ITLN 310: Advanced Italian Composition and Conversation

Instructor: Various
Credits: 6
Course/Lab Fee: Course reader fee announced by the Print Shop
Prerequisite: The equivalent of intermediate Italian (level B1 of the Common European Framework for language proficiency)
Cross-Listing: Italian Language

Course Description

Perugia is a wonderful laboratory for learning the Italian language, and the structure of the Italian language program reflects this urban reality. The first week of intensive language instruction immerses the student in the Italian language and culture, and introduces them to local routines and life in Perugia, where the opportunity to use the language abounds. This immersion further orients the students to studying Italian in Italy, where the communicative approach with Italian only in classroom is practiced in full. Lastly, the week sets the rules and rhythm for the semester and helps to instill an enthusiasm for the Italian language and culture.


This advanced course is specifically designed for students who have achieved an intermediate level of Italian and wish to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Italian language. To achieve this goal, a three-fold approach is adopted: students work with Italian texts of various types (e.g., narrative and literary excerpts, newspaper articles, film clips, and segments from television shows); engage in guided activities; and participate in out-of-the-classroom activities that require them to make use of the city.


Through these activities, students come in contact with the authentic written and spoken language in a variety of forms through which they can develop their skills in writing, reading, listening and speaking; they enrich their vocabulary, paying particular attention to the study of idiomatic expressions, modes of speaking, and proverbs; and they advance their understanding of several grammatical and morphological aspects of the language, including:

  • Il passato e trapassato remoto
  • Il periodo ipotetico
  • La concordanza dei tempi dell’indicativo e del congiuntivo
  • gli aggettivi, pronomi e modi indefiniti
  • la forma passive e impersonale e il discorso diretto ed indiretto
  • le congiunzioni coordinative e subordinative.

During the semester, students will be asked to conduct “street” interviews, gather direct testimonies on different aspects of contemporary life, engage in short surveys, and meet with University of Perugia students, all with the aim of encouraging them to interact as much as possible with the city and become acquainted with the surrounding environment in which they live for four months. Students will be asked to reflect on each of these activities through preparing oral accounts and brief essays. Periodically student essays will be selected for the Umbra Institute’s blog site. Lastly, the course will arrange guided visits to the National Gallery of Umbria, the municipal library (and its rare books room), and the museum of the Perugina chocolate factory, and provide thematic walks through Etruscan, medieval and renaissance Perugia.


Course Structure

  • One week of intensive language instruction (20 contact hours)
  • 12 regularly scheduled weeks in which the class meets 4 hours per week
  • Final week of special academic exercises and the final exam

Course Objectives

At the end of the semester, students should reach the level B2 or B2-plus of the Common European Framework in the four basic competencies: listening, speaking and interacting, reading, and writing. (In some cases a student may achieve C1 in the reading and writing competencies.)

In practice, the student will be able to:

  • Interact with a native speaker without too much effort in both formal and informal settings;
  • Produce clear texts on various topics and express a personal opinion on current affairs and events, offering both the advantages and the disadvantages of different positions
  • Understand the principal ideas of a text containing concrete and abstract topics
  • Understand radio and television passages of the following types: announcements, advertisements, news briefings, short comic passages, current affairs programming, interviews, and talk shows.
  • Acquire a basic vocabulary of 1000-1500 words and a smaller specialized vocabulary tied to one’s own area of study, one’s personal interests, and to the Italian culture and civilization topics covered in
  • Write texts on familiar topics or those of personal interest and on aspects of culture and contemporary society (in the form of brief compositions, summaries, informal and formal letters, and short essays
    and stories)
  • Understand diverse aspects of Italian culture and reflect on the comparison between his/her own culture and that of the host country

Course Materials

Required Text: T. Marin and S. Magnelli, Progetto Italiano 3, EdiLingua, Atene, 2004.
Mandatory course reader: selected exercises and readings from various textbooks and workbooks 
Dictionary: students are strongly recommended to purchase an English/Italian, Italian/English dictionary. The library in via Bartolo also has a number of dictionaries available for consultation.