The first time I went to Sicily was in 2017. I immediately fell in love with everything. The breathtaking nature: The Mediterranean Sea. The flowers popping up everywhere, already in March, a wonder for a Norwegian after a long winter. The palm trees are always an immense pleasure to see. And Mount Etna, which I learned is called “a mother” by Sicilians. Beauty is everywhere. Both in nature and architecture. And the long history is always present. It was also a great pleasure to hear everywhere around me the most beautiful language in the world, Italian. Above all, however, I fell in love with the Sicilians, with all the Sicilians I met. Young and old, everyone was open, welcoming, and warm. During this first visit, I immediately decided to come back. And I have returned, every year! I cannot help but return to Sicily!
Sicily has everything, there are so many things to see. A very rich history that has left us so many treasures. Palaces and churches, especially those of the Baroque style in the so-called Baroque cities, among them Ragusa and Noto, are among my absolute favorites. I never get tired of looking at this beauty! Every time I have visited Sicily, five so far, I have visited a new place besides Taormina. Once Palermo, another time the Baroque cities, and a third time the Aeolian Islands. But Taormina is the place I always return to. A small and picturesque town, and at the same time close to the sea, the volcano, and the hills.
Table of Contents
- Studying Italian in Sicily: a declaration of love!
- Learn Italian and immerse yourself in the Italian way of life!
- Fearlessly immerse yourself in the Italian language and culture!
- I will return to Sicily soon for an Italian course!
Studying Italian in Sicily: a declaration of love!
My joy was great when I discovered, walking down the street in Taormina a few years ago, that there was an Italian language school! My friend R confirmed that it was a good, high-quality school. I had already been studying Italian for a few years in Norway, but doing it there, where the language was spoken and where I already felt so good, seemed like a perfect opportunity. And so began my relationship with Babilonia. A relationship of true love on my part!
The school is located in a quiet garden, where there is also an excellent restaurant. The school offers both group and private lessons. I have always chosen private lessons in the afternoon and this has worked very well for me.
So, my days on school days went something like this: I woke up in the morning, still in the same apartment, rented from my friend R, which now feels almost like a second home to me. After having breakfast on the little terrace and maybe chatting a little with R, I did the Italian homework that my teacher had given me the day before. Then I left at about noon and walked toward the school. At BABILONIA’s restaurant, located in the beautiful garden, I was always welcomed very warmly, almost like a friend, and I had lunch there every day. Very good food! Sometimes I ate lunch alone, and sometimes with other students. Immediately after lunch, I had two hours of class. And for that reason, I never drank wine for lunch!
My teacher was always very well prepared, but at the same time, he was always very open to my wishes, suggestions, and questions. He always found exercises that were fun, varied, and useful for me. Sometimes he made me look at a movie or a picture and then tell me what I had seen. Other times he suggested a topic and had me talk about that. Occasionally we analyzed written texts. The BABILONIAian method, if I understand it correctly, is about helping students reflect on language. The teacher doesn’t give me the right answer, he helps me find it. But of course, if I don’t find it (and that happens sometimes too!), he gives it to me. It is a different method from what I was used to before, and I must say that it works very well for me. I have learned so much with each lesson!
Learn Italian and immerse yourself in the Italian way of life!
After class, I often bought myself an ice cream on the course, before going “home” to pour myself a glass of wine and watch the sea from the terrace. Other times I brought my bikini to school and went down to the beach immediately after class. I usually walked down the stairs and then took the Cable Car up. Other times, however, when I felt lazier, I took the Cable Car both down and up. I even found my own “private” cliff down there, near Isola Bella!
In the evening I often dined with my host and friend R, on his terrace with a breathtaking view, or by the sea. Other times I have dined alone, and I like that too! A favorite restaurant of mine in Taormina is Trattoria di Ugo, just outside Porta Catania. It is run by a very nice family, and the food is great! They also make a particularly good almond wine (the secret is that they add a little orange, to make it a little fresh).
Fearlessly immerse yourself in the Italian language and culture!
An advantage of mine in the process of learning Italian is that I have never been afraid to speak, even when I was a beginner. My favorite pastime in Italy, besides watching all the shows, is in fact chatting with the people I meet. And in Sicily, this is easy, since Sicilians, in my experience, are very open. I have had many wonderful encounters, which I will never forget. On the street, in the station, on the train, at the bus stop. Among these beautiful experiences was a stay last year at the island of Salina, one of the Aeolian islands, where I went for the weekend between two weeks of classes in BABILONIA. Before I went there my teacher had suggested an assignment (it was not an obligation at all, but I felt like doing it): interview some people there. And so I asked several people this question, “In your opinion, what is the most important thing in life?” I got very different answers, and all of them were very interesting. This link between school and pastime has given me beautiful and unique encounters, and in fact, has inspired me to ask the same question to other people I meet!
I will return to Sicily soon for an Italian course!
I am planning my next trip to Sicily. This year I hope to go twice. In addition to taking classes in BABILONIA and in fact taking an exam if all goes well, I would like to visit Noto again, to see the beautiful architecture again, and Salina, to trek past an extinct volcano and meet again with the people I met last year. And then, for the following years, there are so many places to see that I haven’t seen yet and would like to see: The Temples of Agrigento, Caltagirone, Piazza Armerina, and so many more.
I cannot help but return to Sicily, Taormina, and BABILONIA! I am very grateful to have discovered these treasures that now have a very special place in my heart!