a gorgeous view of Mount Etna. Then we headed into the hilltop town of Montalbano Elicona, an authentic small Sicilian town, completely untouched by tourism. I finally had a chance to snap some pictures of the locals who love to congregate next to the church and discuss important issues of the day.
Village scene in Montalbano Elicona
My final day in Sicily had arrived – I had to say goodbye to the great team at Laboratorio Linguistico and board the bus towards Messina and from there to Catania from where I would catch a plane in the early morning the next day. After my arrival in the late afternoon I had a chance to briefly explore this city, the second-largest city in Sicily, and get ready for my flight home.
Baroque church in Catania
On this trip I found out that Sicily is gorgeous, and a visit in the late spring around April / May is perfect since everything is in full bloom and the hoards of tourists do not really arrive until June, July and August. Sicily has remained amazingly authentic and is fortunately free of many of the signs of mass tourism that mar other Mediterranean coastlines.
Coastal scene in Panarea
Taormina and the Eolian Islands are all stunning destinations, but the Sicilian hinterland in itself holds many hidden treasures. The history, architecture, culture and scenic beauty are astounding. And seafood lovers will definitely fall in love with this destination.
I myself really enjoyed the language learning experience at Babilonia and Laboratorio Linguistico – as a matter of fact, my three weeks in Italy took me all the way up to Intermediate level and when I came back I was quite capable of communicating fairly competently in this new language.
A Fiat Cinque Cento, in front of the Chiesa Vecchia di Quattropani (Lipari)
The people were great: the staff at both language schools was very helpful and knowledgeable, and the interaction with my co-students from all different countries was a real treat. Our crew on the sailboat in particular came together really nicely and some close personal bonds had developed after this experience.
Isola Bella, at the foot of Taormina
Without a doubt, language study travel is one of the best forms of travel in my opinion, giving you the chance to learn, to expand your mind, and to really discover the local culture. And without a doubt I’ll be back in Sicily – this fascinating island has so much more to explore.
Sicily in bloom