Step by step

When the students come in groups, they usually come for just one week, so we do not have time to present the city, the school, and the (infinite) the possibillities of fun and interest in Florence; therefore we prepare an information kit and hand it out on arrival.

Until now it was wrapped in a plastic folder (see pic) destined to be thrown away at the end of the course … but given that we always try a “green choice”, we have searched for a less environmentally damaging material, and found that for some cents more we can buy paper folder, with a pergalin window, which are more than suitable, and maybe even more elegant… you can judge !

It is nothing more than a small step, but it is nice to know that in 10 thousand years these folder discarded by the  Scuola Toscana students will not be still around…

Happy few in Pienza


A (very) special activity, for the students of the Corso Pluriennale, students who are at Scuola Toscana since many months and who have already been everywhere … almost.


And also an activity meant for the Tuscany addicted, who never grow tired of villages, cypress and altarpieces, a dreamlike midwinter trip to Pienza and Montepulciano, guided by the instructor Lorenzo

Last but not least, all these special activities are special also because we find always the time to enjoy the Tuscan food and wine.



High season at ScuolaToscana

This is high season at Scuola Toscana, therefore there was not time to update this blog.

Sorry, we will back as soon as possible !

Meanwhile, as promised, here are the questions of the recent quiz we hold in Japan… try to answer if you like, next time the answers !

1.Millions of tourists come every year to Florence to see the statue of a naked guy. What’ s the statue’s name and who made it ?

2.Close to Scuola Toscana there is a narrow street named “via Torta”. “Torta” means crooked, and, as a matter of fact, this street makes a very strange curve. Why ?

3.Florence is well known in the world as a capital of Renaissance art, thank to huge investments of the family Medici.
Among these names, which one does not belong to any Medici ?
Anna Maria Luisa

4. One of the most importants dishes of the Florentine cuisine is the so-called “Ribollita”. Which is the main ingredient of the Ribollita ?

5.Which is the most Michelin-starred restaurant in Florence ?

6.Which is the name of the area close to Florence which gives the name to the most famous Florentine wine ?

7.Fiorentina is the name of the soccer team of Florence. When did this team win the Italian Serie A League ?

8.Florence is also one of the capital of fashion. Which one of these fashion houses was not born in Florence ?

Have a try !

Scuola Toscana in Japan again!

Later than usual we were in Japan also this year; still a bit jet-lagged and after 2 hrs of Shinkansen from Tokyo, I was excited to present Scuola Toscana at the KCC Kobe Shimbun Bunka Center

Every year we try to find something new to present our courses: this year, thanks to Gerda and Gabriele brilliant idea, I presented a quiz about Florence; seven questions, ranging from very easy to almost impossible, and for every answer there was a small presentation of a “special course” at Scuola Toscana (art history course, fashion and design course, Florence discovery course, Internship course, wine and cooking course)

Given that two students finished on a tie, there was the suplementary final question (“guess: how old is the director ?”) to award the first prize (a bottle of Chianti…) The answer remained confidential, of course !

Last but not least, some further information about the school and Tuscan fingerfood for all the participants

… many thanks to Eri Nawate (Accademia della cultura italiana) who made it possible, and Minae Okada for the translation and organisation in Kobe !

Scuola Toscana : the movie

When a prospective student proposed us to shoot a movie about the school – for free, we did not give too much weight to the offer: many students are too nice and offer their professional abilities to us, and then they lose themselves in the beauties of Florence…

But when some months later Mrs Dawn Dubriel, from Los Angeles, CA., showed at the secretary of Scuola Toscana with a professional tripod – and an even more professional camera, we started to think that maybe there was something… after that, we heard that some of our students and teachers were interviewed – and then, we received a project for our interview as directors: we realised that it was for real – the next thing, we were in front of the camera talking about Scuola Toscana, Florence, the students, and so on.

Now, after the film has been edited, we can guarantee that the young Mrs Dubriel is a professional filmmaker – just have a look at the movie yourself !

Scuola Toscana : the movie

The only weak spot is us, the wooden directors, Mrs Dubriel tried hard but our performance did not improve too much, but do not worry: Scuola Toscana 2 is already in the works…

Scuola Toscana to the seaside !

In spite of the odd weather (looks like we got a monsoon season in Florence…) we went to the Viareggio with our teacher Lavinia and had a sunny day !

Viareggio is a pleasant Mediterranean city one hour by train from Florence, with a nice promenade full of shops and beautiful, clean waters (note: clean does not mean transparent, sandy coast like in Viareggio means you can have cloudy waters; viceversa, sometimes transparent waters does not mean clean…)

Anyway, a good place also to take a bath, even if you are not a swimmer !

Thank you to Lavinia for the nice pics.

DALI Italian language exam evaluation, part two

We all agree that it is difficult to define the knowledge of a foreign language, very difficult to evaluate the oral knowledge of a speaker, and almost outrageous to claim to give a score for that.
The fact is, that there is a difference among someone who is barely able to present himself, someone who can have an everyday conversation in a restaurant and someone who can deliver a speech to an university audience.
And if you want to offer exams, you must have a transparent way to say it, to measure it, and given that the measurers are human beings, the way has to be the most independent and less biased possible.
The actual system of scoring in the DALI examination is already a good basis (see previous post), one way to make it better is to increase the grades of evaluation; where you have now four levels, can split them to arrive at six, like this:

statement formally correct or with some small grammatical mistakes (2 points)
statement mainly correct, with grammar mistakes which do not compromise the understanding (1.5 points)
statement mainly incorrect, and partially not understandable (1 point)
statement not understandable, or no statement. (0 point)

statement formally correct (2.5 points)
statement with some small grammatical mistakes (2 points)
statement mainly correct, with grammar mistakes which do not compromise the understanding (1.5 points)
statement mainly incorrect but generally understandable (1 point)
statement partially not understandable (0.5points)
statement not understandable, or no statement. (0 point)

This way, even if the experts continue to disagree as before, the wider score should “buffer” the differences and the final evaluation should result more homogeneous.
(end of part two of three)