Fluency Classes in Cork

Fluency Classes

We talk a lot here during our Fluency classes… in Italian of course… ONLY in italiano!

When we study grammar rules in the grammar book they seem clear enough, but to implement them FLUENTLY in a real conversational context, is another story. This is why Fluency classes are so useful. Here some practical examples. When we go to buy some clothes we ask simple questions such as ‘how do I look?’ or ‘do I look OK?’ or ‘do I look smart?’. Trust me that if we translated these expressions into Italian… they wouldn’t make any sense! Therefore, in our Fluency Classes we are learning the Italian ways to say the same things and… at the start these don’t sound familiar to English speaker’s ears, but through using them in fun activities, real life situations, role playing and listening to Italian dialogues we get the hang of it.

Conversation classes Italian

In order to get the best out of our Fluency classes we use topics that are fun, useful and that allow us to talk about our interests, experiences or things that matter to us. Tasks are challenging in order to engage us but also practical and fun. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that we do our best and learn the most when we’re having fun. This is because cognition and emotion affect each other in the oldest part of our brain (the Amygdala). This part of our brain reacts to fear and happiness and this reaction strongly affects our ability to learn and memorise. On top of that, we shouldn’t forget that being in a good mood helps the production of ‘serotonin which plays an important role in learning, memorisation other important areas such as social abilities’ (‘Learning how to learn’ Dr. Barbara Oakley, University of California, San Diego).



Brand new Italian for beginners summer class


Fancy learning Italian? Whether you are going to Italy for your holidays or you have decided to learn this beautiful, musical and colourful language, let’s start with our Beginners course. Practical conversation is included from our first class and, during our lessons, we will learn how to introduce ourselves, place an order at the restaurant, ask for information and more. Grammar is immediately implemented in practical and useful conversational tasks, but it will also give you good foundations if you decide to progress with your Italian and join the next course. Booking your place is essential, but remember that this course is for a small group in order to allow students to fully participate and get the best learning experience. Therefore, I would recommend that you book as soon as possible by email (carolina@italiancork.com) or by text (087 9588375).

Course details

Starting date: 8th of August

Time: 6.00-7.30 pm

Number of lessons: 8  

Max number of students: 9


E’ Estate… Ora di FLUENCY Classes!

E’ Estate… Ora di FLUENCY Classes!

It’s Summer, it’s Time for FLUENCY Classes!

Italian-familyWe’ve worked hard all Winter and Spring studying grammar rules, learning new vocabulary and idioms. We did dedicate some time to our conversational skills, but we all know we need more of it, especially now that we want to go to Italy.

Fluency Classes could be called Conversation Classes, but this definition might lead to a bit of a confusion. In fact, these are not places where we go for a chat. Fluency Classes’ purpose is to develop our fluency and accuracy. In order to ensure the full participation of all students we never take more than nine students.

For Upper Beginners and Pre-Intermediate (livello 1 and 2), new vocab, idioms and interchangeable chunks of sentences will be introduced through videos and examples. These will amee-and-mastroianni-la-dolce-vitabe contextualized in a real life situation, so that students can immediately see the usefulness and cement their understanding. The second part of the lesson, consists of one or more conversational based tasks practiced in pairs or groups. The tasks include real life situations role playing, descriptions and interviews. These tasks are great fun and enjoyment is a key element in the learning process (to read more on this read my blog post on this link)

During our work, students will be provided timely, but not pedantic feedback. At the end of the lesson we will highlight the newly learned expressions, vocab and common mistakes we have to work on for the next session.

For other levels, vocab, new idioms and expressions are introduced through games, songs or films. They will be used during our conversational tasks and through games they are memorized. The higher the level the more demanding films, songs and conversational tasks will be.

The use of Italian only is recommended as we know that we think in the language we speak and if a student starts asking questions in English, the whole group have to switch their thinking into English. We all know that we can ask the meaning of what we didn’t understand by saying, for example ‘Cosa significa acqua?’ and the other student can say ‘Acqua significa water’. If we don’t know how to say something in Italian, we can simply say ‘Come si dice I’d like some water?’ the other student or the teacher will answer ‘Si dice: vorrei dell’acqua’. In this way we can still get the info we need, but we pass through Italian… and at the end of our lesson we’ll sound more Italian and our confidence in our Italian will be much higher than when we started… and we’ll also have had fun! Grazie a tutti!

To know more about upcoming classes you can email carolina@italiancork.com 


Arrivano i Corsi di Fluenza!

Arrivano i Corsi di Fluenza!!

Don’t let your Italian get rusty this summer, but get more fluent while having fun!


Would you like to get ready for your Italian hols, be able to place your order at the restaurant, bargain at the market and asking for information with confidence? Non c’è problema!essere-4-gatti

Is your Italian more advanced and you’d like to be able to express yourself in a more refined way, learn more vocab, expressions and idioms in order to understand and be understood better when chatting with your Italian friends? Non c’è problema!

Italian Classes CorkAre you fluent or almost? Wouldn’t it be enjoyable to read a real Italian book while listening to it or watch an Italian movie and discuss the underling messages, the philosophical nuances or the use of that particular jargon right there in a small group? Non c’è problema!

Fluency classes take places in small groups to ensure that all students are fully involved in the activities, we have timely but non pedantic feedback fundamental to ensure our improvement and we love having fun in Italian… perchè questo, signori e signore, it is the best way to learn! To know more, please check our posts




A Carnevale ogni scherzo vale (any joke is allowed)


It’s Carnevale time in Italy and everyone in every town, village and school is working on costumes, masks or floats. Children are taking it very seriously and they spend all their savings on ‘scherzi di Carnevale’… (Carnevale’s tricks). There is a great variety of them: fialette puzzolenti (smelly vials), cushions which sound in a very embarrassing way when you sit on, itchy powders and many many more. I was amazed the other day when my students (my grown up students) told me that they thought Carnevale was only about Venezia… ‘no, no, no’ said I!Conversation classes Cork

In fact, Carnevale has very ancient origins and every town has their own traditional mask and you can see them on floats when they go around their town among colourful ‘coriandoli’ (you call them confetti), ‘stelle filanti’ (streamers) and trumpets. Many of the traditional masks or characters are servants, such as Colombina (Venezia) or Pulcinella (Napoli) or Arlecchino (Bergamo), probably because Carnevale used to have a liberating and subversive purpose so through it servants could make fun of their masters. Some masks are actually masters, such as Dottor Balanzone (from Bologna) or Gianduia (Torino) or Pantalone, rich and mean Venetian merchant.

Perfect your Italian Cork

Carnevale comes with big celebrations in every town in Italy and there are so many famous Carnevale besides the one in Venice, such as the Carnevale of Viareggio, Carnevale of Fano (the most ancient in Italy, it was celebrated in 1347 for the first time) or the Carnevale of Ivrea. In Ivrea they celebrate their Carnevale with ‘la battaglia delle arance’ (the battle of the oranges), a real war where organised groups representing old and noble families (each with their coat of arms) throw oranges at each other from their floats… very spectacular, very unique and very messy, too. Remember to wear a red hat if you decide to go there, so they won’t throw oranges at you!

Italian in Cork


ZAMPONE o COTECHINO questa notte?

Italian beginners Cork















Zampone o Cotechino questa notte?

Those who are preparing the Cenone per Capodanno (New Year’s eve feast) will be faced with this conundrum ‘Are we having zampone or cotechino with our lenticchie tonight?’.

‘Are we having zampone or cotechino with our lenticchie tonight?’.

Everybody in Italy knows that having zampone or cotechino with lenticchie at Capodanno brings good luck for the new year, but some people prefer the zampone (the pork trotter) and some others prefer the cotechino (the salame shaped one). Actually, they are ‘brothers’ made with the same ingredients. In fact, the content is the same: pork minced meat and fat, some spices such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg (each butcher might have their own secret recipe!), but the ‘container’ of the zampone is a pork rear trotter while for the cotechino it is the lining of pork gut… Experts say that the cotechino is going to be more tender because of the nature of its casing, while the zampone is going to offer a more chewy combination between the soft inside and the harder rind… We also have to say that some people just don’t like finding a pork trotter in their plate and they will definitely go for the cotechino!

Both, zampone e cotechino come from Modena (Emilia Romagna) and they need to be cooked for at least 2 hours (unless you go for the precooked ones which are very popular and you will find them in every supermarket).. here is a recipe if you’d like to try this lovely Italian plate tonight.

Ricetta per il cotechino


Casa dolce casa (home sweet home)

Italian Leaving Cert Cork

La Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi (near Torino)

You might wonder why we have so many palaces, parks and luxurious residences in Torino… You probably remember that the Savoia family had ruled the Regno Sardo Piemontese from 1720 to 1861 when Vittorio Emanuele II (king of the Regno Sardo Piemontese) became king of Italy. Torino was bound to become the first capital of Italy.

Italian for children Cork

Palazzo Reale, Piazza Castello

For these reasons, today we can admire so many royal residences, such as the ‘Palazzo Reale’ in Piazza Castello, ‘La Palazzina di Caccia’ in Stupinigi, ‘La Reggia Reale’ in Venaria and many others.


La Reggia Reale di Venaria

I’d like to draw your attention to La Reggia Reale di Venaria included in the UNESCO Heritage List in 1997. The Palace was designed and built from 1675 by the Savoia family who needed a base for their hunting expeditions and in the heathy hill country north of Turin.The name itself comes from LatinVenatio Regia meaning “Royal Hunt” as this was its first purpose (so says Wikipedia). I torinesi (those who come from Turin) love to say that La Reggia is ‘una piccola Versailles’ and, as I was in Versailles… I can tell you that it is true…Una Versailles… molto molto piccola!

Nowadays the heathy hill country has become a healthy, wonderful and multi-faced park: La Mandria. Here animals are protected and it’s possible to see beautiful deer, fallow deer, hares, squirrels and more.cervo_manuale_815

Many people from Torino, Venaria and the surrounding areas love spending Pasquetta (Easter Monday) in this park. I was there at Pasquetta and saw many people collecting wood to make their own barbecue. It is an Italian tradition to go for a picnic at Pasquetta. Others brings their own picnic ready to go and others prefer to get something to eat from the delicious bio ristoranti (organic restaurants) and cafés.


Dulcis in fundo (an expression that comes directly from Latin, means “the best for last”)… Some people don’t enjoy only the picnic in il parco La Mandria. In fact, there is an area called ‘Il paradiso dei ricchi’ where Villa Agnelli is located among oak trees, birchs and golf courses. It was robbed this Easter and the robbery included the precious royal jewels apparently which, somehow, belonged to the Agnelli family! La televisione says that the robbers had keys and that they knew exactly where their target was, in fact, everything else was in perfect order… UN FURTO AD ARTE we can say in Italian… which means A ROBBERY ACCOMPLISHED WITH ART… of course, we are in Torino!



Andiamo al mercato!


Italian Beginners Cork It’s with great pleasure that I saw open-air markets taking off here in Cork as I used to go for my shopping to different markets in Turin. In fact, we have 42 open-air markets and 6 covered ones… and if you like antiques, a good bargain or just looking at old stuff… we have il Balon every other Sunday.

South of Italy against North of Italy

Ok, let’s go for some shopping now… fancy some fresh, earthy and yummy food: andiamo a Porta Palazzo Europe’s largest open-air market. Porta Palazzo is open 6 days a week and it is located in one of the oldest part of the city. It is an amazing feeling to go there for some shopping and find yourself among Roman’s vestige: this the Porta Palatina which (Wikipedia says) is the Roman Age city gate. The gate provided access through the city walls of Julia Augusta Taurinorum (former name of Torino). La Porta Palatina represents the primary archaeological evidence of the city’s Roman phase, and is one of the best preserved 1st-century BC Roman gateways in the world. It’s always good unire l’utile al dilettevole (to get to do what is useful with what is amusing). 

Italian in Cork for children




Grande Torino


La Basilica di Superga has a special place in my heart. From here we can appreciate a beautiful view and enjoy this majestic church built between 1717 and 1731, under Vittorio Amedeo II Duke of the Savoia family and designed by Juvarra, one of the most famous Italian architects. During the Spanish war of secession Torino was under French attack and in 1706 that Duke Vittorio Amedeo II went on the Collina di Superga and promised a church to Our Lady  if the Savoiardi were victorious…. as you can see they won and this is the ‘church’… but only tow loaves of bread a month for Pietro Micca’s widow…

Italian beginners Cork


La collina di Superga became also sadly famous as on the 4th of May in 1949 at 17:03 when the ‘Grande Torino’ football team had their fatal plane crash and they all lost their lives. Since then, the 4th of May was designated ‘world football day’ by FIFA. It was a tragedy and the Torino fans, including my father, still remember and talk about that great team who were so good they made up almost the entire national team at that time.

The funeral

The funeral


Some of you may know that in Torino there are 2 football teams: Torino and Juventus. When I was a child my father used to tell me that the original people from Torino (I Torinesi such himself and his family) would support the Torino team, while people who migrated from the South in order to find a job in Fiat, would support Juventus. I don’t know if this is true, but Wikipedia says that Juventus Football club was bought by Edoardo Agnelli in 1923… so it might be.

Grande Torino

Il Grande Torino

The Agnelli family founded Fiat in 1899. Fiat brought hundreds of thousands of people from the South of Italy up to the North. Turin was said to be ‘the third southern Italian town after Naples and Palermo’. The integration between these 2 different worlds, was not without difficulties. Initially, the people from the South suffered because of discrimination and homesickness while people from the North found the houses they rented to immigrants destroyed with goats camping in their front rooms and tomatoes in their tubs… we don’t know what came first (the goat or the discrimination), but nowadays it is very difficult to find a Torinese purosangue (thoroughbred). In fact, we all are fruit of the integration which finally won over prejudices, misunderstandings and real differences. I am myself a mix between a man from Piemonte and a woman from Sardegna. Grazie a Dio!


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