Tuscany is the best place in Italy to learn the Italian language! I am absolutely certain about this, but prior to telling you why, you must know that Tuscany offers a myriad of language schools teaching Italian to foreigners. Whether you are in Italy for a short holiday in some Tuscany villas, or are planning a long stay to be in the culture at a deeper level, and want to learn Italian, the Tuscan region is absolutely perfect for your purpose.
State Universities have special sections dedicated to foreigners. They are called “Università per Stranieri”, or University for Foreigners, gathering large numbers of students, working expats, scholars, and long-term travelers who are dedicated to learning Italian in a serious academic environment.
There also are private learning institutes and schools offering more flexible schedules and locations, although at higher prices. Lastly, you can arrange an au pair holiday working in a farm, getting to learn Italian from the natives.
You could be thinking that you do not want to learn Italian from natives, as they surely speak some dialect. What you need is correct Italian. Well, this is exactly the reason why I am saying Tuscany is the best region to learn Italian: the lay person here speaks the official version of Italian, with no dialect at all. Sure, there may be some regional terms you do not find as often elsewhere, but you can rest assured they all come from an archaic Italian term.
If you are asking yourself the reason, and if there are other regions in Italy with this advantage, the answer to the latter is “no”, while explaining the former requires more details.
The short story is that when the Italian peninsula was becoming a nation, even before it became a unified country, the Italian language spoken in Tuscany was chosen as the official language. This is because the region had contributed the most to the development of a written idiom deriving from Latin. Dante Alighieri, with his Divine Comedy, set a stone in the development of the Italian language, composing the first epic poem completely written in Italian vulgar. Vulgar was the further development of Latin into what would become modern Italian. Each romance language has followed this development.
Tuscans do not need to develop a writing style, but just need to write the way they talk, which of course is a great advantage. That is why even those aging farmers, who could not get as much schooling as they would nowadays, are able to speak proper Italian. Anyone, even outside your language school, is a precious source to learn Italian from. Your au-pair holidays spent in the vineyard will also be a great language class, and your teachers may have had less schooling than your little brothers. But now you know that does not matter, when in Tuscany!
Matt lives and writes in Tuscany for ThriftyTuscany.com, deeply enjoying a relaxed life among splendid Tuscan hills.