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Istituto Il David

Istituto Il David

Speak Italian – Correct pronunciation of the Italian language

The Italian language, like any other language, has its own characteristics and difficulties.
The Italian grammar, compared to other languages, has a medium difficulty, while the pronunciation is less complicated. Most vowels and consonants always have the same pronunciation.

Making a comparison with English, the most spoken language in the world and the easiest one due to its simple grammatical construction, the 5 vowels have about twenty phonemes, while Italian has only seven. Furthermore, unlike English, if the accent of the two additional Italian phonemes (E and O closed or open) are pronounced wrong, the meaning of the word can be understood anyway.

For this reason, speaking Italian is easy. Easier than many other languages.

The fact that many Italian words are known all over the world is surely a further help. Think of these words.

Greetings: ciao, buongiorno, arrivederci

Foods: pizza, pasta, spaghetti, cappuccino, espresso, tiramisù
Food brands: Nutella, Barilla, Lavazza, Campari, Martini

Luxury cars: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati

Famous Italians: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo

Famous designers: Armani, Prada, Gucci,

Famous wines: Chianti, Prosecco, Brunello

The alphabet of the Italian language is composed of 21 letters (5 vowels and 16 consonants).

Compared to the most spoken language in the world, English, there are no letters J, K, W, X, Y. The only Italian words where these consonants can be founded are of foreign origin, mostly from English (examples: Jazz, kit, web, pixel, yacht), and to a minimum part deriving from the Latin (for example extra). Some very few exceptions concern the common names of persons (for example Jacopo), surnames (for example Bixio), and some cities (for example Jesolo).

The 21 letters correspond to 21 graphemes (writing) and 28 phonemes (pronunciation).

The 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are expressed with 7 phonemes.

While the vowels a, o, u, always have the same open sound, the vowels e and o can have an open or closed accent.

Examples of the letter "e" with a grave and acute accent:

the conjugation to the third person singular of the verb to be "è" or the third person singular feminine "lei" has a grave accent so an open pronunciation, while the conjunction "e" and the interrogative adverb "perché" have an acute accent so a closed pronunciation.

Examples of the letter "o" with a grave and acute accent:

the color “rosa” or the number “otto” have an acute accent and therefore an open pronunciation, while the color “rosso” or the “sole” have an acute accent then a closed pronunciation.
The accent is written only if it falls into the last vowel (città, caffè, così, però, virtù).

Like in the other languages, also in Italian there are some homographic and homophonic words.

Homographic words are written in the same way but with a grave and acute accent in a vowel, they have two different meanings.

Example: la legge (a legal matter), lui legge (conjugation of the verb to read in the present of the third person singular). Another example: the number venti, the noun venti (atmospheric movement).

The homophone words are written and pronounced in the same way but can have two different meanings.

Example: il fatto (an occurrence), io ho fatto (past participle of the verb to do). Another example: una parte (a section), lui parte (third-person singular of the verb to leave).

The 16 consonants are expressed with 21 phonemes.

The letters C and G can have a hard or soft sound.

Hard sound: CA-GA, CO-GO, CU-GU

If they are followed by the vowels A, O, U, they sound hard.

Examples of hard sound: CA casa, GA gatto, CO corso, GO gomma, CU cultura, GU guida

Hard sound: CHE-GHE, CHI-GHI

If the letters C and G are followed by the letter H and then by the vowels E, I, the sound is hard.

Examples of sound hard: CHE chela, GHE ghetto, CHI chimica, GHI ghisa, 

Soft sound: CE-GE, CI-GI

If they are followed by vowels E, I, they have a soft sound.

Examples of soft sound: CE cena, GE gelo, CI cibo, GI giro,

Note: there are no Italian words with CHA, GHA, CHO, GHO, CHU, GHU.

The soft sound is always expressed with CE, GE, CI, GI.

Examples: CIA ciao, GIA giardino, CIO cioccolato, GIO giovane, CIU ciuffo, GIU giusto

The letter C preceded by the letter S can have a hard or soft sound.


If they are followed by the vowels A, O, U, they have a hard sound.

Examples of hard sound: SCA scarpa, SCO scopa, SCU scuola


If the letters C and G are followed by the letter H and then by the vowels E, I, the sound is hard.

Examples: SCHE schema, SCHI schifo

Soft sound: SCI-SCE

If they are followed by vowels E, I, the sound is soft.

Examples of soft sound: SCE scena, SCI scienza

Hard sound: GLA-GLE-GLO-GLU

The letter G followed by the letter L can have a hard or soft sound.

When GL is followed by vowels A, E, O, U it always has a hard sound.

Examples: Gladiatore, inglese, gloria, glucosio.

Soft sound: GLI

Usually when GL is followed by the vowel I, it has a soft sound.

Examples: Aglio, famiglia, foglia, figlia, bottiglia.

There are exceptions with a hard GLI sound.

Examples: Glicerina, glicine, anglicano, negligente.

Soft sound: GN

The letter G followed by the letter N always has a soft sound.

Examples: sognare, ingegnere, dignitoso, cognome, ognuno.

The letter H has no pronunciation, it is useful to diversify some words with the same pronunciation but with a different meaning (“a” preposition, “ha” verb to have). In other cases, the presence of the letter H changes both the meaning and the pronunciation (“ci” pronome personale, “chi” pronome relativo).

The letters Q and K always have the same hard pronunciation as the letter C.

When the consonants are double, the pronunciation of the double consonant is lengthened.

It is appropriate to give the correct pronunciation and strengthen the double consonant to avoid misunderstandings.

Let's make some examples of words that totally change meaning if the consonant is double: ano – anno, cane – canne, capelli – cappelli, caro – carro, casa – cassa, fata – fatta, nono – nonno, note – notte, pala – palla, pena – penna, peli – pelli, sete – sette, sono – sonno.

The interrogative sentence differs from the affirmative sentence by lengthening and raising the last vowel tone.

The negative sentence differs from the affirmative only with the addition of the denial “non”.

A tip: the simple division of the word into syllables facilitates the correct pronunciation.

Examples: ca-sa, la-vo-ro, stu-di-o, pen-na, al-fa-be-to, let-to, scrit-to, sor-pre-sa, fa-cil-men-te.

Istituto Il David – Italian language school - Florence

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Italian is the official language spoken in Italy, in some neighboring countries (Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City), and it’s one of the official languages in the European Union.
It is one of the Romance or Neolatine languages, this means that it derives from the Latin spoken in ancient Rome (and until now in the Catholic Church), such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Romanian, and other minor languages.
It was formed and evolved by the Florentine vernacular written and spoken in Tuscany in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance.

It is spoken as mother tongue by approximately 60 million o Italians and by about 4 million Italians living abroad. It is one of the most spoken languages in other countries by about 3 million people. Italian is spoken as a second language in Malta, Albania, Monaco, Corsica, and in the neighboring territories of France, Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria.
It is also spoken as a second language by about 80 million descendants of Italian origin who emigrated abroad in the last century (especially Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, England, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela), by about 5 million immigrants residing in Italy, and by a considerable number of Italian language learners who have studied and are studying Italian for cultural, scholastic, professional reasons, or simply for passion.

It is currently in the twentieth place among the most spoken languages in the world. According to a recent survey made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italian appears to be the fourth most studied language in the world. There are approximately one million Italian language learners who study Italian in Italy in Italian language schools and in universities for foreigners, and abroad in Italian language schools, universities, Italian culture institutes, in the committees of the Dante Alighieri societies, in innumerable cultural associations.

It is regulated by the Accademia della Crusca, a prestigious linguistic center based in Florence, founded back in 1583 when the Florentine vernacular began to spread as a cultured national language.

Although in everyday communication about 10 thousand words are used, it is made up of about 800 thousand words.
It is a constantly evolving language. Each year, new words are added to the spoken jargon that has become everyday use, new words deriving from science and technological discoveries, and new words borrowed from other languages (especially English).

In its vocabulary, there are many words of various origins, Latinisms, Anglicisms, Frenchisisms, and to a lesser extent also from Germanisms and Iberians. Often these words are pronounced as original as in the language of origin, other times they are adapted to Italian phonetics and writing.

Although the written Italian language is unique throughout Italy and in the world, the language spoken is flanked by different regional dialects with accents, words, and characteristics often totally different from each other. An Italian always understands the regional provenance of another Italian who speaks with his own dialectal inflection. The macro areas of Italian dialects are: northern, Venetian, Tuscan, Roman, central, southern, Sicilian, Sardinian.

Italian is an important language especially for the rich culture that Italy has expressed in its long history in every period. From art to architecture, from literature to science, from opera to light music, from cooking to food products, from high fashion to design, from cinema to Made in Italy. No other country in the world has produced such a varied and vast culture. No other country in the world has influenced world culture so decisively.

Istituto Il David – Italian language school - Florence

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A young language with a long history.

Between 3000 BC and 1000 BC, populations of Indo-European origin arrived from Central and Eastern Europe. They mingled with the Mediterranean people, including those who lived in the Italian peninsula (Etruscans, Ligurians, Sardinians, etc.). Some of them settled in Lazio and founded Rome. People of that population were called Latins and mixing the Mediterranean and Indo-European words gave rise to Latin. When the ancient Romans conquered the territories of the peninsula, their language mingled with the pre-existing languages. Latin also influenced other languages spoken by European populations giving rise to new neo-Latin languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian).

With the ruin of the Roman Empire, while in Rome people continued to speak Latin as a cultured language, in other parts of Italy the vulgar languages spoken by the people developed. At the end of the first millennium, the central position of Tuscany in the Italian peninsula favored trade between Rome and the rest of Europe, especially Florence became an increasingly important point of exchange. With its economic development, also the culture grew, giving birth to Tuscan writers such as Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio. They wrote beautiful and important literature works in the vernacular Florentine that quickly spread and became very famous throughout Italy becoming an inspiration for all the other writers born in the following centuries. Great Tuscan scientists and artists (Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo,
Botticelli, Machiavelli,
etc.) contribute the growth of the Florentine vulgar using it instead of Latin. The vernacular dialects continued to be spoken in the other regions of Italy because of the low literacy.

In the mid-1800s when Italy was a land of conquest disputed by the French, the Spanish and the Austrians, the desire of Italians to be free from invaders and to become an independent homeland grew. Many writers decided to use the Florentine as the only national language to write their literature works. The most important was the Milanese writer Alessandro Manzoni, with his most important work, The Betrothed. It was the main contributor to the Risorgimento that led to the unity of Italy in 1861 when Italian regions became a single independent state.

While throughout Italy Italian became the only cultured language written and spoken, due to poverty, the regional vernaculars generated a second spoken language: the dialect, different in every region of Italy, more pronounced in the southern and northern regions. With the end of the Second World War, thanks to the strong economic growth of the ‘50s - ‘60s and the strong political will to make literate the Italian people, all Italians could go to school and be able to communicate in one language: the Italian language.

Istituto Il David – Italian language school - Florence

Italian is the fourth most studied language in the world according to a recent study which took place in universities all over the world.

The unexpected victory of Italian over growing economic nations like China and Russia is sure to give a boost to public and private efforts to promote the study of the language, which has become a main goal of the Italian government.

The increasing interest in Italian was recently provided with a new resource, the Quality Italian Language Certification. The program, created by universities in Siena, Perugia, and Rome, allows lovers of Italian to be officially certified in the language.

The Italian language is very complex, with an ambitious syntax, a wide vocabulary, and nuances linked to the ancient history of the country. Language tells of a population more than anything else, and Italian tells us that the people have a complex and fascinating culture.

Of all the languages in the world, Italian the one which is most studied for culture and pleasure. This is linked to a passion for Italian culture, which possesses extraordinary strength.

Italy’s contributions to the western world are endless, as the country has been the home to some of the greatest civilizations in history.

Italian artistic traditions are well known; according to UNESCO, most of the world’s art treasures are found in Italy. Italian is an important language for research in art history, philosophy, literary studies, archaeology and music.

The Rinascimento or Renaissance is generally considered to have begun in Florence in the 1400s, and it was here that conventions for notating music were slowly developed. The local Tuscan dialect was used to write down musical directions such as crescendo or diminuendo, and the Italian language is still used as a kind of musical lingua franca today for musicians all over the world. Opera, meanwhile, is entirely an Italian creation, with its heady mix of high drama, high notes, and high ceilings. The language is considered ideal for singing, with its gently rhythmical intonation and clear-cut vowels. A large majority of Italian words end with vowels.

A growing obsession with food is also linked to the Italian language’s increasing popularity, as Italy is the culinary leader of the world. The name of restaurants, dishes, and products find their roots in Italian, from pizza and pasta, to latte macchiato and tiramisu.

The status and current state of the Italian language on a global scale will be discussed in an official meeting organized by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education and Cultural Heritage, taking place in Florence this fall. It will focus on new challenges and means to promote the language and culture within modern society. The consortium will also look at how Italian can play a larger role in universities and academic institutions, taking into consideration the differences between geographic areas. The main goal will be to celebrate and reaffirm the Italian language worldwide, while also finding a shared and updated agenda aimed at strengthening it further.

The new study is evidence that learning Italian is a passport to one of the world’s richest cultural traditions, and to one of Europe’s most dynamic contemporary societies.

Istituto Il David - Italian language school - Florence

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Florence at Christmas

Florence at Christmas

In Florence, as in most Italian cities, Christmas lighting begins already in November. Shops, restaurants, bars, big shopping centers prepare windows and locations inspired by the Christmas atmosphere. The atmosphere is particularly magical and intimate, you breathe Christmas air everywhere and all the Florentines are in the center to buy last gifts, greeting cards, panettone, pandoro and sweets. Bags, ribbons, bows and Christmas boxes are mixed with the sound of Christmas songs that can be heard in the central squares performed by folklore groups. While choosing gifts, there is also the time to stop for a coffee or a hot chocolate and, why not, with some ricciarelli or cavallucci (typical Tuscan Christmas cookies) in order to have enough energy to continue the day dedicated to the preparations.

Tourists arriving in Florence in December will find a city with a warm, luminous, intimate atmosphere with lots to see and do.

December 8th is the date when the holidays begin. In Florentine houses everything is ready, the Christmas tree is lighted up and the Nativity Scene is set, and also in the center of Florence in Piazza Duomo the big Christmas Tree is lighted in the afternoon, with many people watching and shouting the countdown.

During of the ceremony of the lighting, the Procession of the Florentine Republic will walk through the historic center until it reaches Piazza del Duomo.

The Cathedral porch is set up with a real-size Nativity scene of terracotta statues, depicting the Holy Family. The statues of the Virgin Mary, Saint Jospeh and Baby Jesus are unique pieces, handmade by the artisan Luigi Mariani.  The Nativity is placed on the opposite side of the Campanile di Giotto, next to the big Christmas Tree, where it will stay until Epiphany, when, during the traditional Ride of the Magi, the terracotta statues are replaced by real and living people and animals, making the setting even more suggestive.


In the early days of December, Florence is getting ready to light up with "F-Light": the Florence Light Festival, for one month from December 8th to January 6th, it will shed new light on the monuments and squares of the city. The event will offer video-mapping, projections, light games, artistic installations, educational activities, special visits to museums, shows and cultural meetings.

Also on December 8th, for the eighth consecutive year, Babbo Running will return, the official walk with Santa Claus' beard and costume, a whole day dedicated to the joy and fun of Christmas. A ludic-motor event full of joy in which you participate dressed in a Santa Claus costume to bring a breath of joy.

Christmas, however, is also synonymous with typical markets full of gastronomic and artisanal products.

This Christmas as well there will be the usual appointment with the Weihnachtsmarkt, the German market in Piazza Santa Croce from November 28th to December 20th. The more than fifty installations hosted in the characteristic wooden houses will bring the aromas and flavors typical of Christmas with products of artistic craftsmanship and traditional foods from all over Europe to Florence.

An opportunity to taste tempting gastronomic specialties, warm up with delicious hot drinks and look around the stands in search of original gift ideas and handmade Christmas decorations.

So, you will only be spoiled for choice, you just need to organize and pack a suitcase to spend a few days in a beautiful, welcoming, warm city that will welcome you with open arms among its narrow and illuminated streets, with the smell of roasted chestnuts and, why not, even a glass of good Chianti.

December 31st is a special occasion. There are concerts in many squares, each one of a different kind of music: classical, jazz, rock. In Piazzale Michelangelo there is always a special concert with famous artists and singers every year.
At midnight the fireworks begin with the collective toast on the banks of the Arno.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Florence Light Festival 2018

If you’ve never been to Florence, December is the right month to do so. During Christmas period the atmosphere is magic lights and colors decorate the city and create a surreal feeling, almost fictional. During Christmas time, Florence is very beautiful and elegant. The huge Christmas tree lights up on December 8th, lighting up Piazza del Duomo, and with the big Nativity scene, they are the meeting place for Florentines. You can smell the scent of roast chestnuts and people walk quickly to buy the last Christmas gifts. It’s nice to share this intimate atmosphere that recalls past times, and the traces that Renaissance left are even more highlighted.

The churches of Florence celebrate one of the most heartfelt and ancient moment of religion; the solemn masses, the concerts, and the beautiful Nativities (both static and moving) celebrate the birth of Christ. Maybe Christmas is one of the best times to try the real taste of an art city full of history.

Christmas in Florence also means markets, and the city offers many, selling typical products. Gift ideas, and sometimes even products connected to cultures and traditions that are not necessarily Italian, like the market in Piazza Santa Croce that is surely a must-see.

Art and architecture of the city merge with Christmas lights and that is a reason why you can’t miss the “Florence Light Festival”, which takes place from December 8th for a month, and will cover monuments and squares in lights , offering video-mapping, projections, light games, artistic equipments, activities, visits to museums, shows ad cultural events.

This festival, promoted by the Comune di Firenze, is meant to highlight the brilliance of Leonardo da Vinci; in 2019 it will be 500 years since his death.

From December 8th to January 6th many places of the city will be involved: above all Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Oltrarno, with a special attention to the Towers and Doors of the city and the neighborhoods outside the historical center.

The title given to the festival evokes the lighting up of minds, and its symbols will be then the flame that lights up a candle in the dark of night, and the fiber that warms up.

During your visit in Florence you can also improve your Italian, taking a short course here at school. During the mornings you can improve your conversational skills in class, get to know other students and meet them in the afternoon to attend the Christmas themed school activities.

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Palio di Siena


The Palio is not a manifestation exhumed and organized for tourism purposes: it is the life of the Sienese people and in its various aspects and feelings. It has remote origins, with some regulations still valid since 1644, the year in which the first prize was held with horses, as it still happens.

The territory of the City is divided into seventeen Contrade with borders established in 1729 by the Violante Notice of Bavaria, Governor of the City. Each Contrada is like a small state, supported by a Seggio led by the Prior and guided in a "carousel" by a Captain, assisted by two or three contradaioli called "mangini" or "lieutenants".

Each contains a Church, called "Oratorio", with the official headquarters attached, equipped with a Museum, where all its heritage is kept: relics, banners of victories, costumes of the Apparition - those in use and many of ancient date - flags, archives and everything else concerning the life of the Contrada itself.

The race:

The complex mechanism of the celebration reaches its fulfilment with the burst of the firecracker announcing the exit of the horses from the Entrone. Each rider is given a bullock with which he can incite the horse or hinder opponents during the race. Then we proceed to the approach to the "move", that is the point where two ropes are thrown, and the horses and the jockeys will be called to line up. The order of entry is established by fate, in fact the Contradas are called according to the order of extraction, decided secretly and declaimed aloud. Absolute silence reigns in the Piazza. If the start is not valid, a burst of the firecracker will stop the horses. They’ll have to complete three laps of the track for about 1000 meters and only the first one will be crowned victor. The winner is the horse and not the jockey, in fact the former can also cross the line without a jockey and still win.

The celebration:

The celebrations begin immediately: the Contradas receive the Palio and go to the Basilica of the Madonna di Provenzano (for the Palio of July) or to the Duomo (in August) to sing Maria Mater Gratiae to thank the Madonna for the victory. From this moment on, everyone is reminded of the victory won by the Contrada, until autumn, when, between the month of September and October, the victorious district is decorated, and the victory feast is attended by thousands of contradaioli and, residing in place of honour, the victorious horse, is admired as a hero.

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Festa di San Giovanni

On June 24th, Florence celebrates its patron saint, St. John the Baptist which is considered the symbol of moral rectitude and political correctness and this is a day of celebration for whole city.

Every year for San Giovanni different cultural and folk events take place (which culminate with the evocative fireworks or the “fochi” of San Giovanni, as the Florentines call them).

The festivity of San Giovanni has ancient origins: once, nobles and lords donated candles to celebrate the patron saint of Florence. With the growth of the power of the city and its lords, the candles became more and more beautiful and rich and some were destined for the Baptistery, while the others were sold, and the proceeds went to the Church.

Morning: procession and mass

Even today, during the morning of the 24th of June, a small city procession starts from Palazzo Vecchio and symbolically bears a gift to the patron of the candles in the Baptistery, even the mayor of Florence and other authorities take part in it. Here the Archbishop of Florence receives the offer, and everyone then goes to the Cathedral for the celebration of a solemn mass at 10:30.

Boating on the Arno

During the festivity of San Giovanni boat visits are usually organized, both during the day and during the fireworks. The Renaioli host visitors on board their special boat.

Reopening of the San Niccolò Tower

June 24th is the day of the reopening of the Tower of San Niccolò, one of the towers of the ancient circle of the walls of Florence that, after being restored, was opened to the public, but only in the summer. The Tower will be open until September 30th, every day from 5 to 8 pm. The tower can be accessed in small guided (in Italian, English, French and Spanish) groups.

The night of San Giovanni

Rediscover the magical atmosphere of the historic centre of Florence with one of the most ancient road races in Italy. With a racing course of 10Km that winds among the most beautiful places around the city. The race takes place during the night starting at 9 pm and finishing in Piazza S. Giovanni in front of the Sagrato del Duomo. For those who do not want to run there is also the 4 km non-competitive Family Walk.

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La Luminara di San Ranieri

On the 16 and 17 of June 2018 the San Ranieri di Pisa festival is organized to celebrate the Patron Saint, the Tuscan city will host a truly unique and spectacular event: the Luminara 2018. The romantic lights of thousands of lanterns lit around bridges and buildings, together with those resting on the waters of the Arno, will create an extraordinary effect that will take you back in time!

The 'Giugno Pisano' program is particularly rich in events, street parties, cultural initiatives but above all historical re-enactments to remember the most ancient traditions of the city of Pisa. The most appreciated, from Tuscans and others, are certainly the Luminaria di San Ranieri, the Pisa Historical Regatta, the Gioco del Ponte and the Historical Regatta of the Maritime Republics, which takes place every four years. To frame these evocative events, other initiatives take plase such as street performances, concerts, festivals and much more.

On June 16th the most evocative of the events organized for the feast of San Ranieri 2018 will take place: the Luminara of Pisa. The profiles of churches, palaces, towers and bridges of the Lungarni will be illuminated by more than 700,000 candles placed in special glasses and set in the so-called 'biancherie', wooden frames painted in white. Many floating lights will also be placed directly on the Arno, which will offer a enchanting show of lights and reflections on the water. A special treatment will be reserved for Piazza dei Miracoli: the Leaning Tower, the Duomo and the Baptistery will be especially illuminated, taking on an even more ancient and fascinating aspect.

The festivity of the Luminaria 2018 will continue until late at night with a wonderful firework display that will start at around 23.00. From the Cittadella Vecchia, a fortress dating back to the 1400 partially rebuilt and by some barges on the Arno, spectacular fireworks will be launched: streamers, colored waterfalls and a suggestive red smoke shot by the Guelfa Tower will offer the most exciting show of the summer of Pisa 2018.

During the afternoon of the 17th of June, the festivity di San Ranieri will resume with the historical parade of Pisa, a lively and colorful parade that evokes the ancient splendor of the Maritime Republics. At dusk you can attend an exciting race between districts: the Historic Regatta of Pisa 2018, followed by the traditional Palio di San Ranieri!

On the quiet waters of the river Arno four boats will battle to represent the 4 neighborhoods, two of Tramontana and two of Mezzogiorno. The district of San Martino will be marked by the color red, that of St. Anthony in green, that of Santa Maria in light-blue and that of St. Francis in yellow. The boats, clearly inspired by the ancient ‘fregate stefaniane’ of the Medici order of the Knights of Santo Stefano, will have to travel 1,500 meters by rowing against the current, from the Railway Bridge to the Palazzo Mediceo, near the Ponte della Fortezza. The crew must be composed of eight rowers, a helmsman and a fitter, a figure of fundamental importance to win the competition. It is up to him, in fact, climbing on one of the four ropes (called canapi), the arduous task of reaching the top of a 10-meter tall mast, mounted on an unstable floating barge, and grabbing the blue palio, symbol of victory of the Regatta di San Ranieri. Two other flags, one white and one red, will instead be reserved for the second and third classified, while the team that will arrive last will win ... two geese!

This is a bronze fountain which is located in Florence, Italy. Porcellino is a nickname which was given to this boar fountain by the locals from Florence. Ironically, the nickname when translated stands for the word ‘piglet' whereas the fountain is a boar. This boar which is considered as a piglet attracts a huge number of tourists. So, what's the story behind this fountain which is highly regarded in Florence? What makes it so attractive?
Everything has a creator and this bronze fountain dates to the 15th century. Well, it is that old, making it Italian art. The artist who was behind this bronze boar fountain was Pietro Tacca. Inspired by a Hellenistic marble, the sculptor, Pietro Tacca, was able to observe and incorporate a new design which would later become an antique. Initially, the Porcellino was supposed to be placed in the Boboli garden, but it was moved to Mercato Nuovo. Whilst still there, it was moved a couple of times, and one of the leading reason why it was repositioned is due to the enormous traffic which was in the market, Mercato Nuovo.
This market which lies in the present Piazza Rella Repubblica has many Italian arts which are based on the Italian traditions. Luckily, the Porcellino is amongst the antiques that have outshone others, and the attention it brings is quite enticing. Art is an act that can be passed on to the next generation through a simple action such as making a copy of the original. Shockingly, the Porcelain which is located in Mercato Nuovo is a copy of the original; if you are not keen enough, you'll think it is the original bronze fountain.
However, the copied piece of the bronze fountain was put there to preserve the original Porcellino. The real and authentic Porcellino is currently in the Museo Bardini in Palazzo Mozzi. Even though the Porcelliono in the Italian market is not the original piece, it still attracts enormous crowds of tourists. Once you visit the pig in the presence of some locals, you'll learn that they believe that it is considered good luck would be bestowed upon you, when you touch the pig's snout.
That acts of rubbing the pig's snout date back to the time that the Porcellino was placed in the Florence market known as Mercato Nuovo. It is believed that once you rub the pig's snout, you are destined to go back to Florence for another visit. Well, Florence is such an attractive city. Who wouldn't want to go back to Florence for the second time? Porcellino's snout has been rubbed countlessly to the point where the snout has begun to shine. Even if you do not believe in such occurrences which are linked to fate, touching such an antique is just amazing in itself. Feeling the bronze in your hands makes you just feel satisfied.
If you visit a fantastic city such as Florence, this is the kind of artifacts that you should not miss out on. Visit the market and analyze what makes the Porcellino that unique.

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  • It’s was a really nice experience. The lessons were very interesting and the teachers professionals. I really want to thank Istituto Il David for...
    Stefani Papaioannou , Cyprus 12 May 2015



  • Right in the city centre of Florence

    The Italian language school is located in the heart of Florence, within walking distance of all the most important monuments and the central station.

  • 30 years of teaching

    The school was established in 1983, one of the first Italian language schools in Italy. The experience of over 30 years is a guarantee of professionalism and reliability.

  • Quality of the courses at affordable prices

    Our all inclusive prices are among the best even if you consider that we provide also accommodations, all in the city center.

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