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2023 language holiday

Guests on our Italian language holiday at The Watermill at Posara, Tuscany, enjoy SEVEN nights at the watermill, with full board.

We should emphasise that absolutely EVERYTHING is included in the cost of your holiday: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals (including delicious meals with wine prepared specially for you at the mill, and at charming local restaurants) and local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport; an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre).

All you have to do is get to Pisa. We do the rest!

2023 programme


A novel approach to language learning

Learn Italian immersed in one of the most beautiful and interesting regions of Italy, nestling between the Apuan Alps (where Michelangelo found his precious marble) and the majestic Apennines, the mountainous backbone of Italy. Enjoy your stay at a beautiful ancient watermill, lovingly restored, with views over the river, the gardens and the mountains. Savour a journey through history, nature and rural traditions in unspoilt Lunigiana and visit the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre.

Giulia Balestri language group at the Watermill in Tuscany

A question a lot of people have been asking about The Watermill’s Italian Language course: Is it suitable for all levels of ability in speaking Italian? And the answer? An emphatic, "Si!".

This is because of the special approach we developed with our colleagues from the prestigious language school in Florence, Langues Services and with our friend and teacher Giulia Balestri. Its philosophy and method are inspired by the work of Professor Bertrand Schwartz of Paris University, the educationalist who overturned the concept of teaching to adults, proposing an approach that develops not only theoretical knowledge but practical know-how as well.

The aim is to enhance the personal qualities of each student, tailoring the teaching to their needs and ambitions and establishing mutual, active and confident relationships, where the student is the true protagonist in the course. The motto is ‘action first, knowledge after.’

Giulia Balestri

Your teacher/tutor, Giulia Balestri, explains the core of their approach: “Our aim is to make the learning process as natural as possible; so imagine, when you’re abroad and you deal with an ordinary situation – whether it’s buying something or having a lovely dinner with a group of new friends – you won’t divide people depending on their knowledge of a language: you’ll try to pick words, meanings, maybe comparing sounds; you’ll use your primary senses to try and understand; your effort to observe and listen will be at its best, you’ll use your intuition, your imagination and your memory; and if someone sitting next to you at a table doesn’t understand when you do, you’ll translate for them: and that word or that phrase will remain in your memory more than a thousand others repeated by heart reading a grammar book alone in your house.”

Giulia adds: “Mixing up different levels can be a powerful resource, where those who know more will be encouraged to be active and ‘teach’ what they know to those who know less, thus becoming more confident and assimilating their skills; and those who know less are motivated to push themselves forward. Mixing up different levels/people makes the course more creative, less unyielding, more realistic!" When we do the ‘formal’ lessons (about 20 hours during the week), you’ll be divided in small homogeneous teams, so that we can cover a certain grammar issue at different levels and from different points of view, but still the lessons will be held all together.

“The lessons will be very interactive anyway, you’ll be asked to be the very protagonists in the ‘formal' lessons, too. To guarantee the highest quality of the teaching/learning process, the group won’t have more than 12 participants.”

How will we find out about you and your needs? Giulia says: “Every participant on the course will be asked to fill out a form, a sort of CV of your knowledge of the Italian language, to find not only about the Italian courses you took and understand your level, but also to learn about the kind of ‘relationship’ you have with the Italian language, and your interests and hobbies... so that I can prepare a course plan that suits your needs and expectations. Of course many things will be changed, improved and decided together, once we meet at The Watermill, and start to know each other”.

We can’t wait to meet everybody – and improve our Italian, too! Ci vediamo!

Praise for our unique approach

"A super language week: well organised giving us a taste of the ‘real Italy.’ Despite the disparity in ability our tutor managed to help all of us towards a better understanding and production of the Italian language. The lessons were fun, interactive and helped me enormously. For a teacher to be ‘on duty’ from 8.30am until bedtime - teaching us in each situation - must have been exhausting yet she kept her sense of fun throughout. The accommodation was great and the camaraderie which evolved was, I'm sure, due to your relaxed and welcoming approach to your guests." SL

"I had a wonderful time on the language course and laughed so much! Our tutor was fantastic and designed a course that we could all follow at our own level, complete beginners to slightly more than complete beginners. There was lots of role play and games in Italian, like "Who am I?" and "Battleships". We had plenty of opportunity to talk to local Italians in cafes and the market in Fivizzano. We learned how to buy things in the market, order food and drink and ask directions. I feel confident to travel round Italy and know that I could find accommodation, buy food, drink and other items, travel on trains or hire bikes. My confidence and knowledge has improved immensely over the week and our tutor has even sent us exercises to do at home to keep our learning going. She was tireless and gave us so much." JW