Italy: Italian Language & Food Culture

Language and Cultural Discovery

Fall in love with the flavors of Italy as you bask in the beauty of sun-drenched Tuscany, wander along the enchanting canals of Venice, and take in the historic sites of Rome and Florence. Receive formal language and culinary training from renowned institutions.


July 1, 2018







Physical Activity


Program Description

Prepare for bold tastes and aromas as you embark on an Italian culinary adventure and learn about the communities, traditions, and cultures that produce the country’s legendary cuisine. You will take Italian language classes and practice your skills in a gorgeous Tuscan town, where you will also explore the arts scene and take in the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding area. This program will focus on the Slow Food movement and the importance of seasonal, organic, and locally grown foods in different regions. Your culinary exploration will include the food cultures of Florence, Rome, and Venice.

You will have the opportunity to practice your Italian as you share daily life with a local family during your homestay and while buying fresh food in outdoor markets. Discover the stories behind the unique foods of different regions of Italy while having hands-on culinary experiences. Whether it’s making pizza, tasting olive oil, or sampling homemade desserts, you will deepen your understanding of the intimate connections between food, sustainability, and culture within the context of Italy and beyond.

After your homestay, you will travel to Asti, where you will spend eight days at a prestigious cooking school preparing traditional Italian dishes under the guidance of a skilled chef. The program’s culinary excursions include visits to organic farms, the famous University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, and an agrigelateria to see how artisanal gelato is made.

Finally, you will move to Venice to explore the canals and reflect on your time in the country.

At the conclusion of this program, each participant will earn a language certificate noting the number of hours of language classes completed.






July 1, 2018 - July 30, 2018 (4 weeks)

Program Fee:


(does not include airfare)
Group Airfare Cost:


Depart/Return City:

New York


Rome, 3 days


Ravenna, Desenzano, or Naples*, 12 days

Other Accommodations:


Sample Itinerary

    Days 1-5

    Orientation in Rome

    • Learn about the history and culture of Italy
    • Visit important sites in the city, including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and St. Peter’s Basilica
    • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions
    • Practice your Italian language skills
    • Explore diverse neighborhoods, navigate the metro, and sample Italian cuisine in street-side cafés

    During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

    Days 6-21


    • Become fully immersed in the daily life of an Italian family and community
    • Do activities with your homestay family
    • Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group
    • Visit nearby villages, beaches, and caves

    During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Ascoli Piceno, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio

    Days 22-33

    Thematic Focus in Asti

    • Attend small-group interactive Italian cooking classes
    • Work extensively in the kitchen with chefs and cooking teachers
    • Learn about Slow Foods at the vocational training center in Agliano Termi
    • Go on excursions to the famous University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, to organic farms, to the royal palace Venaria Reale, and to an “agrigelateria” to sample local ice cream

    During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

    Days 34-35

    Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Venice

    • Visit sites of interest, including the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, and a glass-blowing studio in Murano
    • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

    During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

    Day 36


    Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.

Itinerary is subject to change.

Past Group Leaders

  • Eilis Kierans

    Eilis Kierans resided in Drogheda, Ireland, for the first eight years of her life before relocating to Massachusetts with her family. Later in life, her dear Uncle Sonny, a Christian Brother in Rome, inspired her to explore Italian culture. During her summers as an undergraduate student, Eilis ventured to Italy to teach English as a Second Language in various vibrant cities. In 2009, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor of arts in communication from the University of Massachusetts. Thereafter, she worked for over a year as an ESL teacher in Daegu, South Korea. In 2011, she returned to Italy to teach and study as part of the Study, Intercultural Training, and Experience program in the serene Camonica Valley, where she lived with an array of ebullient Italian families. Eilis is now a graduate student in the Italian Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she teaches Italian to undergraduate students. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, Eilis had the distinct pleasure of leading an Experiment program in Italy, where — alongside her students — she finally learned how to cook scrumptious Italian dishes.

  • Rebecca McMunn

    Rebecca was born and raised in Circleville, Ohio, the pumpkin capital of the world, before moving away to attend Ohio University where she studied telecommunications, business, and Italian. Rebecca’s love for Italy began during her college semester abroad, studying Italian language, cooking, and culture in a small central-Italian village. After graduation, Rebecca returned to Italy for an internship in Rome, where for two years she worked with Italian university students and refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. This gave her a unique opportunity to explore Italy extensively and tour a large part of Europe.

    Rebecca recently completed her master’s degree in international education at SIT Graduate Institute.  She is currently working with study abroad students in Rome through RomeSAE, helping to introduce American students to the city and country she loves so much. In 2013 and 2014, Rebecca led Experiment programs to Italy and had an amazing time with both her groups. When she isn’t buried in a good book or cooking delicious treats, Rebecca can be found spending as much time as possible outside, playing tennis, hiking, running, and exploring new places.

Student Voices

  • After Rome and my homestay, I did not expect anything else; I thought I found out everything I needed to know about myself. However, I soon realized there was more, once I met with the famous Chef Sergio, alongside the Italian students and my other fellow experimenters. Things were hectic because we were trying to cook each of our individual parts for the meal. The individual was only part of the whole, the bigger picture. Each of us cooking a different part of the meal for the day and bringing it all together to enjoy in the end was beautiful because we were a Famiglia. There was nothing more special than that. While in the kitchen, or cucina in Italian, I thought about considering a career as a chef. The most important part was working over the stove, sweating, trying to create the meal that was unique, concise, and perfecto.

    Tristan, High School for Health Professionals

Pre-departure Documents

Summer 2018

Congratulations on your upcoming Experiment summer on the Italy: Italian Language & Food Culture program. Visit our pre-departure page for information about our expectations, communications, and travel planning. In early 2018, our summer international information will be published in a secure page, found in the Parent Portal.

In early spring 2018, the following program-specific documents will be linked to this page:

Many questions can be answered by reviewing these materials, but please do not hesitate to contact us if further information is required. To submit or update your domestic travel and emergency contact information, please login in to the Parent Portal.

Important Passport and Medical Information

If you do not yet have a passport, or if you have not applied for one, you should do so immediately.

If you have not had a physical with your doctor since June 2017, make an appointment as quickly as possible, as your health form must be filled out based on a current physical.

Please bookmark this web page for easy use in the future.