The Watermill is getting greener!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

More yellow than red means green: supply easily outstrips demand

As of this week, we are proud to announce, the Watermill is becoming self-sufficient in electricity. We have just commissioned our new photovoltaic energy generation system and we are now happy to say that overall, thanks to the power of the sun, we are producing much more electricity than we are using.

Our sincere thanks to the architect Stefano Santini and his team, and our brilliant builders Nico and Danielle, who aesthetically incorporated the photovoltaic panels in our ancient roofs.The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

As well as helping to save the planet, our solar powered electricity will help to make our guests even more comfortable. We have already made a start on installing air-conditioning units in the Watermill rooms. There is now air conditioning in the studio and in the communal dining room (and in our industrial kitchen, to keep our cooks cool and calm as they prepare your delicious meals). We also now have units in the Lippi Suite and in the Brunelleschi and Donatello bedrooms. We will be working again in October to complete the whole system, so that by the beginning of the 2020 season we should have air-conditioning everywhere, all powered by the sun.

In the first couple of days of operation, as you can see from the picture at the top, we used some 90 kWh of electricity, half of which we generated ourselves and half of which we had to buy from the electricity company. But we also generated more than 100 kWh of extra electricity, which we fed back into the national grid, and for which we will be paid. (Of course, electricity companies pay less for the electricity we supply them than they charge for the electricity they supply us, but even so we think will make more money than we pay, as well as helping to save the planet. On today’s reckoning, we’ve already avoided the production of nearly 140 kg of CO2. A drop in the ocean, it’s true, but you have to start somewhere…)

Here’s a green snapshot of our photovoltaic production at the height of a sunny Tuscan afternoon:

Along with our moves to cut down on the use of plastic, notably with our reusable vacuum flasks and our delivery system for cool natural and fizzy water, we are working hard on the “greening” of the Watermill. Come and enjoy the fruits of our labours yourself!

 

Watermill creative holidays: fantastic tuition in a safe and caring environment

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Be inspired with a group of like-minded people

Now is the time to book your place on a Watermill creative holiday – painting, writing, knitting or Italian language. Inspiring tuition, wonderful scenery, delicious food, a safe and caring environment.  We will look after your every need from the moment we pick you up at Pisa airport on the first Saturday, until we drop you off again at the airport at the end of your week.

Some 230 places out of a total of 250 or so have already been booked for our 2019 creative courses, but there are still quite a few places left on some weeks. If there’s a particular tutor or a particular week you would like to come on, and you find ithe course is fully booked, don’t hesitate to get in touch. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and contact you as soon as a place becomes available.

Bring your partner or friend. Why not bring your friend or partner? They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations. We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners (please click here) on all our creative courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

What’s available: Painting courses

Paul Talbot-Greaves
27 April to 4 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Keiko Tanabe
18 – 25 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sandra Strohschein
1 – 8 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
8 – 15 June 2019
 Fully booked, waiting list open

Watercolours
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Vicki Norman
22 – 29 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Oils en plein air
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please see our 2019 Courses Preview page.

 

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike Willdridge
29 June – 6 July 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Jude Scott
17 – 24 August 2019 Three or four places left
24 – 31 August 2019
 One place left

Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Three or four places left
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21 – 28 September 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Courageous Color Workshop’ in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Charles Sluga
28 September – 5 October 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Tim Wilmot
5 – 12 October 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019  Two or three places left
Watercolours
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

What’s available: Knitting courses

Sarah Hazell
4 – 11 May 2019 Two or three places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Sarah and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Debbie Abrahams
25 May – 1 June 2019 Two or three places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Debbie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Marie Wallin
6 – 13 July 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Marie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page

 

Writing courses

Jo Parfitt
15 – 22 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
7 – 14 September 2019 Still plenty of places
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.

 

Italian language course

Langues services and Francesca la Sala 
11 – 18 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Italian language
To learn more about Francesca and her course at the mill, please click here.

We’d be delighted if you could join us. Please click here for more details about all our 2019 creative courses. We are ready for your call on (UK number +44 (20) 7193 6246) or email us at info@watermill.net. ) 

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Students demonstrate their work on the last day of a painting course last year.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Concentration on one of Sarah Hazell’s knitting courses

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Finding a quiet corner to start writing

How we oldies took selfies and were ready to talk on the phone

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our Facebook friend and Watermill guest last year, Nancy Kimsey Anderson, recently posted the picture above to try to persuade her younger friends that this was the way we oldies used to take selfies. I wonder if they believed her!

Talking of phones, I thought I might share with you part of a blog post I did some time back about telephones and the Italians. Here it is.

Why do the Italians say ‘Pronto’ when they answer the phone?

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

I’m ready. Where is Bill?

If you’ve ever heard an Italian answering the phone, you may have been mildly surprised to hear that the first thing most of them say is Pronto. That means ‘Ready’ or ‘I’m ready.’ But why do they say this instead of ‘Hello’ or even just giving their number?

The answer goes back to the early days of the telephone when to make calls across Italy one had to go through an operator. You’d call him or her and give the number, then hang up. In due course your phone would ring and the operator would say: “Are to ready to accept a call to (the number)?”  And of course, you would reply: Pronto. ‘Ready.’

Somehow that response has stuck in the Italian telephonic psyche, so even in these days of instant mobile communication just about anywhere in the country (or the world) they still say Pronto when answering a call.

Watermill creative courses: find out more on the Interweb!

These days, of course, we don’t have to communicate solely on the telephone, we oldies can use what I like to call, infuriating my children, the Interweb, so I’m going to use this post to keep you up-to-date on availability on all the Watermill’s creative courses this year.

We are filling fast but still have plenty of places with different tutors. If there’s a particular tutor or a particular week you would like to come on and you find it is fully booked, don’t hesitate to get in touch. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and get in touch as soon as a place becomes available.

Bring your partner or friend. Why not bring your friend or partner? They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations. We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners (please click here) on all our creative courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

Painting courses

Paul Talbot-Greaves
27 April to 4 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Keiko Tanabe
18 – 25 May 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sandra Strohschein
1 – 8 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
8 – 15 June 2019
 Fully booked, waiting list open

Watercolours
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Vicki Norman
22 – 29 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Oils en plein air
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please see our 2019 Courses Preview page.

 

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike Willdridge
29 June – 6 July 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 Three or four places left
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Jude Scott
17 – 24 August 2019 Four or five places left
24 – 31 August 2019
 One place left

Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Four or five places left
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21 – 28 September 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Courageous Color Workshop’ in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Charles Sluga
28 September – 5 October 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Tim Wilmot
5 – 12 October 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019  Four or five places left
Watercolours
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Knitting courses

Sarah Hazell
4 – 11 May 2019 Two or three places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Sarah and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Debbie Abrahams
25 May – 1 June 2019 Due to cancellations: One or two places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Debbie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Marie Wallin
6 – 13 July 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Marie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page

 

Writing courses

Jo Parfitt
15 – 22 June 2019 One or two places left
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
7 – 14 September 2019 Still plenty of places
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.

 

Italian language course

Langues services and Francesca la Sala 
11 – 18 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Italian language
To learn more about Francesca and her course at the mill, please click here.

We’d be delighted if you could join us. Please click here for more details about all our 2019 creative courses. We are ready for your call on (UK number +44 (20) 7193 6246) or email us oldies using the Interweb, on info@watermill.net. ) 

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Famous couples and the Watermill

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Cheer up! Let’s go to the Watermill!

We have been having a lot of fun recently with our Watermill newsletters, where we always have a paragraph urging you to bring your partner to join you on one of our creative courses. We seek out pictures of famous couples and make up our own captions and we thought we’d share a few of the latest ones with you.

That’s the Duke and Duchess of Urbino above, as painted by Piero della Francesca. And here are Omar Sharif and Julie Christie, as Dr Zhivago and Lara, looking a little chilly:

Let’s go to the Watermill. We won’t need our furs!

Our encouragement to bring your partner or friend holds good: there’s plenty for them to do while you are enjoying your painting, creative writing, knitting or Italian language course. They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and whenever they want, come out with you to our beautiful locations. We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners, as well as a generous £250 discount if they share a room with you. We think they’ll be amused:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

We would be amused by a week at the Watermill.

And as Bogie might have said to Ingrid: “We’ll always have Posara!”

But seriously… Do come as a twosome and double your delights on a Watermill creative course. Our 2019 courses are booking fast, but you can find out more about current availability by clicking here.

And, as always, there’s more about everything at The Watermill website, which you can see by clicking here.

Learn to add the ‘grace notes’ to your Italian

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our good friend and painting tutor Mike Willdridge recently sent me this picture of another friend, Ivana Castelotti, owner of the Elvetico café in the square in Fivizzano, pointing at a sign in her café which highlights the importance of ‘grace notes’ in the Italian language.

The translation of the text is: A coffee: €3; A coffee, please: 2 Euro; Good morning. Can you make me a coffee please? €1.

The point is that these little extra linguistic twiddles are an important part of the Italian language. Most people wouldn’t think of going into a café without saying Buon giorno, and always saying please and thank you.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.You can learn more about the importance of ‘grace notes’, and much else beside on our unique Italian Language course at the Watermill next year. You learn your Italian from the graceful Francesca la Sala, another good friend of ours. That’s her above explaining the intricacies of the language on the Watermill vine verandah. You can join Francesca, soaking up Italian and enjoying la bella vita Italiana from Saturday, 11 May to Saturday, 18 May 2019.

This really is a ‘course with a difference’. Not only are there formal lessons on the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but you will also make trips and excursions to savour the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area around the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speak Italian, and practise what you’ve learned.

The Watermill has teamed up again with the prestigious language school Langues Services in Florence to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way. Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be customised for you, to suit your curiosity and your interests, helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are.

A comment from a guest on this year’s course: “Our teacher was brilliant, and the lessons were always engaging, and all the other staff were remarkable in their efforts to make the week so perfect. I enjoyed every second. I loved the tranquillity and the natural beauty of the river as well as the wonderful food and convivial company…”

But don’t forget to say buon giorno to everyone you meet. Grazie mille!

Langues services and Francesca la Sala

11-18 May 2019

Italian language

To learn more about Francesca and our language team at the mill, please click here.

 

 

 

Why Italian hotels don’t have a Room 17 (or a 17th floor). Mere heptadecaphobia!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Have you ever noticed that Italian hotels never have a 17th floor? (Yes, we know, most of them don’t go that high, but when they do, they don’t, if you see what we mean.)

Apparently, Italians dislike the number so much that in some tall hotels the floors go from 16 to 18. And you’ll be pushed to find a Room 17 in many hotels, too. You might call it heptadecaphobia!

The Italian airline Alitalia doesn’t have a row 17 in its planes.

And Friday 17th is the Italian equivalent our Friday 13th: Here’s a picture of sign on a shop door: Oggi Venerdi 17. Chiuso per scaramanzia. ‘Today is Friday 17. Closed for Good Luck.’

There seems to be a number of explanations. First, the number 1, written with that conspicuous continental tick, resembles a hanged man, while 7 looks like a gallows. Then, if you re-arrange 17’s Roman numerals you get VIXI, often engraved on gravestones and meaning ‘My life is over’. So, you’re tempting Death to pay you a visit. (Stick with VIVIT, ‘He’s alive’, which sounds like a fine acronym for living well in Italy.)

While 17 sends shivers down Italian spines, they rather like 13. It’s associated with the old pagan mother goddess Cybele and with lunar cycles and fertility: it will bring you life and prosperity. The Italians think that’s good news, even though 13 sat down to the Last Supper.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Ghirlandaio’s last supper in the Ognissanti refectory in Florence

Learn more about life in Italy on our Italian language course this Summer:

Language GiuliaWe’ve teamed up again with the prestigious Florence language school, Langues Services, and tutor Giulia Balestri to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way ever. There will not only be formal lessons under the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but we’ll also be making trips and excursions to enjoy the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area surrounding the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speaking Italian, practising what you’ve learned.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.A couple of comments from last year’s language course: “We would like you to know how much we appreciated our stay with you at Posara. As hosts, you made us feel most welcome; and the combination of language lessons, food and excursions was excellently balanced. We were unaware of the Apuan mountain region – it is spectacularly beautiful. Altogether a unique and delightful experience. With fond memories of your lovely home and very personal hospitality.”

“What an amazing week. Thank you, Bill, Lois and your excellent team. Giulia was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. Can’t wait to do it all again….”

We’ve 12 people booked in for the week, one a non-participating partner, so we have room for two or three more people. Come and join us!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Giulia Balestri
30 June to 7 July 2018
Italian language week
To learn more about Giulia and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

Are you dressed like an onion in this doggy weather? And watching out for the basins?

Tom Florence coldThe picture above was painted en plein air above Florence yesterday by our friend Tom Byrne. He says: “My head is beginning to thaw out. It’s really cold although there’s no snow. This afternoons light was perfect and the mist just like before, so finished this painting.”

We hope he was dressed like an onion! That’s what Italians do when it’s cold!

We are grateful to Catherine Edwards from the online English newspaper here in Italy, The Local, for explaining and providing some further thoughts about the Italian language.

She says you are really beginning to understand Italian when a sentence like “It was raining sinks and it was dog cold, so I had to dress like an onion” makes perfect sense to you. Yes, Piove catinelle, literally “It’s raining basins” means, as we say in English, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”  And when it’s really cold, it is dog cold: Fa un freddo cane.” The solution: wear lots of layers: “Vestirsi a cipolla,” dress like an onion.

These days one never knows how to dress. Speak for yourself-Image: italianochefatica.it

These days one never knows how to dress. Speak for yourself! Image: italianochefatica.it

Language GiuliaIt’s not going to be cold, for sure, during our unique language course at The Watermill, but you’ll learn lots of other unusual and useful Italian phrases with our lovely Italian teacher, Giulia Balestri We already have eight people booked in for next Summer’s course, so we only have room for a few more people.Now is the time to reserve your place, especially since we also have an Early Bird discount offer (see below). We’d love you to join us. You’ll learn more of the beautiful language from the Italians themselves and also savour la bella vita italiana.

There will not only be formal lessons under the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but we’ll also be making trips and excursions to enjoy the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area surrounding the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speaking Italian, practising what we’ve learned.

Language restuarant

We’ve teamed up again with the prestigious Florence language school, Langues Services, to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way ever. With our wonderful tutor Giulia Balestri, you’ll meet Italian people and interact with their daily lives.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

A couple of comments from this year’s language course:

“We would like you to know how much we appreciated our stay with you at Posara. As hosts, you made us feel most welcome; and the combination of language lessons, food and excursions was excellently balanced. We were unaware of the Apuan mountain region – it is spectacularly beautiful. Altogether a unique and delightful experience. With fond memories of your lovely home and very personal hospitality.”

“What an amazing week. Thank you, Bill, Lois and your excellent team. Guilia was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. Can’t wait to do it all again…”

Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be customised for you, to suit your curiosity and your interests (we’ll talk to you about them before the course), helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are. You will have the perfect opportunity to make new friends in the company of like-minded people learning and improving their Italian language skills… and enjoying unspoilt Italy and, of course, fantastic food and wine.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Saturday 30 June to Saturday 7 July 2018

Langues Services and Giulia Balestri

Italian Language course

Please click here to learn more about out Italian Language course at the mill, including the itinerary for the week.

*** Don’t forget the Watermill’s great Early Bird discount offer: If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount.

 

Italenglish and the Academy of Bran

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.I enjoy Dot Wordsworth’s weekly column Mind Your Language in The Spectator. Dot, as her nom de plume implies, is a whizz with words and each week she makes a foray into the linguistic landscape, remarking on origins and changing meanings.

In a recent column, she discussed the Italians’ predilection for using English words to appear cool and fashionable: columns in La Repubblica’s weekly magazine are headed (in English) Beauty and Lifestyle for instance.

vocabolario_accademia_cruscaDot says: “This is the sort of thing that drives the Accademia della Crusca into a frenzy. The academy has been making judgements since its foundation in 1583 on the use of the national language. Crusca means bran and the academy likes to sift out indigestible foreign bran from the fine home-grown flour.”

Despite their efforts, however, many English words have crept
in, like smoking for a dinner jacket and footing, meaning jogging. And a spider is a sports car, derived from the Fiat Spider of the 1960’s, but now generic for all convertibles.

I particularly like andare in tilt, which means to go haywire, or on your computer, to crash. And the expression fare tilt means to become incoherent. It all implies that too many Italians misspent too much to their youth playing pinball machines in their local café!

Freya footingRest assured that on the Watermill’s elegant* Italian Language course you won’t fa tilt, but become even more coherent in one of the more beautiful languages in the world. *We’re elegant, but you won’t need your smoking and you can go footing in the beautiful countryside if you want.

Come and join us for la lingua e la bella vita italiana! 

This year’s Italian language course runs from Saturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2017.

langprog-head3This really is ‘a course with a difference.’ Not only are there formal lessons on the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but we also make trips and excursions to savour the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area surrounding the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speak Italian, and practise what we’ve learned.

We’ve teamed up again with the prestigious language school in Florence Langues Services to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way ever.

You’ll meet Italian people and interact with their daily lives. Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be customised for you, to suit your curiosity and your interests, helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are.

You will have the perfect opportunity to make new friends in the company of like-minded people learning and improving their Italian language skills… and enjoying unspoilt Italy and, of course, fantastic food and wine.

 
language shoppingSaturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2017

Langues Services Italian Language course

Please click here to learn more about out Italian Language course at the mill, including the itinerary for the week.

Langiage Castello

 

Learn Italian from Italians in the New Year

Tom riverside photo Jun 13Have you made your New Year’s resolution? How about learning Italian, the language of music and love?

And where better to learn it than in a romantic Watermill is rural Tuscany, beside which the river sings it’s way to the sea?

This year’s Italian language course runs from Saturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2017.

langprog-head3This really is ‘a course with a difference.’ Not only are there formal lessons on the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but we also make trips and excursions to savour the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area surrounding the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speak Italian, and practise what we’ve learned.

We’ve teamed up again with the prestigious language school in Florence Langues Services and their delightful tutor Francesca La Sala, to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way ever.

You’ll meet Italian people and interact with their daily lives. Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be customised for you, to suit your curiosity and your interests, helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are.

You will have the perfect opportunity to make new friends in the company of like-minded people learning and improving their Italian language skills… and enjoying unspoilt Italy and, of course, fantastic food and wine.

Here are some comments from guests on previous language courses at the mill:

“A super language week: well organised giving us a taste of  the ‘real Italy.’ Francesca was amazing. Despite the disparity in ability she managed to help all of us towards a better understanding and production of the Italian language. The lessons were fun, interactive and helped me enormously. 

“For a teacher to be ‘on duty’ from 8.30am until bedtime – teaching us in each situation – must have been exhausting yet she kept her sense of fun throughout. The accommodation was great and the camaraderie which evolved was, I’m sure, due to your relaxed and welcoming approach to your guests.”  

Langiage Castello

“I had a wonderful time on the language course and laughed so much!  Francesca was fantastic and designed a course that we could all follow at our own level, complete beginners to slightly more than complete beginners.  There was lots of role play and games in Italian, like ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Battleships’.  We had plenty of opportunity to talk to local Italians in cafes and the market in Fivizzano.  We learned how to buy things in the market, order food and drink and ask directions.  I feel confident to travel round Italy and know that I could find accommodation, buy food, drink and other items, travel on trains or hire bikes. My confidence and knowledge has improved immensely over the week and Francesca has even sent us exercises to do at home to keep our learning going.  She was tireless and gave us so much.”

Blog italian words ROCAMBOLESOCFor more information, please visit our 2017 Italian Language Programme page for more details. We would love you to join us for this rocambolesco course!

 

 

 

 

 

Language Francesca

Saturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2017

Francesca La Sala Italian Language course

Please click here to learn more about out Italian Language course at the mill, including the itinerary for the week.

 

A novel approach to learning Italian, for all levels of ability

language shoppingHere’s a question a lot of people have been asking about The Watermill’s Italian Language course: Is it suitable for all levels of ability in speaking Italian? And the answer? An emphatic Si!

So come and join us next May (more details below). and don’t forget our Early Bird booking discount offer: If you book before end of this year, there’s a £GBP 75 discount on this exceptional language week

Language bertrand-schwartz1Our emphatic Si! is because of the special approach of our colleagues from the prestigious language school in Florence, Langues Services. Its philosophy and method are inspired by the work of Professor Bertrand Schwartz of Paris University, the educationalist who overturned the concept of teaching to adults, proposing an approach that develops not only theoretical knowledge but practical know-how as well. The aim is to enhance the personal qualities of each student, tailoring the teaching to their needs and ambitions and establishing mutual, active and confident relationships, where the student is the true protagonist in the course. The motto is ‘action first, knowledge after.’

Language FrancescaYour teacher/tutor, Francesca La Sala, explains the core of their approach: “Our aim is to make the learning process as natural as possible; so imagine, when you’re abroad and you deal with a ordinary situation – whether it’s buying something or having a lovely dinner with a group of new friends – you won’t divide people depending on their knowledge of a language: you’ll try to pick words, meanings, maybe comparing sounds; you’ll use your primary senses to try and understand; your effort to observe and listen will be at its best, you’ll use your intuition, your imagination and your memory; and if someone sitting next to you at a table doesn’t understand when you do, you’ll translate for them: and that word or that phrase will remain in your memory more than a thousand others repeated by heart reading a grammar book alone in your house.”  

Francesca vine verandahFrancesca adds: Mixing up different levels can be a powerful resource, where those who know more will be encouraged to be active andteach’ what they know to those who know less, thus becoming more confident and assimilating their skills; and those who know less are motivated to push themselves forward. Mixing up different levels/people makes the course more creative, less unyielding, more realistic! “When we do the ‘formal’ lessons (about 20 hours during the week), you’ll be divided in small homogeneous teams, so that we can cover a certain grammar issue at different levels and from different points of view, but still the lessons will be held all together.

“The lessons will be very interactive anyway, you’ll be asked to be the very protagonists in the ‘formal’ lessons too. To guarantee the highest quality of the teaching/learning process, the group won’t have more than 12 participants.”
Language restuarantHow will we find out about you and your needs? Francesca says: “Every participant on the course will be asked to fill a form, a sort of CV of your knowledge of the Italian language, to find not only about the Italian courses you took and understand your level, but also to learn about the kind of ‘relationship’ you have with the Italian language, and your interests and hobbies… so that I can prepare a course plan that suits your needs and expectations. Of course many things will be changed, improved and decided together, once we meet at The Watermill, and start to know each other.”

We can’t wait to meet everybody – and improve our Italian, too! Ci vediamo
Now really is the time to make sure of your place, especially since you can take advantage of our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous Italian language course.

Language FrancescaSaturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2016

Francesca La Sala Italian Language course

Please click here to learn more about out Italian Language course at the mill, including the itinerary for the week