A classic

It is a sad thing that nowadays in the bookstores you find every week myriads of new books in huge piles, while it has become impossible to find a book which was published just one year ago.
Also among the publishers, the new has taken the place of the meaningful, and who cares about the readers, this is the trend and let’s follow it, whatever.
Too bad that this illness has spread also to our cozy niche, the books of Italian language for foreigners; once upon a time the shelter of the “Italian for foreigners” books was almost forgotten, stocked with always the same books – boring but reassuringly. When you needed a copy of some classic, you just went to the bookstore and bought it.
Now even in this field there are new books every month, the new book push away the old, and the classic which you have been finding for more then 10 years suddenly has disappeared.
Among the best in my personal ranking are the three booklets “l’italiano per stranieri” by Katerin Katerinov, known in the field as the “katerinov grigio, katerinov verde, katerinov marrone”, from the colour of the cover.
The “katerinov grigio” and “katerinov verde”, the grey and the green booklets, contain the whole of the Italian grammar for foreigners, the necessary blueprint to build your Italian language, nothing less and (very important) nothing more.
They are concise but complete, with good charts and nice examples; a buy, if you want a grammar book, also for self-study. The “katerinov marrone”, the brown one, is an exercise-book, it is a good complement to the other two, but you need a teacher to work with it.
If you want to see the world as a travelling teacher of Italian for foreigners, just pack these three booklets, and your creativity – it’s everything you need !

books to study Italian


exercise with collage

The author of these books was Mr Alessandro Soriani, a teacher of Italian in Denmark.
As far as I know, there are two “Soriani” books, basic and advanced.
The advanced one has many pages with pictures, mostly sort of collages in an avantgarde style (they remember me of some work of the visual artists of “Gruppo 63”, like Pignotti or Ori).

There are many exercises with self-correcting schemes, which were quite used in the seventies. You had a question with two or three possible answers. If you hit the right one, you went forward, to the next question – if you hit a wrong one, according to the type of mistake, you were re-directed to a grammar explaination, or a conjugation chart, etc. and from there you could start again.

a self correcting exercise

It is a “if…then goto…” scheme that you were going to find some years after in the basic programming, ervidently the computer revolution was in the air, but the hardware was still not available to the masses.



It was 1982 when your Italian Language Expert began teaching Italian as the youngest guy of the pack (even if the legend wants him as a 3-years old, teaching Italian to some Swiss baby sitters).
This book was already old at that time, and in few months, at the school I worked we did not use it anymore – officially. But we teachers kept on making good use of it for many years, and at Scuola Toscana you can meet with some of its pages still today – as you know, learning and teaching a language has a lot to do with sensations and feelings, so you have to like the tools you work with…


Moreover, some of the exercises you find were quite revolutionary for the times, and are quite creative still today – can you figure out how they work ?

… some books never get old, do they ?