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

Tom Florence coldIn this wintry weather, in the northern hemisphere at least, this blog from 2017, which I unearthed in my clear out, is very apposite today:

The 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:

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

Our special week-long language course, where you can soak up Italian and enjoy la bella vita iItaliana, will be running again this October. The dates are Saturday 16 October to Saturday 23 October 2021.

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 we 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 at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Enthusiastic teaching from Francesca.

The Watermill has teamed up again with the wonderful Italian language tutor Francesca La Sala, to produce a week in which you can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way. Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be also be individually customised, to suit your curiosity and your interests, helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are.

This exciting language course is suitable for all levels of ability, because of the special approach of the Langues Services language school in Florence, who initially developed the workshop at the Watermill. The philosophy and method are inspired Professor Bertrand Schwartz of Paris University, who overturned the concept of teaching to adults, with a method that not only develops 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, establishing active and confident relationships, where the student is the true protagonist in the course.

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

One previous course participant said: A super language week: well organised, giving us a taste of the ‘real Italy.’ Despite the disparity in ability our tutor 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.”

Another added: I can honestly say it was the nicest week I have had for a long time. Francesca was charming and very patient.”

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

I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows to try to capture some of the atmosphere of our Italian language week. You can see it by clicking here.

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre).

You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

And you will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity.

Francesca La Sala

16-23 October 2021

A novel approach to learning Italian

To learn more about Francesca an her course at the mill, please click here.

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