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Italian Window

Independent language study

The Language Centre on the Downing Site provides a wide range of Italian language learning materials, including live access to the Italian television channel Rai Uno. In addition, programmes broadcast during the evening on this channel are recorded for viewing on the following day. You will also be able to watch selected programmes or extracts (in digital form) on a computer terminal by logging on to the relevant Language Centre facility.

Library provision

The Modern and Medieval Languages Library, located in the Raised Faculty Building, holds an extensive collection of Italian titles for undergraduate and MPhil students, as well as reference material, Italian newspapers, magazines, films, e-books and e-journals. To recommend items for the Italian collection, please contact the Library staff or visit the website.

The MML Library provides DVDs for papers with film topics and for personal study. There is wifi access throughout the Library as well as computers for searching the Cambridge online catalogue and for finding Italian-related information on the Web. Library tours for freshers take place at the start of the Michaelmas term and staff are available to help library users throughout the year.

The University Library has excellent holdings in Italian subject areas. You will find full details of the Italian Collections on their website.

Tours of the UL are offered at the start of the Michaelmas term, and you are strongly advised to take advantage of these. The UL contains a great deal that cannot be found elsewhere in Cambridge, and regular use of it will much enhance your learning experience.

College Libraries vary in their holdings of Italian books. However, College Librarians are usually willing to buy books on student recommendation when supported by a member of the Department. Please ask at the Departmental Office (RFB room 204) if you need any help with this.

Other libraries you may wish to use at some point in your studies of Italian are the Art History Library in Scroope Terrace, and the Faculty Libraries of English and History, on the Sidgwick Site, which all of which have holdings of Italian-related material.

More widely, the following libraries may be of use:

Book purchase

If you want to buy Italian books for yourself, remember that copies of some of the principal texts on the syllabus are available from the Departmental Office. Of the Cambridge bookshops, Heffers (tel: 01223 568568) and Dillons (tel: 01223 351688) have the best selections of Italian books. Far wider selections are available from specialist London bookshops such as Grant and CutlerThe Italian Bookshop and The European Bookshop.

You can also order books online from the following Italian bookstores:

The Italian Society

At a less formal level you will be able to maximise your contact with Italian life, language and culture by supporting the student-run Italian Society, which holds regular social and cultural events, ranging from screenings of Italian-language films to samplings of Italian food and wine. For more information, go to the stall at the Freshers’ Fair at the beginning of the Michaelmas term or look in your C.U.S.U. handbook.

Independent Study In Italy

It is clearly important to spend as much time as possible in Italy during your first two years of study. Unfortunately the Department has no travel grants to offer, but Colleges are usually ready to provide some assistance. Your College Tutor or Director of Studies will be able to give advice on this.

Final-year students returning from their year abroad in Italy often have useful suggestions and contacts, and the Department will organise a social evening to encourage the informal exchange of information.

If you are thinking of following a vacation course in language or culture in Italy, you will find all the brochures received by the Department on the wall by the noticeboard on the 2nd floor North landing of the Raised Faculty Building. When making your choice, you should consider carefully which part of Italy might suit you best. Florence, Rome, and Venice offer obvious attractions (and a very wide range of courses), but it may be harder to meet Italians there than in other less popular Italian cities such as Bologna, Verona, Padua, Siena, or Pisa.

The Italian Department has an affiliation with the British Institute in Florence, which offers high-quality language and cultural courses throughout the year and organises a tailor-made course for Cambridge Part IA and IB students in the Easter vacation (at preferential rates). For details consult Dr Natali in the Lent term.


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