Learn to prepare traditional Italian dishes from a skilled chef and receive Italian language training in Tuscany on this high school summer abroad program.

Program Description

Explore local foods and the Italian communities, traditions, and cultures to which they are connected. Spend several days in a gorgeous Tuscan town, where you take Italian language lessons and explore the art and landscape of the surrounding area. Focus on the Slow Food movement and the importance of seasonal, organic, and locally grown food of different regions. Spend eight days at a prestigious cooking school in Asti, preparing traditional Italian dishes under the guidance of a skilled chef. The program’s culinary excursions include visiting organic farms, the famous University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, and an agrigelateria to see how artisanal ice cream is made.

Continue to practice your Italian language skills, particularly as you share daily life with an Italian family during the program’s homestay. Use your new language skills to buy fresh food in outdoor markets and to engage in daily interactions with host family members and other Italians. Discover the stories behind the unique foods of different regions of Italy while having hands-on culinary experiences. Whether it’s sampling homemade chocolates, conducting olive oil tastings, or making pizza, the program is designed to deepen your understanding of the intimate links between food, sustainability, and culture, within the context of Italy and beyond.

Conclude the program with two days of exploration and reflection in Venice. Visits to Rome, with its beautiful fountains and monuments, the Cittá del Vaticano, Florence, Piedmont, and other areas of cultural and historic significance in Italy are incorporated into the program.

Language Certificate: At the conclusion of this program, each participant will earn a language certificate noting how many hours of language classes s/he completed.

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 groupVisit 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

About The Experiment

The Experiment in International Living is a nonprofit organization that has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers three-, four-, and five-week summer programs for high school students in more than 20 countries around the world.

Programs are designed to equip participants not only with essential cultural skills and, in many cases, language skills, but also with a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to critical global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions we visit. Each year, hundreds of Experimenters come away from their summer abroad with invaluable new skills, connections, awareness, and knowledge that help them to thrive—and lead—in diverse, intercultural environments.

The Experiment is committed to providing participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds with access to The Experiment’s immersive cross-cultural programs through its partnerships, scholarships, and other initiatives.

The Experiment places the highest priority on health, safety, and security. Each program follows a comprehensive structure designed to maximize the well-being of all participants while they engage in dynamic cross-cultural experiences. We have implemented specific risk management strategies that include a 24-hour emergency on-call service and regular safety reviews. We hire and train experienced adult group leaders and maintain longstanding partnerships with in-country offices to support each of our programs.

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