I live in Sarzana, Liguria bordering Tuscany. It is a perfect location to enjoy an Italian language homestay.
Sarzana is a beautiful medieval city set between the mountains and the sea, close to the Alpi Apuane and the marble caves located there and just
a few steps away from the Cinque Terre! Thanks to its unique location, Sarzana offers many things to visitors...
...from long walks through natural parks
(Montemarcello e Cinque Terre) to total relax on the beach; from charming villages nestled along the Ligurian coast (Cinque Terre, Tellaro, Lerici),
to the works of art like the Cross of Mastro Guglielmo in the Cathedral of Sarzana to the splendid church of San Pietro in Portovenere. You can also
visit the Roman archeological sites of Luni or the medieval castles in the Lunigiana.
During the summers, Sarzana is also the artistic and cultural center
of "La Soffitta nella Strada", La Calandriniana," il "Festival della Mente," i "Libri per Strada" e "Atri fioriti."
My apartment is located two kilometres from the centre of Sarzana; it is a small loft (on the third floor without an elevator)
with a beautiful
terrace that looks out over the Alpi Apuane.
It isn't very big but it is very warm and welcoming with two bedrooms, one bathroom (shared), a living space with
kitchen and a living room with a big bookcase.
Two cats live with me. They are very well behaved and are called Briciola and Mucca.
My homestay is reserved for single adult students. My apartment doesn't accommodate couples.
Guests will stay in an individual room with a shared bathroom. The apartment is spacious and comfortable and equipped with air conditioning.
Sira's experience as a language teacher of many years was very evident. She had an expertise in how language works and was able, throughout, to make interesting observations
about how Italian operates as a language. I also enjoyed her explanations of aspects of Italian culture / politics. She was very organised and had prepared a varied and interesting
selection of things for me to do, which included some challenging and thoroughly enjoyable work on works by de André, each of them very different types of text, presenting different
challenges. This is very much the kind of exercise I enjoy. Also a challenge - but very good for me, given my particular needs (I find it hard to hear what is being said sometimes) -
was listening every morning to the news and explaining the different items. Sira is a very special teacher.
Sira was incredibly hospitable, encouraging and friendly. She had also organised several experiences (trips out, dinner with friends etc), designed to expose me to other people's spoken
Italian. All her friends were lovely too. I had a lovely lunch every day, each thing something typical of the area.
All in all, the home stay in Sarzana could not have been a better experience.
Rachel G.W. (GB)
My name is Sira. I am an Italian language teacher specialized (Master of Ca' Foscari University of Venice) for the past thirty years in teaching both
French and Italian as a foreign language. Teaching is my passion. I enjoy creating courses that are most suitable to each unique student, with respect to their interests, their age,
their learning styles and according to their objectives. I offer my students not only traditional language courses but also the chance to learn Italian immersed in daily Italian
life: from chatting at the bar to lunches with the family, to casual conversations with people from my town while we do shopping or look for books in the local bookstore or have
an "aperitivo" or pizza with my friends.
The price is 1,450.00 Euros per week and it includes:
a language need analysis prior to your arrival in order to develop a course to meet your specific requirements and requests
study materials for use during your stay
certificate of attendance
all the lessons you want combining traditional lessons and learning by doing lessons (treasure hunt in Sarzana, cooking lessons, shopping at the local market)
dinners with friends
me as a tutor and guide for the whole week (with the exception of nine hours a week, as I teach in a school)
visit to Portovenere, Gulf of Poets and stop in Lerici and Tellaro, the medieval villages of Nicola and Fosdinovo, the Roman ruins of Luni (Roman theater), natural park of
Montemarcello, marble caves of Carrara and the wine tastings in the wineries of Ca'Lunae
pick up and drop off service at Sarzana railway station.
Nearby locations not included in the cost:
Cinque Terre (1 hour by boat or 20 minutes by train)
Thanks to Sira, I had a great summer vacation this year. I wish I could have stayed longer there! She is very kind, patient and good at teaching. At her place, I could learn not only Italian language but also Italian culture which is something difficult to know when you study by yourself or are outside Italy. In addition, she kindly gave me many chances to use Italian with arranging meetups with locals and taking me to a local market.
Sarzana is a lovely tranquil town, and a terrace of Sira's house has a beautiful view, and we sometimes enjoyed calm evenings, the rising of the moon or the starry sky together.
I'd love to go back there soon or later to study Italian with her again.
Mai T. (JAPAN)