Florence: An Inspiring Destination for an MFL Educational Visit

Ancient streets paved with history, and lined with stylish shops flaunting the latest cutting-edge chic: Florence is a delight for any visitor, and has just the right mix of old-world magic and cosmopolitan modernity to keep students inspired. For an educational visit, Florence, with its fascinating political and artistic heritage, will appeal to trip organisers from many curriculum subjects, not least MFL teachers. Where better for students to push the limits of their Italian language skills (and understanding of Italian society) than this culturally rich and vibrant city? Here are just some of the ways that Florence can provide a first-class MFL learning experience.

Shopping

Your students will have learned basic shopping and currency vocabulary – perhaps they have role-played conversations in the classroom – and an educational visit to Florence offers the chance to consolidate these skills. Florence is justifiably famous for its shopping opportunities, which range from high-end fashion boutiques, to old-style stationers selling quills and leather-bound notebooks, to the sprawling Mercato Centrale San Lorenzo with its cheeses, cured meats, olives, and other Tuscan treats. Encouraging your students to try as many different types of shopping experiences as possible can boost their language confidence. They will build up a layered knowledge of how commerce forms part of the life of a modern Italian city.

Culture

One of Florence’s most enduringly popular attractions is The Uffizi gallery. It is home to artworks by many of Europe’s greatest masters: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Titan and more. Touring the gallery on an educational visit provides students a chance to practise talking about art in Italian, and offers wider curriculum links for students of Art or Art History. Another popular attraction in the city is the Fountain of Neptune, outside the Palazzo Vecchio. Sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati was commissioned by the Medici family to create this imposing artwork – making it an ideal place to discuss the interplay of art and politics in Italian history. The Palazzo itself also presents an excellent starting point for conversations about history and politics of the region.

Food

Some are drawn to the art and architecture, others to the scenery, others still to the shopping – but one of the most consistent reasons visitors love Italy is the food! On an educational visit, however, food is more than nourishment: it can be a great learning opportunity for students. From its top restaurants to its caf├ęs and gelato stalls, Florence is one of the finest places to enjoy Italian cuisine, and reading the menus and ordering in Italian will help students to put their vocabulary into practice. For a truly immersive experience, trip leaders can encourage their groups to keep the dinner table conversation strictly Italian; so whether they are comparing notes on the day, looking ahead to tomorrow or simply chatting, they will be cementing their position as accomplished speakers of Italian.