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Where's the Best Place to Learn Italian in Sydney?

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published July 16th 2017
Parli Italiano?
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Experience Italian romance at the Trevi Fountain (Italia 500)

Italian, the language of opera, is the most commonly spoken second European language in Australian homes. Join over 70 million other Italian speakers, mastering the phrases to enjoy rich Italian culture, science, cuisine, literature and art. You won't need classic Italian hand gestures once you're a maestro with these top choices for Italian language learners in Sydney.

As a bonus, once you've learnt Italian, you'll be able to giggle at this joke (or skip to the end of this article for a translation):
Il ragazzo romano entra in un bar, tiene due dita e dice: "Cinque, per favore".

Italian Graffiti - 668 Military Rd, Mosman
While graffiti, the Italian word first for art on ancient stone or clay in Rome, has become a colourful addition to our trains, alleys and footpaths, you won't need spraypaint at Italian Graffiti. A short walk from Chatswood Station, you can practise your new vocab by treating yourself to a Venetian gelato or wood-fired pizza after your lesson. With an emphasis on Italian culture, customs and daily life, you'll learn the key phrases to holiday in "the Boot". The native-speaking tutors focus on a communicative method, skipping rote learning and dry lectures with dynamic conversations. 4 course levels, from beginner/traveller to advanced, are on offer, with the beginner 4 x 4-hour course starting at $340, including course notes. The school also hosts concerts, art presentations and cocktail parties to practise in social situations. Enrol at Italian Graffiti.

Dante Alighieri - Level 3, 104 Bathurst St, Sydney
The Dante Alighieri Society, founded in the 19th century and spreading to over 450 international sites, is one of the best places in Sydney to immerse yourself in Italian language and culture. After progressing through the language courses, from beginner 1 to advanced 3 and beyond, you'll be able to read Dante's greatest work, the Divine Comedy, in the original, poetic Italian.

The society also offers private lessons, HSC courses and school holiday and after-school programs for children. Cultural events invite thought-provoking discussion to practise your Italian, including a recent talk about Shakespeare's Italian links. A term of 90-minute lessons starts at $280. Enrol at Dante Alighieri.

Sydney Community College - 91 York St, Sydney
The most accessible option for language learners is the local community college. A stand out is the Sydney CBD college, with the 8 x 2.5-hour beginner's lessons catering for holiday or business travellers, starting at $319.

While no prior experience is required, the course taps into the surprising number of everyday English phrases that resemble Italian vocab in music, food, art and science. "Say it as it reads" is the first tip, with the sing-song pronunciation style used to learn introductions, simple questions, numbers, time and dates, and ordering meals and drinks. You can pickup the textbook at a discount and forge onto Level 2 once you've graduated. Enrol at Sydney Community College.

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Order impressive gelato in Italian (Italia 500)

Italian Connections - Crows Nest, Avalon and the Eastern Suburbs and CBD for private lessons
IC has a comprehensive range of Italian language learning options, with courses for small groups, private lessons, kids' lessons and exam preparation, including the HSC and IB, available. The qualified teachers lead friendly interactions during each class, organising social outings to help you practise in real-world situations as Italian is welcomed in many restaurants and bars throughout Sydney.

Italian Connections provides 6 course levels, from beginner and traveller to upper intermediate and advanced. Unsure which level to choose? Take a free written or oral test to gauge your skill level. Each 8-week course has morning, afternoon and evening 90-minute sessions, starting at $300. If you need a translation, voice-over or proof reading, you can also request a free quote. Enrol at Italian Connections.

Co.As.It. - 67 Norton Street, Leichhardt
Accredited by the Italian Government, Co.As.It. applies the global CELI Italian language learning guidelines in a comprehensive range of courses. After a series of over 24 course levels, you'll express yourself fluently in the most complex situations. Unsure which level to choose? Take the free self-assessment. Prices start at $360 for each 30-hour module, blending 18 hours of face-to-face lessons with 12 hours of guided self-study.

Co.As.It. has one of the few course structures in Sydney which are recognised by Italian universities, allowing students to continue learning in Rome, Florence or Milan. The centre has a broad range of cultural activities to practise your new skills, with private lessons, school programs, translation services, walking tours (Norton St is Sydney's Little Italy) and family history groups available. Enrol at Co.As.It..

Istituto Italiano di Cultura - 4/125 York St, Sydney
Italy's official cultural home in Sydney, the Italian Cultural Institute is the Italian Government's HQ to promote the Italian language in our city. The centre offers language courses with fluent, first language/mother tongue instructors, exams, an extensive library and Italian newspapers and magazines. As taught in Europe, the 10 x 2.5-hour courses include beginner (A1, A2), intermediate (B1, B2) and advanced (C1, C2) options, with special conversation, Renaissance, music and literature options. Scholarships offered and a free evaluation here.

The centre organises cultural events and exhibitions to practise your new skills, with highlights including the Escape from Pompeii at the Australian National Maritime Museum, a cooking class with Gabriele Taddeucci, and the Italian Film Festival. Enrol at Istituto Italiano di Cultura

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Order patriotic Italian pasta (TAFE)

Italia 500 - 32 York St, Sydney
It might sound like a motorsport event or a new supercar, but Italia 500 is an Italian cultural centre in Sydney, named after the iconically Italian Fiat 500. The whole centre is a homage to Italian culture, with classic and art-deco paintings, posters and photographs lining the walls and often used as conversation starters during a class. Lessons target real-life needs, with practical dialogue and visual storyboards used to keep learning fun. As your confidence grows, you'll join games and roleplays, experiencing a taste of the cultural highlight on an Italian holiday before you've packed your bags.

The range of courses are especially designed for beginners, starting with Level 1, 8 x 2.5 hours, costing $276. Course notes and a practice CD are included. You can also choose online, traveller and conversation courses. There are free audio samples. Enrol at Italia 500.

Sydney Italian Language Meetup Group
If you're searching for friendly Italian-speaking locals and fellow English-speaking learners to chat with, this Meetup group is ideal as you hone your vocab. The group encourages beginners, with their welcome page listing a range of tips and advice for learning to think and speak in Italian. RSVP at Meetup.

TAFE - Ultimo
A dependable choice for Italian language learning is TAFE, the premier vocational educational institution in NSW. TAFE is one of the oldest centres for language learning in Sydney, teaching Italian for over 110 years. The nationally-accredited courses, focusing on reading, writing, speaking and listening, can also be used as credits for university study. While correct pronunciation is emphasised, the rich culture, politics and landmarks of Italy are also explored. Enrol at TAFE.

Sydney Uni 160 Missenden Road, Newtown
The University of Sydney has the most comprehensive range of Italian language courses in Sydney, leveraging the resources of one of Australia's most prestigious educational centres. Begin with the 101 course, with basic greetings, travel phrases, leisure activities and the most common nouns, verbs and prepositions included.

The interactive, workshop-style course over 10 x 2-hour sessions, starts at $314. There are fast-track options and advanced courses, including the masterly level 16 course suitable for students with 370 hours of face-to-face practise.
Need to confirm your skill level? Try the free online language proficiency calculator. Repeat classes are offered for $100 and the recommended textbook, New Italian Espresso Beginner & Pre-Intermediate Textbook DVD By Butrini & Graziani is available for a 10% discount once you've enrolled. Signup at the University of Sydney.

Joke translation:
Roman guy walks into a bar, holds up two fingers and says, "Five, please."

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Watch Italian screen icon, Sophia Loren, without subtitles (Italia 500)

Where do you feast on sourdough pizza or hearty lasagne as you learn to speak Italian? We'd love to hear your comments.

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Why? Order your favourite pizza in Italian
When: Anytime!
Where: Throughout Sydney
Cost: Various price and discount options
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