Amatrice, the destroyed town that I still call “home”

If you are not living underground or on the top of a very high mountain, you might have noticed that this end of summer has been quite dramatic for most of us Italians. The earthquake that suddenly shook central Italy in the night of August 24th has stolen 296 lives and is still haunting the dreams of the ones of us who have been touched, directly or indirectly, by this reoccurring tragedy.

Yes, “reoccurring” indeed, since it happened before (in L’Aquila in 2009, in Umbria in 1997) and it will probably happen again. The centre-south of Italy is, in fact, one of the most seismically active areas in Europe, and the sheer structure of the ancient towns and villages scattered all over this wonderful country of ours can only make things more dangerous and dramatic when earth decides to do the twist.


That said, I’m not in for controversies about politicians’ faults or cheap indignation about unwise choices in satirical drawings. I’m writing now because my family comes from those places, because a part of me died that night and because I managed to pay visit to my (once) beautiful Amatrice just few days ago.

You know, it’s actually funny to think that, in a country famous for its inherent, somehow fascinating chaos, some places can still acquire a seemingly permanent state of stillnes, as if they were above (or out of) time and space. That was the case of Amatrice: a pearl nestled in between the ancient and colorful mountain chain of Monti della Laga, unique for its wide variety of flora and fauna and its historical and cultural background.


Being raised in a place like that makes you think that in a world where everything changes abruptly, those mountains will always protect your comfortable nest. And you get the feeling that you will always find a place where everything will be the same as it was, where time gets dilated and embraces the geologic biorhythm of stones laying over other stones, of the slow and yet unstoppable flow of spring waters, of the neverending succession of snow and sprouts and sun and dead leaves on the ground.

Now, imagine this feeling of safety being ripped off from your head in a 2 minutes horror trip caused by a neutral, unstoppable force which comes from beneath the ground and arouses the most ancestral and uncontrollable fears of the human soul, leaving behind nothing more than a bunch of ruins and lifeless bodies… Feeling uncomfortable much? But that is exactly what happened.


And yet, the sudden wave of destruction was not the more disturbing aspect of this unconceivable tragedy. The aftermath of a natural disaster is always a chaotic succession of news, people, pleas, cries, hopes and fears. And this, for a place which seemed to be stuck in time, is even more devastating than the earthquake itself.

Amatrice now looks like a disrupted anthill, with little powerless insects rushing here and there to save pieces of that once perfect part of universe that once was their entire world.

Children accompanied by their parents arrive in the rebuild school at Amatrice, 13 September 2016. Trento Region build a new school made by containers for the quake victims who need to start the new educational year. ANSA/MASSIMO PERCOSSII don’t really know how a human being can cope with this. I know it is possible, but I do not know how. And I know there is hope, and I know that life goes on and that one day, hopefully, new babies – maybe not the generation that came back to school just yesterday – will be raised cradled by those wise and benevolent mountains, blessed by the feeling that nothing will ever be able to change their small, perfect world.

Emergency is not over. If you wish to help the population of Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto you can donate or participate to one of the many solidarity initiatives organized by NGOs and associations all over the world: a reference page in Italian and in English.

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.


Welcome back! A preview of what’s coming on this September

Aaaaand we’re back! It has been a long, hot and even troubled summer, but here we are back on track, with the intent, now more than ever, to share the beauty our language and culture carry.

Besides our standard learning programme, with Intensive, Extensive, Flexible and Standard Italian Language Courses, we are glad to present our cultural activities for September 2016:

il-museo-agostinelli-di-roma-4Friday 16th, from 3pm – Vist @ Museo Agostinelli with Veni Vidi Visit
Where: meeting point @ Piazzale Ostiense
Participation fee: free
One of the most peculiar museums in Rome, a collection of 60000 objects from all over the world. An original insight on popular cultures and folklore.

cena8Thursday 22nd, from 7pm – Summer Ending Rooftop Aperitif (meetup event here)
Where: Mille13 Bistrò, Via Dei Mille 13a
Participation fee: 10€
Our classic rooftop aperitif to practice Italian, make new friends and spend an evening together in a charming roman terrace!

dsc_0195m-678x381Saturday 24th, 10am-1pm – visit @ Parco delle Energie/Lago exSnia
Where: Parco delle Energie, Via Biordo Michelotti
Participation fee: free
A lake in the heart of one of the most suggestive neighbourhoods in Rome, Pigneto, sorrounded by flourishing nature and inhabited by an extraordinary variety of wild fauna. A fantastic chance to discover a hidden treasure of the Eternal City!

Ennio Morricone made us proud once again

Everyone has heard by now about Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning an Oscar. It’s the biggest internet news since that blue/black, gold/white dress that sent everyone into a panic. But another big name has waited quite awhile to receive his own oscar. While Ennio Morricone did receive an honorary oscar in 2007 for his contributions to the musical and cinematic community, he had yet to win one for a specific compostion he had done, UNTIL this past academy awards when he won for best soundtrack of the marvelous movie, The Hateful Eight directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Morricone is a composer of many kinds of genres, however, he started off working in the so called Spaghetti Western genre. For those who don’t know what Spaghetti Western is, it is a class of western movies produced and directed by Italians in Italy. The term was first coined by American movie critics after Sergio Leone made his mark on the cinematic culture with masterpieces such as A Fistful Od Dollars and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Morricone started in music around the age of 12, studying at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome. He was first nominated for an oscar in 1979, and was nominated several more times until 2007.

Quentin Tarantino has always been a big fan of the Italian music legend, and has used Morricone’s compositions in several of his other movies, such as Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, and in both Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. However, Morricone had never actually written an original soundtrack for Tarantino, confirming the general reputation of master Quentin amongst the movie estabilishment (“he is like that beautiful but yet awkward woman everyone likes very much but nobody actually has the courage to approach”, a critic once said). That until the director convinced Morricone to compose the soundtrack for The Hateful Eight. But Morricone, having accepted the job just two weeks before starting to work on another soundtrack, actually made use of a some scraps from the soundtrack of John Carpenter’s masterpiece The Thing which he wrote originally in 1982.

While Morricone has a worked in a wide range of genres and some of his pieces are extremely well-known, here are a selection of some lesser known compositions of his.

Similar to the superfamous theme from Once Upon A Time In America (see below), this delicate oboe piece from the movie The Mission (directed by Roland Joffé, starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons) sounds delicate, intriguing and heartfelt, perfectly matching the atmosphere of the scene, in which father Gabriel and the Guarani tribesmen get to know each other through music.

The theme from the underestimated Moscow Farewell by italian director Mauro Bolognini, this track perfectly introduces the cold and rarefied scenario of Moscow under the communist regime.

Composed for the carachter of Deborah Gelly, played by Jennifer Connelly and Elizabeth McGovern, this theme doesn’t fail to outline the tragic profile of the woman, using a nostalgic and mellow refrai.

This track was composed for the movie Diabolik, inspired by the classic comic series, and borrows stylistic features from the coeval poliziottesco genre while preserving the original Morricone sound, based on a catchy and somehow obsessive melody.

From the movie with the same title directed by Alberto Bevilacqua, this dreaming suite pictures perfectly the intriguing traits of the movie’s main carachter, played by an outstanding Romy Schneider.

Do you agree with our list? Would you like to add some more titles? Post your own two cents in the comment section!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Something “extraordinary” is happening in Rome!

Poor Romans! Without having had the chance to recover from the 2000 Jubilee, they now have to face a new, extraordinary one, 10 years in advance. Needless to say, out of the ordinary is also the tense and alarmist atmosphere in which this event is about to be held.

Here’s an example of the spirit with which roman politicians greeted the announcement of this “Jubilee of Mercy”:

The guy in therapy is the former Major Ignazio Marino, who resigned just before the beginning of the Jubilee Year.

The guy in therapy is the former Major Ignazio Marino, who resigned just before the beginning of the Jubilee Year.

And here’s how roman citizens allegorically welcomed this great opportunity of communion and universal brotherhood:

Not everyone here is so lucky to have a family house on the seaside, though.

Not everyone here is so lucky to have a family house on the seaside, though. And no, Ostia is not enough far from Rome to be considered a safe shelter from pilgrims!

As a matter of fact, Pope Francis surprised many with his suddend announcement and the Eternal City doesn’t seem to be quite ready for the event:

You don't understand: those are not ugly temporary hurdles: those are a cunning solution for long queues!

You don’t understand: those are not ugly temporary hurdles: those are a cunning solution for long queues!

Piazza del Popolo is already graciously decorated.

Piazza del Popolo is already graciously decorated.

But do not fear, for I am with you:

I guess there's a big chance of someone getting offended by this.

I guess there’s a big chance of someone getting offended by this.

After the scandals that have been shooking Rome in the past few months and forced the former Mayor Ignazio Marino to resign, the task of leading the capital during the Jubilee could only be entrusted to the prefect of Milan Francesco Paolo Tronca. Our bright Home Secretary Angelino Alfano stated: “Our choice is Tronca, because the Jubilee should work just like Expo did”. Hell yeah!

If you have experienced the legendary 7 hours queue for the Kazakhistan Pavillion, than you don't need any caption for this picture.

If you have experienced the legendary 7 hours queue for the Kazakhistan Pavillion, than you don’t need any caption for this picture.

It’s been less than a week from the great opening of the Holy Door, and we want to make sure that all pilgrims will acknowledge our effort, as a country, to provide the best and safest Jubilee experience they can get:

Security checkpoints every two steps...

Unobtrusive but effective security checkpoints every two steps…

...sagaciously improved public transportation...

…sagaciously improved public transportation…

...with the pious hope that each and every one will find their own space. If not externally, at least internally.

…with the pious hope that each and every one will find their own space. If not externally, at least internally.

Romans, on the other hand, are left with just one big question:

And only God knows if we will ever get an answer.

And only God knows if we will ever get an answer.

What do you think about it? Share your opinion in the comments!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Questions Americans have for Italians, and Italians have for Americans, and anybody has for anybody

Assuming you are genuinely into Italy and Italian, you should have been inevitably exposed to this video created by Buzzfeed:

The video is actually part of a series in which random people ask random questions to other random people from random foreign countries (Australians to Americans, Americans to Brits and viceversa, etc.). On a first glance, this series highlights two fundamental concepts: firstly, people seem to have a lot of spare time and a lot of not-so-smart questions to ask; secondly, average people (from any country) are likely to be utterly ignorant about other cultures (even if these cultures come from the so called “first world”).

This frist impression is unfailingly confirmed by the Americans to Italians video, in which the unfortunate viewer can admire a bunch of seemingly well educated young people full of tormenting doubts about Italy such as “If I ever go to Italy, will I actually see Super Mario walking around?” (short answer: yes, in Italy we all are Super Marios but we have only one costume so we have to take turns).

CatturaWe know it’s just for fun (although this last question was not funny, even if the satisfied and sardonic face of the cute girl asking it seems to suggest otherwise) and to be fair, not all questions asked are that pointless or stereotyped. Some of them, actually, might require a very long and complex explanation: for example, clearing up why in Italy we have so many dialects would demand a long dissertation about italian history, from the fall of the Roman Empire to the XIX century. And, well, this subject might not be cut out for Buzzfeed.

That said, two good things came out from this collection of commonplaces about italian sun, seafood, pasta and grazie\prego: the fact that people are showing genuine curiosity (which is never a bad thing, my mom used to say) about italian language and culture and some smart replies from italian youtubers and comedians. Enjoy:

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

“Ciao Mondo!” – A new webradio for Italian Language Students

Ciao Mondo! Webradio for Italian Language StudentsWe at Kappa Language School are always trying to find new ways to spread the word about our language and culture. Although the best way to learn Italian is indubitably to join one of our Italian Language Classes, we are also creating a brand new set of podcasts (in addition to our downloadable lessons and exercises and our community forum) for those who cannot travel to Rome and have the Italian experience of their lives.

So, here are the first three episodes of our webradio, “Ciao Mondo!”. More are about to come: enjoy, comment and share!

Episode 1: Al bar

Episode 2: Al ristorante

Episode 3: Una ricetta italiana

October, 23rd: OPEN DAY 2015!

On friday, October, 23rd Kappa Language School will host the Open Day 2015!

aula-boccaccio1 reception targa3 viadelboschetto

Visit our new headquarters in the heart on Rome and get the opportunity to:

  • Take a free entry test to check your proficiency level;
  • Meet our staff and get help finding the best learning experience for you;
  • Collect information about the PLIDA exam and learn how to certify your italian;
  • Enroll in one of our courses with a 10% discount on the regular fee;
  • Learn more about the School and its activities and events;
  • Attend a free conversation class and have a first taste of Italian.

alessia corsoA1b corsoA2p corsoA2w

Conversation classes will be held at the following times:

10.00-11.00: elementary level;
11.30-12.30: intermediate level;
14.00-15.00: elementary level;
15.30-16.30: intermediate level.

For further information:

Come and visit us in via del Boschetto, 32 from 10.00 am!