ITL 235 Intermediate Italian Conversation

Department: Italian Studies
Faculty: Bruno Grazioli

Spring 2017, Spring 2018

Designed to support intermediate Italian students to help them improve their conversational skills, this course offers intensive practice in pronunciation, vocabulary, oral comprehension and conversation. 
GREENITALIAN offers a new twist on one of the courses regularly offered as part of the Italian Studies curriculum. This course allows students to become familiar with the geography of Italy and with environmental issues relevant to Italy in the 21st century. Classes meet in the classroom at the Botanic Garden enabling the class to use the plant collection, microscopes, and other Botanic Garden resources. Students acquire specific Italian vocabulary on botany and use new terms actively during class to describe plants, flowers, and landscape. As a result, students develop:

  • a sense of the rich Italian biodiversity (for example: Why are there succulent plants in Sicily and why are such plants also found in south Australia as well as in California?)
  • an awareness of how Italy has developed historically and how its nature has changed as a result of commerce, exchange with other cultures, and natural calamities (for instance: Have tomatoes always been a staple of Italian cuisine? Why was there an earthquake in central Italy in summer 2016?)

After a hands on tutorial on planting fennel seeds, students made videos in Italian explaining how to do it. These are a sampling of the videos:
Marta Garcia '19
Hannah Grasso '19
Beatrix Howe '20
Olivia Pugsley '19 & Jane Kuntz '19

Italian class with fennel plants

I learned a ton about plants, the environment, and gardens in gerneral. I had little to no knowledge [of plants] before this class.


It was a wonderful medium to explore Italy and Italian — It gave us context and, I think, sparked curiosity and interest in both Italy and plants. What was most valuable about the class was applying Italian terms in a real (and local) setting.


Students in the class