My week of speaking – and living – Italian in Italy’s undiscovered heartland

Feb 07, 2020 495

"Eccoci qua!” announces Fernando, pulling the minibus into the side of the road. Ahead of us, the hilltop town we have driven nearly three hours from Rome to reach shimmers in the late afternoon sun. Agnone is a picturesque settlement of some 5,000 inhabitants, all of whom – starting with Fernando, a local dairy farmer and occasional chauffeur – appear to have been sworn not to speak English to us.

This isn’t hard, because the town is in Italy’s least-known province, Molise – a region so “undiscovered” that even the Italians have a standing joke, Il Molise non esiste. There are 10 of us – nine women and a man, from Australia, the US, the UK and France – and we are here for a total immersion language course called Live and Learn Italian.

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