The last item we need to finalize before submitting our visa application is to choose a language school in Italy. This is not a requirement for the extended stay visa but we want to have this arranged to show in our visa application the effort we will be putting forth to acclimate to Italian culture.
There are schools all over Italy that teach Italian to foreigners, most concentrated in the heavy tourist areas of Tuscany, but we want this to be a full immersion experience in an area with minimal English language contact. These schools provide 4-5 hours a day of intensive language study based on your Italian language skills as well various cultural studies of Italy. Many people have also told us that this is a basic step to be able to get a good foundation for language skills.
We have narrowed our search to a couple schools in Le Marche and Abruzzo near the Adriatic coast. Our requirements have been that the school be in a smaller town where foreign tourism is not too prominent (requiring that we will have to interact daily with the locals in Italian); that the school be able to arrange housing accommodations for us; and that we can get to the school from Rome without having to rent a car (via train/bus).
We have requested some details from three schools and one of them even offered to call us to go over details. Last night we got a phone call from Antonella at Accademia Italiana in Ascoli Piceno to discuss their school and any questions we have. Antonella was pleasant to speak to us and, considering it was past 1:00 AM her time, very informative on the school and the area around Ascoli Piceno.
We will soon be making our decision on the school we will be attending.