Small classes and cultural program
All the staff of the school were friendly, informal, helpful and knowledgeable.
The small classes give the opportunity for personalized teaching and grammar and conversation classes complemented one another.
The cultural program took us to places we wouldn’t have discovered on our own and we learnt about the local culture from locals.
Eating and cooking with the other students rendered out the language studies.
The short walk from the apartment through the ancient streets to the school was a daily pleasure.
Cathy McNab - Australia
Relaxed working atmosphere
I experienced an extraordinary warm welcome and a very focused yet relaxed working atmosphere.
All of my teachers adjusted their teaching and talking speed ideally to the student’s level.
Florian Hauswirth - Germany
A lovely staff
I appreciated all the personal attention to my individual level of Italian and lovely staff.
Elizabeth Jones - USA
Old friends; a small class sizes; helpful; sempre parliamo l’Italiano; interesting; excellent excursions.
Lakshmi Sumithran - Australia
"Approfondimenti Culturali" and "A Tavola con gli Insegnanti" programme
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the C.C.I.C. Piero della Francesca school of language and literature and, thanks to the "Approfondimenti Culturali" and "A Tavola con gli Insegnanti" programme, come away feeling thoroughly steeped in the history, culture and literarature of the region.
The relaxed, friendly atmosphere of Poppi and the companionship of the other students made this a rich learning experience that went far beyond the classroom.
Jane Simcock - New Zealand
A small school
The small school is very pleasant, teachers are very nice and helpful.
The daytrips and meals are lovely!
Steven Van Der Hoeff - Holland
Teachers and staff
Teachers and staff of C.C.I.C. were very warm and patient.
Curriculum very relevant to needs of traveller and real life situations.
Maureen Tonelli - USA
The dedication of the teachers.
A well constructed course which made me feel hilar at the end of the 2 weeks I had achieved a lot.
I was able to understand and make myself understood in the local shops and cafes.
Small courses with very good communication between teachers and student. No pressure from teachers.
A lot of material is present and covered nicely.
Fred Tonelli - USA
I was very happy with the teachers. I’ve learnt a lot.
Thank you for that!
Linda De Jong - Holland
We are sad to be leaving beautiful Poppi a place that seems to us like a second home.
The staff at the school and the people at Poppi have made our stay here a happy and memorable one.
Thank you all.
Anna Chawla - Scotland
Excellent, a truly wonderful place to stay.
I especially enjoyed the enthusiasm of our teachers about the Casentino region;
it was great to get such a good idea of what makes it special.
Anne Troester - Germany
The town of
is very beautiful and intimate and the fact that the school and accommodation are within its walls add to its appeal to those wishing to take Italian lessons.
It’s small size and the cultural program should be highlighted on the website and other promotional material!
Our teachers are enthusiastic and competent and care the backbone of the school. Over two weeks they become friends and we looked forward to our lessons. Given that students are at the levels, the staff always managed to make the classes coherent difficult considering the small numbers involved.
Hector Chawla - Scotland
Poppi beautiful as usual
Another wonderful 2 weeks with brilliant and caring teachers.
Interesting activities with cooking and excursions together with some lovely classmates.
Poppi beautiful as usual.
This was my 4th time and I know there will be a 5th.
Inger Perkins - Norway
Italienisch lernen kann man zur Not auch zu Hause mit Hilfe einer CD oder des Internets. Ich fürchte aber, so lernt man nur ein bisschen Grammatik und ein paar Brocken, um sich notdürftig verständigen zu können. Wer „italienisch“ mit allen Sinnen in sich aufnehmen will, der sollte nach Italien gehen! Ich tue das seit zehn Jahren und jedes Jahr zieht es mich wieder nach Poppi und dort in das CCIC. Da finde ich alles, was ich von einem Italienaufenthalt erwarte: kompetente Lehrerinnen, einen soliden Unterricht (freilich muss man selber auch das Seine dazutun), nette Sprachschüler(innen) aus vielen Ländern, eine freundliche, ja familiäre Umgebung, viel Nachmittagsprogramm, was der Athmosphäre aber auch der Sprache dient. Und wer wie ich italienische Kultur und Lebensart zu schätzen weiß, kommt in Poppi und im Casentino voll auf seine Kosten. Das Casentino ist voll von verborgenen Kunstschätzen, die man z.T. mit der Schule kennenlernt. Am Wochenende kann man aber auch Florenz besuchen oder etwa bis nach Urbino in Umbrien fahren (eigenes Auto ist zu empfehlen). Wer es eher mit der Natur hält: Der Apennin zu beiden Seiten des Casentino-Tals ist mit herrlichen Wäldern gesegnet. Das Casentino ist berühmt für seine Küche und für den Wein hält man sich an das Chianti, wenn man nicht gerade im August die Gelegenheit hat, auf dem jährlichen Weinfest eine ganze Reihe von Weinen zu probieren. Mehr kann man eigentlich nicht erwarten. So ist es für mich jedes Mal, wenn ich von Ponte a Poppi den Hügel hoch und durch die Porta Porrena nach Poppi hinein fahre, so, als käme ich nach Hause.
Johannes Lintermann - Germany
Total Immersion - Italian Style
There is really only one way to learn a language and that’s to be dropped right in at the deep end. Although we have beginners’ Italian after a year’s evening classes with Barbara Graeme in Wanganui, it is still a shock to have to put it to use.
The language school in Poppi, Eastern Tuscany, takes Italian seriously. From the moment Guy and I arrive (after clambering out of the train at Poppi station and climbing the hill to this 12th century fortified village) we are expected to leave English behind. Our first lesson is a full scale Italian dinner with our fellow students and teachers, where we introduce ourselves and explain why we want to learn Italian in Poppi. For us it is simple. Two years ago we visited Italy and were not able to speak a word. A family reunion this year in western Tuscany provides the motivation to do something about it. Poppi’s “off the beaten track” location is appealing.
The C.C.I.C (Centro di Cultura Italiana Casentino) places us with Signora Pia, a delightful elderly lady who lives in a splendid 4-storey house with 10th century foundations. Our bedroom, replete with four-poster bed and a huge portrait of St. Frances of Assisi kneeling in prayer, has French windows opening onto a Tuscan valley. The kitchen, hardly renovated since medieval times, has a fireplace where a whole ox could be turned on a spit. A notice on the door to the cavernous basement (which used to be a grappa distillery, and now houses a private museum of priceless artifacts) mischievously warns of a ghost. Signora Pia, an accomplished artist, makes us most welcome and leaves books and pamphlets on local history for us to peruse.
In the warm, hazy mornings, before the nine o’clock bells, we stroll up the flag-stoned street, books under our arms to the language school. We study grammar first, with Gianna. At 10.30 there’s a coffee break and we gather with our fellow students in one of the many nearby cafes, taking turns to practice ordering the coffee and dangerously delicious pastries. We are an international group, with classmates from Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. For the rest of the morning Luciana leads us in reading and conversation. Three afternoons per week we meet our teachers at a restaurant for lunch and more conversation practice.
Then we visit some of the sites of historic interest- the grotto where St. Frances of Assisi is said to have received ‘the stigmata’ of the crucifixion, a privately owned castle, the cathedral in nearby Arezzo (the town of the movie Life is Beautiful) where Piero della Francesca painted some stunning frescoes, to name a few. The Poppi castle, dating back to the 1100s has been authentically restored and contains a wealth of local history including a library of rare medical texts. There’s even a copy of the Canon Medicinae, a 14th century translation of the work of 10th century Arab physician Abu Ali al-Hussein. Another intriguing 15th century text describes remarkably modern-looking techniques for repairing common facial injuries sustained in battle.
The month of August in Italy is holiday season. It gets unbearably hot in cities like Florence. Most people close up shop and head for the beach. This is another good reason to avoid the crowds and stay in Poppi to enjoy the serenity of this tiny but vibrant community with its shaded walk-ways, cool interiors and doleful bells. In 2003 Poppi, (derived from a word meaning ‘people’) won the European award for the most beautiful town. It’s not hard to see why. Its hill-top situation, distinctive castle and carefully tended gardens make it a most attractive place. It’s no surprise that some of the greatest Italian film-makers have been inspired by this region. The language school is an established part of the Poppi economy and there are little perks for being a student, such as discounts at some of the restaurants, and a willingness amongst the shop-keepers to tolerate our clumsy attempts at conversation.
But more than this, Poppi lives up to its name, for its people are its main treasure. They are solemn and dignified but warm-hearted and friendly, people who truly appreciate the best things in life- good food and wine, companionship and the sharing of ideas. These are equally a part of the language school programme, and we lap it all up. We spend an evening at the chef family home attending Cucinare Insieme - a lesson in local cuisine. Then we sit down together and share a wonderful meal, while discussing everything from the state of the world to local herbal remedies.
By the end of two weeks we have covered the present, past, future and conditional tenses, and mastered some of the many rules governing prepositions. We have gained some confidence in conversation, and our vocabulary has increased by more than 700 words.
But we have learned a great deal more in Poppi. We have been graciously welcomed and introduced to a fine culture and language. Each day has provided a precious opportunity to discuss history, politics, philosophy and issues affecting all of us and our world. More than this, we have become friends and it is hard to leave.
At the end of our Tuscan holiday we take the train to Rome. Flushed with confidence in speaking Italian, I strike up conversation with a pleasant gentleman from Sardinia. He asks me what we will do in Rome and I try to tell him that we are going to rest up this evening before our long journey back to New Zealand. It turns out that I have told him that we are going to get re-married. With a restrained smile he gently points out the difference between the verb riposarsi (to rest) and risposarsi (to remarry) and explains that we had better get divorced first. “Not tonight, perhaps” I counter, and we all crack up laughing.
I can see that we’ll need to come back to Poppi!
Taylor Marion and Guy New Zealand
CCIC - Italienisch Sprachkurse in Poppi
Meine Kenntnisse der italienischen Sprache wollte ich verbessern.
Durch einen lieben Menschen fand ich den Weg zum CCIC 'Piero della Francesca' in Poppi, und seit sieben Jahren nehme ich dort jährlich an einem Kursus teil. Der vormittägliche Unterricht mit Schülern aus verschiedenen Ländern wird von kompetenten Lehrkräften den Vorkenntnissen entsprechend gestaltet (man muß aber wissen, daß es ganz ohne "Hausaufgaben" nicht geht).
Ausflüge zu Klöstern im Casentino sowie andere kulturelle Aktivitäten, die an einigen Nachmittagen stattfinden, werden jeweils von Lehrerinnen begleitet.
Die Region hat eine hervorragende Küche und bei vielen gemeinsamen Essen werden Gespräche und Geselligkeit gepflegt. Am Wochenende bleibt Zeit für einen Besuch in Florenz, in Siena oder einen Ausflug in das wunderschöne Tal des Casentino, welches der Arno ruhig durchfließt.
Beim Gang durch Poppi fühlt man sich schnell zu Hause, sei es beim 'caffè' in der Bar, im 'negozio', man ist willkommen und trifft überall auf Verständnis. Poppi - dieses mittelalterliche Städtchen mit seinen Menschen und seiner ganz besonderen Atmosphäre - berührt mich jedes Jahr wieder aufs neue.
Karin Joeris Germany
An incredible experience
I started with very, very basic knowledge of Italian and in 5 days I enjoyed a mix of teaching, talking, culture and food that was both intense, highly enjoyable and very fruitful.
Staying in a flat in medieval Poppi, having breakfast with a cappuccino and a cornetto at the local bar, learning from the top floor of a building with incredible views of the Tuscan landscape, cooking with the local chef and her family, visiting the sights with the teachers and the other Italian learners - my only regret?
Not having stayed long enough. One week is definitely too short!
Véronique Pevtschin - Belgium
The school of Italian language and culture
I first came to beautiful Poppi in 2002 to attend the C.C.I.C "Piero della Francesca", the school of Italian language and culture. That year and every year thereafter, that I have returned, it never failed to be a magical time and place.
The classes are great with both grammar and conversation classes each day and different instuctors for each one. I cannot say enough about the instructors. They are the best. They keep us moving and learning but are so patient.
We have a lot of fun and laughs along the way. They work with you to put you in the best level for your ability to speak the language.
The class sizes vary but are usually on the small size which is great!
The cultural programs are really very special and give you an opportunity to learn about the Casentino Valley, its history, its art and its culture. You also get the opportunity to spend time with the instructors outside of class in less structured way. The staff at the school is super! Cornelia is so helpful in assisting you with everything you might need from housing, to restaurants, to directions, to money exchange and much more.
I met my husband at the school when I attended in 2002. He had been coming there for quite a few years prior to that trip.
We love going back to Poppi together, taking the classes, the cultural programs and spending time with our friends at the school. When it is time to leave, we always have tears in our eyes and can't wait to make our return to the wonderful town of Poppi and its people.
Louise Brucia - USA
Worth - the inquisitive traveller
Poppi: Say "Bella!". Poppi, perched over the placid Arno, (...) has one arcaded medieval square, one crenellated pip of a castle and one very small-scale Italian studies programme for stranieri (foreigners). What better place to polish one's Italian than in a one-piazza town?
Sandy Mac Donald
San Francisco Chronicle
Follow the Reader
Each spring for the past three years, we have attended a small, exciting Italian language school in Poppi, a small hill town in the valley of the Casentino, source of the river Arno. The Casentino, in northeastern Tuscany between Florence and Arezzo, is a wide, lush valley surrounded by a ring of mountains (...). Two or three afternoons each week, there are field trips to neighboring towns, markets, monasteries, churches and historic spots. Each trip includes lunch at local restaurants. One evening per session, the students cook dinner with a local cooking celebrity in her 500-year-old home. The classes are relaxed and designed for serious students at any level. The community is prosperous and friendly. There are few tourists, and English is rarely spoken. Much of the learning comes from just doing your daily shopping. (...)
Peter and Debbie Rugh, Berkley - USA
The London Times Educational Supplement
(...) I entered the second week of study. A day or so later I noticed something odd happening. We were making many friends among the Poppesi, those who ran the shops and those who joined us in the evening at the bar. They enjoyed letting us practice on them, but now they had begun to speak very clearly. I was puzzled. Had they collectively been to elocution lessons? The Germans noticed the same thing, and in a dawning revelation as splendid as a Casentino moonrise, we arrived at the same conclusion: the Poppesi were the same: it is we who had changed.
Linda Proud - UK
ARD - "Ratgeber Reise"
(...) ein verträumter Ort, der vom Tourismus noch weitgehend verschont ist: Poppi, unser 4. Tip für Sprachferien. Das Zentrum, etwas grösser als eine Wohnstube; im Sommer ist hier sonntags Antiquitätenmarkt (...) Im kleinen Poppi sind alle aufs Redebrechen eingestellt; Sprachhilfe leisten der Metzger, der Modeverkäufer und auch das Fräulein vom Alimentari-Laden.
Hessischer Rundfunk Fernsehen 3. Programm
"Nix wie raus: Sprachschulen"
Die Sprachschule "Piero della Francesca"; eine ideale Verbindung von Urlaub, Lernen und Verstehen der Sprache und Kultur einer wunderschönen Region; der Toskana in und um Poppi.
Wer tatsächlich lernen und dabei etwas über Land und Leute erfahren möchte, ist bei der Sprachschule "Piero della Francesca" gut aufgehoben (...) Die Lehrer gesellen sich nachmittags zu denen, die Lust auf einen Ausflug haben, zu etruskischen Gräbern, zu den pievi romaniche...; oder ein Besuch gilt dem in Tannenwäldern versteckten, hochgelegenen Kloster Camaldoli einst unter Lorenzo "il Magnifico" ein hochgerühmter Ort humanistischer Gelehrsamkeit, der heute für seine Bibiliothek und die heilkundlichen Mittel berühmt ist.