De Rada Italian Institute


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Applications welcome from everyone!
Students from any university
and adult learners too!


Home  | General Info   |  Summer Language Program 

Studia l'Italiano e Scopri la Cultura del Mediterraneo
Study Italian and Discover Mediterranean Culture

Student and Adult Learner Evaluations

Message for Celebrattion of the 10th Anniversary of the

De Rada Summer Program in Italy

When deciding to come to the De Rada summer program in 2008, I just thought it would be a way for me to complete my language requirement for the University of Rhode Island. However after the first summer at the program I realized I discovered something that I truly love. I have been apart of the program for the past three years and it has been so enjoyable. I have made great friends that I will keep for life and discovered so much about Italy and myself in the process. People ask me why I continue to go back and I always thought about it and gave the easy answer for me which was the food which is amazing but I believe I know the true reason now. The town and the people in it are so friendly that it creates an amazing atmosphere for learning and exploring. Everyone involved in the program treats you like a family member from the time that you arrive until the time you leave. That is what sets it apart from other programs because you feel so comfortable that you learn easier because you are not worried about other things that you may worry about in a big city.

Furthermore the way that Michelangelo’s family is involved in the program makes it so much more enjoyable because you can relate to all of them. From the way that Carmela acts as a mom, or how Mario makes amazing wine and is always there to drive you when you need a ride. To his mother AnnaMarie, who cooks with you and is so friendly and always offers fruit on a hot day when you really need a snack. Then there is Francesca who always puts a smile on your face and is there to talk to when you need some help with school or just to vent. Other people involved in the program who really make it so amazing are Fifina, who is the Mom that everyone wishes they had because she is an extraordinary cook and loves to joke around. Then there is Emilio who is always with you during the program and makes everyone laugh and smile, along with being an excellent scopa and bocci player.

You may be thinking well what about Michelangelo, you forgot him. Well let me assure you I have not forgot about the director of the program. He does so much for the program that people do not see and I think he is under appreciated at times. In the classroom he is tough and gets the most out of you. Outside of it he is just like one of the students taking part in all of the activities we do. He is incredibly intelligent, but at the same time extremely approachable and helpful. He along with all the other people involved in the program go out of their way to make sure you have a great experience. I am honored to call him one of my friends and admire the work that he does every summer.

What I am trying to show is that when you come to the program you are not treated just like a student, but a family member, and friend. I have been so lucky to be able to take part in this program for three years in a row. During this time I have grown so much and discovered passions that I had no clue I had. Every year the program improves which makes it even better and Michelangelo is always open to suggestions, which also makes the program great. After three years I have gotten a lot more than just language credit. I have life long friends, unforgettable stories, and a new family. So happy ten year anniversary, and I hope that the program is around for another ten years.


       Jordan McSweeney, University of Rhode Island Graduate Student


My summer spent in San Demetrio Corone was one I will never forget.  Us Americans came to the small town in Calabria with a slight idea of what we were in store for.  Besides having the opportunity to study abroad, we also had the unique opportunity to be completely immersed in the culture.  Life is simple in San Demetrio, we had food in our stomachs, a roof over our heads, and studying to do.  The simple way of life is the highlight, at least for me personally.  Alongside this there were excursions elsewhere, such as to meet Oscar winner Mauro Fiore, trips to the beautiful beach of Sibari, and to the unreal region of Puglia where we had a great time relaxing for a weekend.  This is also, where I learned the joy of spiting my fear of heights as we jumped off cliffs in the water.

I made friends with locals and many of my fellow students and we keep in touch thanks to the marvels of technology.  You will find that all the people are there to help you regardless of what initial language barriers you will face.  San Demetrio is home to some of the friendliest people you will meet in your lives.  Not to mention the kids who are some of the funniest people I have ever met in my life.  Also, the food in town is amazing, let me tell you there is more truth then you could ever imagine in the general stereotype of Italian eating.

All in all, I urge you to check out the De Rada Institute.  Prepare for a summer that will change your life.    

                                                               Matt Merin, University of Rhode Island


This program was incredible! This town was perfect for learning the language because they only speak Italian. I have learned so much from this experience. I think everyone should take part in this program!

                                   Roxanne De Luca, University of Rhode Island


De Rada è il migliore! An incredible experience thanks to the people + town of San Demetrio. I am so fortunate to have had the experience.

                                 Julianne Wojno, Boston College


A great experience all around, the people treat you as if you've lived there your whole life as you become a close-nit family through the process. I miss many people from the town. The blossoming film program shows incredible amounts of potential and includes training with professional style equipment while learning to hone and establish your own sense of style when working and shooting with the beautiful Sony AX2000 camera. I will never forget my experiences in San Demetrio and strongly recommend the program to all film majors or anyone who is interested in film, as a chance to be apart of a phenomenal experience.

Steve Parrillo, University of Rhode Island


Great opportunity to be submerged into the Italian culture. You leave with several new close friends, school credit and new lessons! San Demetrio is a family in its own, and I’m so thankful I took the opportunity to study in the De Rada Program! I speak Italian better than before, had a fun nightlife and am encouraged to travel more in the future! 

                                                                   Kelly Musslewhite, Baylor University


San Demetrio was an experience that I will never forget. From the beaches of Puglia to Sibari the scenary was unforgettable! The Italian people are so fabulous and welcoming! Each day was a new experience and each night out I was able to learn so much. Loved, loved, loved San Demetrio and hopefully one day I will return!

Danielle Smith, University of Rhode Island


Coming from Northern Europe, learning a language from a different language group can be a challenge. This is why living in a small town of Southern Italy makes the process slightly easier.

There I opportunity to make use of the language everyday, and in many cases it is absolutely necessary. The small town of San Demetrio Corone is very safe and friendly, with many different characters. Doing only beginners Italian through one month gives you the opportunity to start understanding and keep small conversations, but to avoid the confusion of misunderstandings a longer stay is necessary. The program gives the opportunity to learn a lot, but as with everything, you have to make an effort yourself to learn. I really enjoyed my stay in San Demetrio, and am highly likely to return in the future.

                       Gudny Flatabф, Galway- Mayo Institute of Technology (Norway)


The best food you’ll ever have.

Jeremy Mallin, University of Rhode Island


The De Rada program provides students with a full immersion into the Italian language and culture. The setting of San Demetrio Corone gives students the chance to see the true Italian way of life that a touristic city could not give.

Katrina Tallarico, University of Rhode Island


The De Rada program was one of the best times I have ever had. The town is filled with good people and experiences. The La Lunas are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and when you arrive they truly treat you like you are a part of their family. The curriculum is more than fair and a great way to earn some extra credits by learning the language. I honestly do not want to leave and an 100% sure I will return next year. If you want culture, fun, sights, the best food ever, and an unforgettable time this program is for you.

Michael Simon, University of Rhode Island


Summer 2009


    This was the best thing I have done in my life so far! The experience was like no other. Everyone here is a big family and you instantly become part of it when you get here. The things I experienced and the people I met, I will never forget. The La Luna's are one of a kind and I will miss them dearly.

Lisa M. Ariosto, University of Rhode Island,


(E-mail written by Lisa after the program:)

  Ciao Professor,
  I want to go back! Really though, I want to thank you and your entire family from the bottom of my heart because you all made the program as wonderful as it was. My experience this summer is something that I will never forget. Nothing here in the States can compare to San Demetrio and I am so happy that I followed through and went.


     Coming back to San Demetrio was great. The food and the people are so nice and always help you. The program is great because the family atmosphere that is created.

Kevin McSweeney, University of Rhode Island,


    The experience in San Demetrio Corone was excellent. I met lots of great people and made lots of friends. It was my second year in the program and I enjoyed it even more this year. The teachers and people who help out are great and all very nice. The towns is great to learn in and it is small enough so you feel at home in no time. I feel like the people I met during the past two years are part of my family now.

Jordan McSweeney, University of Rhode Island


(E-mail written by Jordan after the program)

   Come stai? Io tutto bene ma mi manca l'Italia. Me and my brother really wish that we could have stayed longer in Italy because coming back to R.I. everything just seems boring. We are already thinking about coming back next year! I know you mentioned that you might need help setting up the website and running things and me and my brother are more than willing to help out. How are things in San Demetrio now that the Americans are gone? Say hi to everyone for me and tell them that me and my brother miss them all! It is funny I feel like I have family in the town now and I feel like I will be coming back for the rest of my life at least on vacation!




    I've lived in big, impersonal cities all my life so it was a wonderful experience to be welcomed into a warm, friendly Italian town. Learn with good food, good people, and good wine - how else to spend a better summer?

The program also has more innovative ways of teaching than do other programs - everything is interactive, immersive, creative and adventurous!

Tina Wang, Harvard University,

currently graduate student at Columbia University

(Two e-mails written by Tina after she left the program and traveled to Florence and Rome:)

    Michelangelo, I bought watermelon gelato in Florence and it was terrible!! I couldn't compare to Stilla's at all, because the stores in touristy Florence use fake watermelon syrup! and I got the granite limone, and it was terrible because they didn't use real lemons the way Bar Centrale does. aghhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I'm never getting it again here. I think we got spoiled food wise in San Demetrio. haha.



    Please tell Luigi and Stilla. I never ordered gelato or granite ever again, either in Firenze or in Roma. never again on my whole trip.



    Studying abroad in Calabria was a fulfilling experience. Interacting with the people and culture has provided a true Italian experience. I studied Italian all through college but in this past month I have learned the most. The people I have met and the things I have learned will stay with me forever. I will never forget the wonderful experience!

                                             Monica Olden, University of Rhode Island, graduate student

(E-mail written by Monica after the program:)

    Ciao Prof. La Luna
    Sorry for the delayed thank you, I have finally settled back in the New York and started working. I just wanted to thank you again for a wonderful summer in Calabria! I learned so much about the food, people, and culture. I made a lot of friends and have kept in touch with some people from San Demetrio. The experience was more than I ever anticipated. You and your family couldn't have been more generous and determined to make sure we all had a good time as well as a true Italian experience. I will always remember my summer in San Demetrio, hopefully I can return one day (soon)! Please say hello to your family and send them a big thank you! Hope everything is good with you and that you enjoyed the rest of your summer.

  Upon choosing to attend the summer program in San Demetrio, my expectation were very high, and I am very happy to say that I was not disappointed. The faculty of the De Rada Institute is very experienced in immersing students of the Italian language of all levels, so that even beginning students are able to take full advantage of what is available. For me the month I've spent in San Demetrio was a truly life altering experience; the people, their culture and the generosity of everyone I met will not be soon forgotten. Without a doubt I will recommend this program, or any other that is affiliated with the De Rada Institute to anyone who wants to learn Italian, and become acquainted with the beautiful country of Italy.

Johnathon Loden, Santa Monica College,


This has been my first time to Italy and had been one of the best experience of my life by far. The people here could not have been any nicer and are extremely welcoming wherever you go. The scenery is beautiful and I will never forget our trip to Puglia. I have never seen such an amazing place! The friends I have made will continue to be my friends ever when I go home. They are some of the funniest people I know.

I am so happy I came to San Demetrio and  made memories that will last a lifetime! :)

Elissa Owens, University of Rhode Island,


 This past month in San Demetrio was absolutely amazing. It was one of the best experience of my life. I will never forget the amazing people that live here and can't wait to come back and visit! San Demetrio now feels like a second home for me and it will forever have a place in my hearth. I would recommend this program for everyone!

Kelly Feaster, Suny Albany,


    Studying abroad in San Demetrio was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I never thought a foreign country could feel like home but the people of San Demetrio made it just for that. From the restaurants to the beaches, I love San Demetrio. Good food, good wine, good people. Everybody is always friendly from "mattina" to "notte", willing to help and willing to teach. It is the perfect place to learn a language and make friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

Michael Vieira, University of Rhode Island,


    This program allows for a full immersion experience. It is a fast placed academic program that stresses not only language, but a total cultural experience. Students experience the true Italian way of life as they become part of the family and the community of San Demetrio Corone.

I will remember the places visited and lessons learned. Nothing could make me forget the friendships made with fellow students and locals.

Heidi Dotson, University of Rhode Island,


    This place was amazing! It was an unforgettable experience. The people were incredibly nice and caring, it was like a second family. The food was out of this world and I loved learning how to cook. The excursions and weekend trips were fun! I would LOVE to come back again next year.

Laura Andrew, University of Rhode Island,


    The De Rada and URI Summer Program in Italy is a blast. From the very start the program is full of events for the students to learn and speak Italian. Calabria is a beautiful region and San Demetrio is a small place where everyone knows everyone. The people of San Demetrio are laid back and friendly, everyone says "ciao, buongiorno, buonasera" everytime we walk down the street. San Demetrio is a safe place. I made tons of friends and met some of the nicest people here. The class was fun and we were able to speak Italian with the locals right as we stepped out of school. I learned so much Italian in 1 month. I hope to visit again.

P.S. The FOOD is incredible!!! (especially GELATO!) GRAZIE :)

Courthey DeSousa, University of Rhode Island,

graduate student and high school teacher


    The program is very organized and is very thorough and realistic. We got to see Italy first hand and it made speaking and learning Italian much easier. I LOVE San Demetrio and I can't wait to come back.

 Amy DeBlasio, University of Rhode Island,


  I have had so much fun in this one month and learned so much about Italy and it's culture. I am honored to have had this experience, and urge others to take some time to meet these amazing people in this amazing town.

Kelly Doino, Suffolk Country Community College,


    San Demetrio has been wonderful. The people are the most friendly, warm, welcoming people I have ever met. San Demetrio is so beautiful. I made a ton of friends and memories during my month here. I would recommend this program to EVERYONE! I have learned more in this month than I ever had in any Italian class. It was a once a lifetime experience and am so thankful I was able to do it!

Peggy Doino, University of Rhode Island,

graduate student,


    I am extremely grateful that I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime by coming here to San Demetrio Corone. Everyone welcomes us with open arms and loving hearts. This is one studying vacation that I will remember forever. I can not wait to share stories from my experience with everyone. I highly recommend this program to everyone! When you are surrounded by beautiful views, beautiful people, and just an overall amazing atmosphere, how could you not want to return to the most beautiful place in the world!

Erin Guyette, University of Rhode Island,


    This whole experience was absolutely amazing. I enjoyed everything about it.

Thanks you so much to Michelangelo plus family!!!

Brandon Saccoccio, University of Rhode Island,


    This past month in San Demetrio was fantastic! I loved getting to use my Italian in real situations and settings every single day (and night). The things I learned here, and the friends I made I will never forget.

 Kathryn Gendron, University of Rhode Island,

graduate student and high school teacher



Summer 2008

     San Demetrio is a beautiful town in Calabria, Italy. I had an amazing experience through the summer abroad program. I was able to meet so many different people and learned a lot about Italian language and culture. I highly recommend the trip for anyone who wants to get an authentic Italian experience. I fell in  love with San Demetrio and cannot wait to return for a visit! 

Kaitlin Steinberger, University of Rhode Island


    The experience of living in San Demetrio for a month was very unique. I was surprised to see that I was immediately comfortable staying here, only knowing a few simple Italian words (“ciao”, “piacere”, “per favore” and “mi chiamo Carolina”). Each day in San Demetrio made me learn something new about myself and my Italian heritage. I can’t wait to bring all that I’ve learned about Italian culture back to the United States.

Carolyn Di Micco, University of Rhode Island


(Email from Carolyn after one year from being in San Demetrio:)


    Hi Dr.LaLuna! How are you? I miss you and San Demetrio, and everyone there! I heard Tommaso just left, and I have misplaced my gelato recipe, but I have been dying to make bacio and fig gelati! Do you have Tomasso's basic gelato recipe?
I hope this summer is going well. I really wish I could have come back this summer, but money has been a little tight. I'm working in a new restaurant this summer with an Italian-American owner and an Italian-born chef. I'm having a great time with them, and I've been trying to have some conversations in Italian with the chef. They found out that I learned to make pizza dough and tagliatelle last year in San Demetrio, so they want me to start making it for the restaurant.
[...] I think about our summer abroad everyday, especially lately. I really hope I can come back next summer. If not, San Demetro, you and your family will always be in my heart. I tell everyone that a piece of my heart will stay in Calabria forever - and it's true.

Thank you so much for everything last summer. You made my life so much more enriched, and you made me feel just like family.


Carolyn Di Micco


    It was a lot of fun! It’s beautiful here, I have never been somewhere so beautiful before!

Desireerose Frasson, JWU (Johnson & Wales University)


     San Demetrio is an amazing place, the people are so friendly and welcoming. It’s a great experience to come and learn the language and culture.

Donna Mascoli, University of Rhode Island


     Coming to San Demetrio was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The cultural differences are incredible and it is so nice to get a taste of a different lifestyle. I made great friends, enjoyed great food, and learned a lot of Italian… you really learn when immersed with the local people and culture. It was a one of a kind experience.

Emily Labate, University of Rhode Island


This trip was a great experience. Italy is a beautiful country. Never a dull moment!

Erika DeGraphenried, University of Rhode Island


    This program opened my eyes to the Italian culture. I had lots of fun in the cooking labs and learned how to make good Italian food. My knowledge of the language in one month has improved a good amount. I want to come back to Italy as soon as I can. The program allowed me to meet great people and I hope to stay in touch with them.

Jordan McSweeney, University of Rhode Island


     Coming to Italy and participating in the De Rada program is a life changing experience. The food is amazing and you make many new life friends.

Kevin McSweeney, University of Rhode Island


   Thank you for a truly unforgettable experience. I have never eaten so much or so well in my life! Grazie mille!

Kate Petterson, University of Rhode Island



Summer 2007  

      San Demetrio Corone summer abroad program has forever changed my life. This is a one of a kind experience and it’s something I’ll never forget.

Lou DiFante, University of Rhode Island


      I will never forget my stay in San Demetrio Corone. Living with a family was a wonderful experience and I was able to meet the most amazing people from Italy as well as my own university. With De Rada I was able to see Italy and earn credit towards my minor at the same time. This truly was the trip of a lifetime, Mille Grazie!

Chelsea D’andrea, University of Rhode Island


      One of the best experiences of my life. So much fun and would do it again.

Laura Glynn, University of Rhode Island


      The people of San Demetrio are wonderful and friendly. They really put in an effort to speak and teach us about Italy. I had a wonderful time.

Colleen Robinson, University of Rhode Island


      This program was very helpful for learning more of the language and culture. Everyone in the town is nice and helpful with anything you may need. The De Rada center was helpful with homework, tutoring, and just general questions.

      The town is very small, yet the perfect size for meeting people and having an enjoyable month. There are many opportunities to visit different places and learn new things.

      I would recommend this program for anyone who has an interest in Italian language and culture. In one month you can learn more about the culture and language than you can in a year at URI. 

Jess Nocero, University of Rhode Island


     The people of San Demetrio could not have been nicer or more welcoming to us. It was so easy to make friends and learn about the culture of the town.

Kaitlin Tibbetts, University of Rhode Island


      This program is the only program that emerges you into Italian culture completely. You would not have this kind of culture experience in a big city. You will become part of San Demetrio’s community. 

April Morrison, University of Rhode Island


      I recommend this program to anyone who wants to experience small town Italian culture, meet grate people, and take home memories that will last a lifetime.

Michael Camadeco + Britney Findersen, University of Rhode Island


      The pizza will give you a smile on your face and a twinkle in your eye. San Demetrio is like one big family and they are always willing to feed you. Bring clothes with an elastic waste.

Candice Harsasian, University of Rhode Island


      Visiting San Demetrio was like being adopted by a large Italian family for a month!


Ashley Raczka, University of Rhode Island


      My experience in the DeRada institute’s summer session was nothing short of amazing. My experience with the different types of Italian culture was something I will remember for a very long time. The food and people here are all outstanding. I would like to shape my lifestyle around the one I have discovered here in San Demetrio, it’s more than worth seeing twice.

Andrea Mallin, University of Rhode Island


      This experience was a once in a lifetime event. The culture, language, and the country are all beautiful, and will not soon be forgotten.

Rene Boudria, University of Rhode Island


Summer 2006


            The De Rada program in San Demetrio Corone epitomizes the purpose of a full immersion language program in Italy. The professors are highly proficient, the activities are well structured and fun, the people are encouraging, and the atmosphere is perfect. Whether it’s ordering “un cornetto” at breakfast, buying fruit from the local “fruttivendolo” or playing cards at dusk with a local, there are more than enough opportunities to practice the language, many of which are outside the classroom. For me, my favorite part was living with a family in town. I felt right at home all of the time, and learned more about Italian culture and life from my experiences with the family than I could have ever imagined.


Kara Succoso, Boston College


           Is there is any place that exhibits the true essence of southern Italy, it has to be Calabria. The hospitality of the people coupled with the beauty of the surrounding landscape is second to none. I’ve had an absolutely unforgettable experience growing with new friends and having a blast doing so. Would certainly recommend to anyone that may prefer a totally unique experience over the typical study abroad program. Viva L’Italia!

 Michael Corsi, University of Rhode Island


        This is a very good program if you come looking for the right things. It is a cultural immersion program. This means you will be learning a lot about Calabrian culture, especially the Italo-Albanian culture. If you want roman culture, go to Rome. Almost no one here speaks English, so it is great for your Italian. I recommend coming with previews Italian experience for the trip to San Demetrio, might be rough. Another important thing to remember is that the courses are by necessity intensive. Come prepared to do some work and you won’t be surprised. There is a lot of opportunity to try conversing around town, and you will really get a feeling of small town life in southern Italy. The people are very friendly. I recommend this program for anyone who wants to improve their speaking and comprehension of Italian, get something different from the usual tourism experience, and is willing to do a little work and try new things.

Wade Carruth, University of Virginia 



Chris Weber, University of Rhode Island


      This program was an invaluable experience. The setting, a small “comune” in the heart of Calabria, the very instructive trips and talks, and the hospitality of the Italian people made this a month to remember. The Mediterranean culture and the Italian way of life are mixed with Albanese tradition, making for a fascinating and educative vacation.

Nicolae Done, Harvard College


      The De Rada Institute was a great experience to learn the Italian culture and a great way to learn the language. Everyone in San Demetrio was extremely helpful and patient with first time speakers of the Italian language. Everyone is also extremely nice and they love to feed you.

Adam Fulep, University of Rhode Island


        Studying abroad in San Demetrio Corone, Calabria has been a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Great food, great friends, great time! Bellissimo!!!

Jonathan Kaplan, University of Rhode Island


        The culture in this town is amazing. I don’t think I can recall walking more than 5 min without being greeted by smiling faces and people happy to have us there. I’ve met so many people here that I will never forget.

Valerie Elieson, Framingham State College


       This program gives a student the wonderful opportunity to make new and everlasting friends, and opens your eyes to Italian culture.

Meg Parkins, University of Rhode Island


We are delighted to publish this wonderful piece by Jenny Latimer, which is part of the poetical diary she wrote during her trip to San Demetrio Corone, Calabria:


I drift back to dreaming, of what, I couldn’t say.
Of a future as unimaginable as the string of syllables that now pour forth filling my spirit in a way nothing else can –
words formed to meaning –
my future now, my desire and my muse.
My predictions will be as sure as if I had predicted that I would be here, now, at all, in Italy.

I can’t get enough.
And I never will.
Beauty in the sense of spirit, heart, enchantment and soul – resonates from the landscape.
It is this beauty, that exists in the dirt, the fruit, the faces and the hearts of Calabria’s people
it is this beauty that will find its place in my heart forever;
it is the comfort of a family I never knew I had,
the ease of happiness, companionship and fortunately or not, love.

Maybe I know in these moments that there is so much more to come.
There is so much to be gained and so much I will have to leave behind.
In this little world that will become my everything.

But first I fall for the air, the intonations, the language
– I fall for the memories; I fall for the act of living that is so apparent.

The moments here are like a drug, I am already addicted.

The moments here are thicker heavier, richer – they are intense and loaded and each one is frozen in its own perfection, as unique as a snowflake.
I can remember the moments, the people – each stands clearly in my mind as though captured in a trap that allows for entrance but will never let go.

So much to gain, and so much that I will have to leave behind.

Calabria chisels its initials into my heart even from the first moments that I breathe the sweet air.

I surrender to this world.

At ease on this little hillside where the rush of the modern day has yet to touch.
Where everything at least seems simple.

It is easy to laugh.
And perhaps far too easy too fall in love.

But my inhibitions slip away as I delve into this saturated world.
I give myself – my ability to lose, my essence of life, my silly fleeting desires, my wholly complete soul, I give it all, to Italian, to Italy, and don’t look back.
I am Italy’s and she is mine. Every moment form here on in is, in its own way, a love story.

And away I go.

I lose nothing. I recreate myself in the faces of the people here.
I give birth to a passion in a way that only this place could allow.
I concentrate my heart in everything I touch;
my skin, transparent, accepts all that this world has to offer.
Every sense is intrigued, enchanted, captivated.

It will be images. Scents. Sounds. Even touches. That will remind me now, of then.

And with equal desire I will want to cry and laugh.
I will want to tell everyone this story,
but will realize
that I only lose its perfection
with every word pronounced.

                                              Jenny Latimer, University of Rhode Island
                                                                             10 . 2006



Here it is the letter of Barbara, who came to our program two years in a row:


         I spent my summers in San Demetrio two years in a row.  This is the best summer program for people who really want to learn Italian, from what I have experienced and heard.  Oppose to other language programs abroad, usually in major tourist cities, such as Florence, where English is spoken more often - you can't learn or grasp a language as easily since English is always spoken; however, in San Demetrio, not only are you forced to use the language, but you want to.   I had studied the Italian language in high school and throughout my first year of college, and it was not until my first trip to San Demetrio that I finally learned the language and came back more fluent than ever.  My second trip to San Demetrio furthered my Italian language skill even more.


        The language is not the only thing going for this place, but the culture as well.  San Demetrio has a very rich history, dating back to the 1500s, as well as the surrounding towns, such as Sibari, in which archeologists recently excavated an ancient Greek city.  There are always educational seminars, where you learn about the Arbëresh and Italian culture, as well as the history of San Demetrio.


       The people are measured on a whole different level.  "San Demetresi" are the kindest, most heart-warming people I have ever met in my life.  They are always willing to help you, from help with your Italian homework to driving you to class early in the morning. All you have to do is wave your hand to a passing car, and ask "un passaggio?" and they are more than happy to drive you to class, especially for those long nights when the last thing you want to do is walk to class.


        A typical day for me in San Demetrio was waking up and walking out to my balcony (which had the typical brown, Italian doors that you just swing open, as seen in movies) to an incredible sunrise over a magnificent landscape, then heading out for my day of classes.  Sometimes a "passaggio" would get me to Stilla (the breakfast cafe), other times I would walk the half-mile to Stilla or class and burn more calories than I ever did for the entire year.  At Stilla, I would sit down on the typical European cafe tables with my croissant and espresso in hand, (although you can get anything, from a cappuccino to a shot of whiskey if you'd really like) and people-watch. Classes started between 8-11 am, depending on the classes you take.  After breakfast, it was time for class.  I would sit in class with my Italian-speaking professors who did not allow you to speak English (hence, you're learning the language!!!) and learn everything from grammar to Dante for about 1 1/2 hours or 3, once again depending on your class schedule.  I would then come home and sunbathe out on the balcony, or even go to the beach - transportation provided by the locals.  If not the beach, I would either do my school-work or catch up on some sleep I missed out on the night before.  San Demetrio has a siesta in which shops are closed for a certain time during the afternoon so people can go home for lunch; it also acts as an ideal break in the day for us "americani".  For lunch, you have to pay for it by yourself, but the 3 euros spent are not that much and completely worth it ( I remember I went home to a local Italian deli in NJ and got the same exact lunch I had gotten in San Demetrio for 3x the price).  During siesta, you either did homework, went to the beach, slept, or did anything else your heart desired.  Dinner started at either 8 or 9.  You had dinner at Fusion every single night, but you didn't mind because the food was delicious and you didn't even have to move out of your seat if you wanted to go out that night and relax because Fusion was the place to eat, drink, dance, and socialize, but don't get the impression that Fusion was the only place we stayed; the locals would always invite you and include you in any plans they had made for the night.  The night can range anywhere from partying at Fusion, to going to a major concert/festival in the nearby city Cosenza, going to the beach, or going to a discoteca.  I preferred studying in my room, of course, with corona in hand. 


        So basically what I am trying to get at is, you get to party and use the language while you'e at it! What more can a college student ask for.  On the other hand, if you are an adult learner, you have your fun too.  The locals will invite you for dinner at their house, teach you how to cook, teach you/tell you anything that you want to know, etc..

San Demetrio was truly an incredible experience, I wil never forget the people or the town and hope to  make more trips in my lifetime! 

                                                    Barbara Sapozhnikov, University of Rhode Island


During my time in San Demetrio I stayed with Mamma Fifina and she is the best! She is always upbeat and cheerful, and she's always cooking something yummy. Also, she is a better soccer player than me.

                                                         Kristin Del Ponte, University of Rhode Island



Summer 2005


This program was by far the best experience in my life.  San Demetrio was the perfect place to experience Italy for the first time!  The people, the food, the scenery, and even the classes made this a perfect month!  I can’t wait to come back next year! If only the people of San Demetrio would kidnap me!   

                                Chelsea LaRosa, University of Rhode Island


If you want to experience Italian culture, this is the program for you.

                                         Leanne Gaffney, Harvard University



I feel like I've been kidnapped by very nice people.  If you're looking for total immersion, come to Calabria, and be ready to eat well, meet some of the nicest people you'll ever encounter, and learn a lot of Italian!

                                             Chelsea Grate, Harvard University


The De Rada program was a great introduction to the Italian language.  Living in San Demetrio Corone was an invaluable experience- The towns people were friendly, the scenery was breathtaking, and the program gave me a foundation on which I can further study Italian.                                                                             

                                             Casey N. Cep, Harvard University


My experience in San Demetrio is one that I will never forget. It was like being at home away from home. I felt welcomed from the second I walked into the town. It was like the people couldn’t do enough for me. Every morning, we walked out of our apartment to dozens of friendly smiles ready to greet us. Every night, a home cooked meal awaited us, as though I was eating at home with my family. While I was in San Demetrio, I was fully submerged in the wonderful culture of Italy, and made friends that will last me a lifetime.                                                                                                                                                                 Lisa Peraino, University of Rhode Island


My experience in Italy is one I will never forget. San Demetrio is a small community filled with people who know how to have fun and live life to the fullest. Everyone was so hospitable to the students and treated us like family from the minute we arrived. Being in Italy helped my Italian skills improve almost instantly. I would highly recommend this program to anyone, and I hope to visit San Demetrio again next year!                                           Ashley Thomas, University of Rhode Island



 The following is the wonderful evaluation given by Alex, a student from Harvard

which we would like to thank for his participation to our program:


  Spending a month in Calabria was an amazing experience!

For me, the idea of “cultural immersion” has now a new meaning.

When I first arrived in Calabria, Mario, the absolutely sweet driver

who was supposed to pick me up, did not speak any English.

I had no previous experience with Italian, so I was barely able

to say a few words. However, after 30 minutes of speeding on

the tortuous roads of Calabria, I realized that this was the

beauty of the program! You have no opportunities to cheat

by speaking English instead of Italian. You have to adapt

quickly and find a way to communicate with others! I knew

I was in for a blast!

The next morning I had my first Italian class.

Lori, our teacher, was the nicest person in the world. 

Because of the small size of the class, we had a really

intimate atmosphere, being able to stop the lesson if we

did not understand something. Lori took the time to answer

all our questions. Due to the schedule of my exams at Harvard,

I had to enter the program late, but Lori was so nice that she spent

with me all the time that I needed to catch up. She was the best part

of my Italian experience!

Moreover, I was impressed by the number of “labs”

and “outdoor activities” that Michelangelo, the head of the program,

prepared for us. Right after our first lesson, I was amazed to see

that although it was mid summer the parking in front of our school

was full of cars. The ragazzi from San Demetrio were taking us for a picnic.

We went to a lake and then to another village… And then to a party…

And then to another party! The parties in San Demetrio never end!

Nor do those in Pompei or Naples, cities where we went on field trips.

We also had a great time taking cooking lessons from Michelangelo’s mother...

I haven’t cooked anything, but that didn’t stop me from feasting

on the goodies prepared by La Mamma and her aides.

                   The month that I spent in the beautiful Calabria went by so fast…

We were able to focus on learning Italian while having lots of fun!

It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it!

  Alex Radu, Harvard University



I really enjoyed the summer in San Demetrio!!!

I could have an unforgettable wonderful experience with my friends.  I learned not only Italian language, but also the culture and the tradition of Calabria through the lectures, the labs, many kinds of activity and the conversation with the people in San Demetrio.  And I really appreciate the hospitality of the townspeople.

If you want to experience real Italian life, San Demetrio is the place you should visit.

I would never forget the great experiences and the people I met here…

              Thank you San Demetrio, all my friends, and our Italian mamma, Anna!! You’re the best chef in San Demetrio!!!

                               Yukari Abe, California State University, Long Beach


Being in Italy was a once in a lifetime experience for me in which I learned a lot!  The Italian culture and language has become a part of me that I will never forget.         

                                       K. F., University of Rhode Island


I really enjoyed living and learning Italian in Calabria.  The small town allowed ever student to gain a better grasp of the Italian culture through our visits to the vineyard, the bakeries, and of course the dinner at Fifina’s country house.   

                                                 Jenn Sifers, Harvard University 


                The De Rada Program offers tremendous cultural oppurtunities for a price that is catered to a college student's budget. The program's strength lies in its location in San Demetrio Corone. The townspeople were kind, accommodating, and generous, always willing to share a friendly conversation or words of advice. The field trips, coupled with the constant interaction in a small, close knit community, give the program an intimate, personal feeling. You leave trulyfeeling a part of the San Demetrio Corone community.

                                            Antony Paul Domestico, Harvard University


After two days the locals call you by name to say hello.  Everybody smiles.    The pub knows your drink.  Like living the Italian version of “Cheers”.  San Demetrio Corone is truly an experience I will carry with me for many years to come. It is difficult to find something that is not beautiful about the small community, and its great populace. “Allora, F U L V I O”!!! Great food, great people, great times.  A sunny little town with bright smiling people who are each and every one about living a full life and having fun doing it. Mario cooks like I deliver jokes – PERFECTLY.  Come for the pizza – stay for the gelato and ape.                                                                                                         Ryan Bankas, University of Rhode Island 


                       Adult learners evaluations 2005

                The following five evaluations are from adult learners and a graduate student.  They show how our program is open to anybody and interests not only undergraduate students.  


            The De Rada Italian Institute, by far, offers the finest experience for adult learners. During the summer program, in 2005, I was able to experience the opulent language and culture of Calabrese. From the time I arrived, I met people in various situations.  First of all, lunch and dinner were situated at the institute itself, and we watched and participated in the preparation of the meals. Not only did we get to sample all the foods, but we were also able to take away with us some of the most unique southern Italian recipes.

            In addition to the abundant feasting, we interacted with the locals at the Sunday markets and in the stores themselves. All of the store owners were receptive to our arrival, and they did everything possible to make us feel welcome and comfortable. Furthermore, the adults who taught and facilitated for the program were always readily available and more then eager to accommodate us in all our needs. Consequently, each and every moment was saturated with something to do, learn, or see. We were included in all of the typical events in the town, including soccer games, picnics, parties, hikes, cultural activities, etc.  Then, we learned through the interactive courses and the visits with many of the local professionals. Of course, we visited picturesque and extraordinary sites, where we were given live commentaries in both Italian and English. Overall, this program is conducive to the needs and desires of adult learners, beginners or otherwise.

            Located in San Demetrio, the DeRada Italian Institute is by far the most enriching, diverse, and undeniably satisfying immersion program available for adult learners and students alike.

            The enrichment begins the first day you arrive, as you meet the locals who welcome you with an insurmountable hospitality.  Subsequently, you share meals with them, and then you meet the local artisans, craftsmen, and professionals who ultimately draw you into the opulent, if not humble, world and culture of the Calabrese.

                 Not only is the program enriching in the very people of this region, but in the diversified events, outings, and courses.  For example, we enjoyed a guided tour of La Sila, a picturesque mountain, in the middle of which we picnicked for the entire afternoon.  With unbelievable vistas of the mountain’s many resources, we feasted on traditional regional cuisine and engaged ourselves in the company of the locals who accompanied us.  Nevertheless, the diversity continues with the courses offered, ranging from Beginning Italian to Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Designed within and around such a broad range of experiences, any student can appreciate this program.

            In a purely satisfying experience, the time spent in San Demetrio is indimenticabile!  In fact, I’m already planning my return trip! 

                                    Candice Simmons, Candice Simmons,

                        Instructor of English at the College of Johnson and Wales


The concept of submersing students in a culture rich with history and beauty is a great one.  A student not only studies a language or a subject, instead he becomes sociologist, studying a culture which thrives daily with a colorful, warm people. 

                        Maria Covino, High School Teacher, New Jersey


The courses are extremely fast paces and intense, so be prepared for the ride.  San Demetrio Corone is probably the best place to improve your Italian; given that the locals are over-the-top friendly and generous to visitors.  The natural beauty of this area is amazing.  

            Bridget Coughlin, English Teacher in High School, Florida


        The following is the long letter of evaluation written by Joanna J. Gjoka,

a graduate student who was with us for two months and didn’t get bored at all. 

I would like to thank Joanna for her suggestions, which I accept with pleasure.

In a few months we made some very important steps, which show our progress. 

We recently bought a big palace (called Palazzo De Rada) which will be the

students’ dorms, a computer center, and a place to study. At Palazzo De Rada

students will have a separate phone line; plus ADSL should arrive in San Demetrio

soon, and hopefully we can use it by next summer. Moreover for the summer 2006

we will have two new people who will help students with their needs and requests.


Michelangelo La Luna,



Summer 2005 (May 27- July 22nd) De Rada Institute. Evaluation.

I stayed in San Demetrio, Corone for the two-month session and I think it is the ideal place for one to learn, practice, and excel their Italian language skills. The classes are intense and although sometimes the material feels overwhelming it is not impossible.

            In the end you see the practical side of being intensively introduced to the grammar, the vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions, especially since in San Demetrio there is a very friendly environment and you are able to practice. I started from scratch and by the second week, I somehow started to think in Italian. I had not realized the impact and how much the people of the town had helped me and pushed me to practice what I had learned in class, it only occurred to me when I went from a trip to Capri (where everyone spoke English and I was the only one speaking in Italian). The book was also excellent and very easy to understand.

The seminars, lectures, and labs were also great and very much fun. I now have a whole picture of the Italian, as well as the Arbereshe culture and traditions. However, I would try to organize or have a vision of the schedule earlier on so everyone can figure out their program accordingly. It would have been great to know all the places, which we would travel in advance. Napoli, and all the places we visited for the one long weekend, were all great, but I was actually very disappointed you could not organize a trip to Sicily in either session.

Transpiration was very accommodating in regards to the trips and visiting the different towns and museums. I enjoyed the local boys driving us around in the first session because you really get to meet the local people and I had a 100 per cent sense of security, although some of the other students were not very comfortable with the transportation in that 1st session.

The town and the people will get out of their way to accommodate you and to make you really appreciate and remember your stay here. There is a 300 per cent sense of hospitality. The people here are very respectful, genuine, and friendly. There are three names you really need to know. Anna-Maria (La mamma), Nella, and Fifina who will temporarily replace your family while here. They cooked for us, they cleaned, and they did everything without really expecting anything back (although I did buy Nella a green shirt to match her eyes). 

The food was unbelievable when they cooked for us, and the many people who took the cooking classes with them really enjoyed them. I enjoyed the 1st sessions eating agreements, especially since I really wanted to be part of a small program. Also, I would have rather have had a launch meal instead of dinner. In the second session the food at Fusion started to get a bit of a routine. I regretfully have to say that I definitely had a little too much of what it seem the same kind of pasta. The stuff at Fusion Bar however makes it seem much better. They are grand. I think this is definitely fixable since this was the first 50 person group they had to handle.  Stilla, for our breakfast is one of the best bakeries I have ever encountered, better than most in Paris. The gelato is great and so is everyone who works there. However, the students need to understand that the Italian breakfast is not a direct translation to what an English/American breakfast is. There is no beacon, eggs or sausages. This is a bakery where you can have a variation of soft drinks, coffee, water and sweets (including gelato).

The over all program was fantastic and it has definitely bettered and advanced my understanding, comprehension, and ability to speak Italian. Some logistical suggestions would be to have a more detail language of information for students in English in advance assuming that they have never gotten outside of Pleasantville without their father driving the Dodge. You need to be very specific and give students options, especially about transpiration from the airport and the necessary. Also, the program needs to have one person, to whom everyone can go for all questions and complain, and who will be responsible to provide answers. The Director was great and tried to be very accommodating but you can only hit two birds with one stone once…

Some suggestions would be having a phone in the apartments for only incoming phones because it’s a necessity for more people, or having a separate line that students can use outside of the internet line and the line of the house. Having computers in the institute and the Collegio was very helpful as well, but students need to understand in advance the logical limits of having to use them and what the service providers and speed looks-like in Europe. There is no DSL

Again, the overall program was fantastic, the family, Michelangelo, and the people of the town really tried their best and gave to most of the students unforgettable memories and an appreciation of Italy. And if you were wondering, no you will not really get bored after two months. The town, nature, and people here are so beautiful that time flies.

 Thank you very much for all.     

                           Joanna J. Gjoka, NYU & Columbia University


Summer 2004


We are very happy and proud to post the following article written by of one of our best students.


Participant Report


The Best Way to Learn a Language

Go To a Small Town and Take a Course

By Roger Norum



      There are lots of ways to learn a language. You can take a foreign lover or spend evenings huddled in your room diligently reading grammars and listening to tapes. But physically being in the country where the language is spoken is the key to gaining proficiency in a language, and a language course is usually the best way to do it.


      What many people may not recognize is that choosing the location is one of the most important factors in deciding which program to attend. The time you spend outside the classroom is often as important as the time you spend in class. Language programs in large cities are usually big on amenities and activities, but occasionally small on individual student attention—depending on the size of the program. You’ll find no shortage of cultural events and trips to museums, but you probably won’t find the intimate cultural experience you might in a village or small town. Life in the big city may also allow you to fall back on speaking English.  But you didn’t break your piggy bank, bid a tearful farewell to loved ones, and travel all this distance just to end up speaking English, did you?


      In a small town or village, English is less spoken in rural areas than in cities. You are forced to speak the language you’re there to study. And because you are a new face in a small town, it will be hard to hide in the shadows. People will be honored that you’ve come to their hometown to learn their language and will welcome you, making it easier to make friends and feel at home.


      This past summer I was a student in such a program. I had wanted to learn Italian for years but never had time to take it in college. After researching the Internet for summer programs, I found the De Rada Italian Institute, a nonprofit school in southern Italy offering summer instruction in Italian language, literature, and history. The setting of enchanting rolling green hills just minutes from the Ionian sea promised an Italian experience much more tranquil than that of Rome or Florence. In the historically rich region of Calabria, San Demetrio Corone, is an idyllic retreat with beautiful churches, fascinating architecture, and magical light. In many ways San Demetrio is a typical small Italian town, one in which locals usually spend their evenings at one or two local bars or cafés and nearly everyone knows everyone.


      I was apprehensive when I learned there would be only six other students in the program that month (though a second session the following month had 25 participants). In fact, this turned out to be a blessing.  My daily classes were very personalized, allowing teachers to focus on my specific learning needs.


      However, my most rewarding experiences came from interactions outside of the classroom. I made friends with some local students on my first day and spent afternoons after class with them visiting local beaches, riding around town on scooters and, of course, sitting at bars drinking espresso. The food offered by the program was home-cooked every night by a local family, and we were taken on excursions to local and regional sights and areas of interest. I even spent some time hanging around a local Vespa repair shop, where I learned something about fixing motorbikes. In just one short month I made close friends with a few local Italians and learned to speak decent Italian.


      The De Rada Italian Institute ( is run by a former Harvard instructor with a doctorate in Italian literature and a native of the town where the program is held. The institute offers a host of merit- and need-based grants for students. Classes are small, with personalized instruction, and there is ample opportunity to pursue personal interests outside of the classroom. It is even possible to get a part-time job at one of the local establishments. Tuition, room and board is approximately $3,250 for one month.


      The following sites offer information on similar programs throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America:,,,



          Studying and living in San Demetrio has been a fantastic experience.  I have learned so much from the classes, the guest lecturers, and all the incredibly friendly people in this town.  I have really appreciated this wonderful opportunity.

-David Paltel, Harvard University



          San Demetrio is the ideal locale to study Italian.  The small-town sense of unity fosters interactions with nearly everyone and encourages friendships with peers.  There is simply no better place to learn Italian.

-Megan Rodgers, Bowdoin College


         The De Rada Italian Institute in San Demetrio Corone offers a fantastic opportunity to improve language skills and cultural immersion.  The small town provides a close community that functions as a classroom and a family unit.  Educationally, there is much to be learned at all the conferences, seminars, and labs.  This is what makes the program so unique and special.

- Sara Russo, University of Rhode Island


           What impressed me the most about the program in San Demetrio was the hospitality of the townspeople.  From the moment we arrived the youths of the town did everything they could to incorporate us into the culture of the town.  I learn as much from conversations with friends in the town as from the lessons.  I think this close interaction and friendship with the locals is an important aspect of this program that cannot exist in larger programs or in major cities.

- Daniel Mach, Harvard University


         My time here in San Demetrio was an amazing experience that couldn't be created anywhere else.  We were welcomed into the community with open arms.  The food was unforgetable.  La mamma prepared traditional Italian dishes and made us feel like members of the family.  Our lessons extended beyond the walls of the classroom to the market, the beach, the pub.  I don't want to fly home because San Demetrio has become a second home for me.  I can't wait to come back and visit my new Italian family.

- Leslie Wittenbraker, Bowdoin College


         The town of San Demetrio welcomed us as family.  I really felt like part of the community in a way that wouldn't be possible in a large city.  Dinners with the family, walks through the town, trips, and activities with local artisans teach about the culture in a way that no textbook can.  San Demetrio is beautiful and I would love to come back.

- Sarah Sclarsic, Harvard University


         From a thank-you letter to one of the scholarship programs that helped me get to Italy:

"I can’t thank you enough for the scholarship which enabled me to study in Italy this summer.  It was an amazing experience that otherwise would not have been possible for me. 

      I studied with the De Rada program, in a rural mountain town called San Demetrio Corone, located in the region of Calabria in southern Italy.   The town has a very rich heritage, which comes from an old mix of Italian and Albanian cultures.  The townspeople welcomed myself and the other students as family. 

        We ate traditional Italian dinners with our professor’s family, and also heard lectures by journalists and local artisans about the culture and history of the region."

- Sarah Sclarsic, Harvard University 


We are happy to put on this page a letter from one of the students who decided to stay with us for an extra month after the end of the program:


Justin Linam

August 29, 2004


“The Summer Language Program at the De Rada Institute was a most effective, most intensive experience with the Italian language and with the Italian people.  The program is immersive and strengthens all four language skill areas:  speaking, listening comprehension, writing, and reading comprehension.  I was also very impressed with the numerous “extra-curricular” activities:  the cooking lessons, the art and literature lectures, and the seminars on topics ranging from totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century to the traditional costumes of the ethnic Albanian immigrant communities in Calabria.  The richest and most memorable extra-curricular activity, however, was a conference held in San Demetrio Corone, a conference at which Carmine Abate, the prize-winning Calabrian author, presented his new novel, La Festa del Ritorno.  The De Rada students were all invited to give critical essays on the novel.  Our presentations were well received by the audience, but, more important, Carmine Abate was greatly impressed by our essays, not only because of our competent Italian language skills, but also because of our depth of critical understanding.  After the conference, Abate came to the De Rada Institute for an after-conference party, and we all took photos together.  He even autographed our copies of La Festa!  It was an amazing, unique, and enriching experience.

            I came to Italy not only to study language, however, but also to conduct some musical research.  I had planned to go to Sicily for a month after the program ended in order to interview and record folk musicians.  Unfortunately, fate intervened:  I broke my foot on my second day there and had to remain in San Demetrio Corone for my entire two-month stay.  Fortunately, the people of San Demetrio are among the most generous I have ever met, and I was taken in as an adopted son by no less than three different families!  They were always ready to drive me around or to cook me a multi-course meal.  Thanks to them, I was able to conduct my research and even enjoy myself, despite being in a knee-high cast and having to walk with crutches.  The people of San Demetrio made what could have been a horrible situation (imagine having to hobble around mountainous southern Italy with no car and no friends!) into a productive, highly-rewarding experience.          

            The De Rada Institute’s Summer Language Program not only increased my Italian language skills exponentially, but also provided a powerful, unforgettable introduction to Italian and Calabrian culture.  I had a wonderful time, and I made great friends whom I shall revisit many times in the future. 

Justin Linam, Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University    


Summer 2003


        My experience with the De Rada Italian Institute has been truly enlightening and worthwhile.  Not only has the Institute fulfilled my expectations with respect to my study of the Italian language but has surpassed them as well as allowed for a full immersion in the Italian culture.  The excursions were well organized and ambitious so that we were able to see all the major sights of Sicily.

          S. Demetrio, Calabria, is the perfect town to learn and speak Italian - the people are friendly and there's little if any chance to "cheat" and speak English.  I only wish I had discovered the De Rada Italian Institute sooner.

        - Judith Vasquez, Harvard University


        In every field of study there are limits that encumber the classroom experience, and a program like this non only breaks down those walls but creates a new classroom in which one is submerged in the culture and language.  The De Rada experience gives a student the opportunity to learn Italian, live la vita italiana, and love Italy.  And in a situation such as this there is nothing extra circular - every cappuccino, every conversation, every panorama is a part of the experience and forever becomes a part of the student when the program has finished.

       - Jess Burkle, Harvard University


        The Calabria-Sicilia program was everything I expected and more.  I felt immediately welcomed into a large family of Americans and Italians alike.  San Demetrio Corone provides the opportunity for a unique experience with warm people, great food, and a beautiful country setting.  Noto, Sicily, was  a perfect contrast.  We explored historic sites and cities.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the South of Italy and I can't wait to come back.

        - Lisa Lareau, Harvard University


        This program, for me, was an unforgettable experience.  Waking up every morning to the sun-soaked lands of Southern Italy was like waking into a dream in which I could interact with the intriguing locals, and take part in day-to-day Italian culture.  The largest part of my learning experience took place outside of the classroom, and with the fun Italians who quickly became our friends.  Everyone in San Demetrio and in Noto went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable & having fun.  I can't wait to come back next year.

         - Shirley Veronica Cardona, Harvard University


        I had a great time in Calabria and Sicily and I feel that I learned a great deal about Italian culture.  The scenery everywhere was beautiful and I  will never forget my time here.  I made great friendships and improved my Italian skills, and I'm sure I will return to Italy several more times in the future.  Living in Southern Italy for a month taught me much more than I think I would ever learn in Rome or Venice or any other tourist areas. 

    - Michael Corayer, Harvard University


       An excellent opportunity to see both Italy and Sicily in one month, and become immersed in the cultural traditions of historic towns.  As a beginner student with no knowledge of Italian, I left the country with an excellent grounding in the language due to the intensive classes as well as conversing in a real linguistic context.

       - Ayesha Daya,  GSAS, Harvard University


           The De Rada program offers complete immersion in Southern Italian culture.  Your language skills will improve dramatically, as you are forced to converse in Italian.  The people of S. Demetrio are incredible; warm and friendly and always eager to engage in conversation.  This was an incredible opportunity to live and study in Calabria and Sicilia and see much of the beauty and culture that Southern Italy has to offer.  I highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity.

           - Jeff Ryan, Amherst College


          The De Rada Summer Course strikes a terrific balance between giving you the opportunity to study the Italian language and explore the cultural avenues that it opens up. It is an intensive and individualized programme that caters to your every need.  There were only two of us in class taught by two teachers and this unquestionably differentiates this from any other course in Italy.  Its highly experienced staff complemented by labs and lectures adds an innovative dimension to learning . In the non academic areas, you will be able to indulge in the sensual delights that Calabria has to offer.  You will leave Italy acknowledging that it is a culinary paradise.  Learning how to cook Tiramisu, make olive oil and appreciate wine are some of the ways by which the course involves you in every sphere of Italian life.  The village of San Demetrio is located in a unique and dramatic setting with the gorgeous mountains surrounding it and the sea only a car ride away.  These vistas are truly a feast for the eyes. This is one of the few courses that delivers more than it promises. My advice don’t let this opportunity go begging!!!!!!!!

        - Anand Piramal, New York University


         I came to San Demetrio with no other knowledge of Italian than "ciao" and "prego", a big disliking for pasta and no knowledge of what I was getting myself into.  In just a month or so, I can tell you I know a gazillion or infinitively more Italian words than I ever hope or set my expectations on.  I am in love with the excellent and exquisite pasta I ate everyday at the La Luna house made by the loving chef we all call with much love "mamma", and hands down, I will take this great ride again blindfolded if I had to make the choice again.  Not only was I surrounded by great students who I now call my dear friends, but also the professors, town people and everybody I met showed the true meaning of welcoming a guest and showing him what love is about. 

I am sad to be leaving my new family at San Demetrio, but I am also very happy of becoming part of the La Luna family in just one month of knowing this great family.  I couldn't have learned as much Italian language and culture as I have if it wasn't for the people of San Demetrio, my friends there and my loving teachers and the new family.  In the end, it has been one of the greatest, most fun and most memorable experiences of my life. 

     - Luis Enrique Vidal, MIT -Massachusetts Institute of Technology


          When I enrolled in the De Rada program, I expected to improve my Italian skills, to develop my vocabulary, to meet new and interesting people and make new friends, and to come in contact with Italian culture.  At the end of the program, I have to say that my expectations were met.  I most definitely improved my language skills, my vocabulary and my writing.  I met extraordinary people, I tied great friendships.  I also got a first hand experience of Italian culture and civilization.

The course in advanced Italian in Calabria and Sicily this summer was a great way to spend my holiday.  Although some aspects could be made better, I enjoyed myself a great deal and I am sure that this program will have the same success in the years to come.

Arrivederci San Demetrio e Noto!  Ma da oggi in poi l'Italia sarà il mio amore.

         - Eugen Taso, Harvard University


      San Demetrio Corone is a fabulous place to improve Italian language skills.  The people that live there are very friendly and enthusiastic about helping the De Radian students learn to speak Italian better.

     - Louisa Brown, Harvard University


      The experience of a lifetime!  What better way to learn a culture than full emersion?

         - John Schnell, College of the Holy Cross


           I have never gone to Italy before and really wanted to continue learning the language.  With the De Rada program I was able to see a large and diverse part of Southern Italy and practice speaking all day and night.  I will never forget the people I have met in San Demetrio Corone.  When I return to Italy, which will hopefully be soon, I will definitely come back to San Demetrio to visit all the great people of this town.

       - Joe Colella, Harvard University


          If you want to learn about Italian culture and you like to travel this is quite an opportunity.

         - Morgan E. MacCarthy, Polimoda (Firenze)



Summer 2002


If you don't like fresh figs, juicy tomatoes, and rolling hills of olive trees,
If you don't like the sun, 
If you don't want to dance on the beach, 
And learn Italian so well you can hear it in your dreams,
Then... don't come to San Demetrio Corone! 

- Emily Allen, Harvard University

Absolutely incredible.  I knew I would have a good time but this has been beyond any comparison.  I enjoyed every second of my time here in Italy.  I met great friends and felt like I was at home!
- Fausto A. Gonzales, Harvard University

I love San Demetrio!!!  Thank you! 
- Katherina Greehnalgh,  Harvard University 

I rarely write comments such as these, but in the case of the De Rada Summer program I would be remiss not to. I arrived in Calabria without even a day's training in Italian and learned enough Italian in one month to pass out of my language requirement and amazingly enroll in the Advanced Italian class at Princeton. It would be foolish to pass up on this opportunity to become a part of Italian culture while learning a language.
- Cameron E. Koczon, Princeton University

In San Demetrio Corone we all found an incredible mesh of authentic culture, close friendship, and heavenly food.  The people welcomed us, and we became truly a part of the La Luna family, as we shared their meals, went sightseeing in Sicily, and went out at night.  The beaches, the hills, the vineyards and olives groves...  It was the seven most beautiful weeks of my life.
Lydia Brooke, Sewanee University

Traveling to Calabria, I did not know what to expect.  I had heard good stuff about the program and was honestly just looking for an interesting summer.  After a few days there, though, I realized I was in for more than just that.  I quickly felt at home and was welcomed warm-heartedly by the people there.  The residents there quickly befriended all of us, and the people in the Institute took us in as family.  We ate deliciously and plenty every day.  Moreover, every day I felt as if my Italian was improving exponentially.  I even found myself speaking in depth conversations with people quickly.  Despite all I learned in class, I learned more than just about Italian language.  The time outside class was an extension of it all.  I truly was immersed in the culture.  Something I could not have done somewhere else.  I gained a deep understanding and appreciation for the culture.  I came back home with an experience of a lifetime.  The program more than lived up to its word.  It would not be giving the program its dues by merely saying I had a wonderful time there.  Thank you, Istituto De Rada.
Oscar Eugenio Guido, Harvard University

This experience was incredible.  The food, the people, the culture.  Amazing!  I loved every minute of it.  Even the time I’m going to spend losing the weight I’ve gained from the excellent food!
- Heather Shea, Assumption College 

When I arrived I knew absolutely no Italian, but a month later, I feel like part of the family.  I loved my time in San Demetrio from the food and language to the family and the friends.  I will miss it all!
- Jessica Vascellaro, Harvard University

The proof for me of how much I learned was actually after I left San Demetrio and took a train from Rome to Liguria.  I was still a bit reticent to speak, even after the month-long program, simply because I had been speaking with the same people the entire month and wasn’t sure how my skills would prove in an unfamiliar setting with people who didn’t know I had just learned to speak Italian.  I met a boy from Napoli on the train, and we soon found ourselves in conversation, as the trip was long and most of the other passengers were somewhat older.  Five hours later, I realized we had been speaking the entire time, and that as he knew no English, I really must have learned quite a bit in San Demetrio after all!
- Alexandra Harper, Harvard University 

Students considering studying abroad need to look no further. San Demetrio Corone is the most picturesque quaint Italian village you could ever imagine. The people in this beautiful town go out of their way to be kind and personable. I loved every minute of my time in Italy. The classes are challenging yet fun, the night life is great, and San Demetrio is only a short drive to beaches, shopping, and city life. The La Luna family I now consider my own extended family. They are the nicest people I have ever met in my life. Your time away from class will also afford you the opportunity to meet many warm and caring people of all ages, creating a social immersion that exceeds expectations and friendships to last you a lifetime.  If you are debating weather or not to come to San Demetrio, I strongly urge you to give it a chance. You won't be disappointed. I definitely plan on going back for the whole summer next year and I can't wait! 
- Jennifer Cellino, Harvard Extension School 

If you are looking not just to visit Italy, but to experience Italy, this is the program for you.  The people, the food, the language.  This past month flew by so fast.  I can’t wait to come back and visit!
Rivka Liss-Levinson, Brandeis University 

The small Italian town is not the typical white-washed, Italian tourist trap; it is a real glimpse of Italian culture.  The side conversations you can eaves-drop on in the town center or in various cafes are not conducted in the tourist languages of Spanish or German or some other unrecognizable foreign slang but rather in the beautiful sing-song tones of the Italian you are there to embrace. Cities like Rome and Florence should not be missed for their unparalleled art and architecture – not to mention the heavenly cuisine.  However, immersion into a culture untouched by the pervasive Americanization one finds littering most of the metropolitan centers in Europe, is the only means for truly mastering a language.  Go, study, learn, and most of all, have a great time. 
- Andrew Magliozzi, Harvard University

The greatest thing for me about the program was that I did not feel merely like a student studying in a formal environment, but for a month, became a member of a Calabrian community and family, a friend to the townspeople. This is truly the only way to experience everything a language and a culture have to offer.

- Anonymous


During my time with the De Rada Institute I experienced an extraordinary month.  Language instruction in the classroom is useful, but the chance to explore and penetrate the naked beauty of the region and to and become one with the seductively circumspect people was far more stimulating.  I will happily carry the experiences I had on this program with me for the rest of my life.
- Morris E. Levy



Summer 2001

Just one month spent in S. Demetrio improved my Italian 3 fold! By living in this small Calabrese town I learned an incredible amount about the people, the culture and the language. Not only am I leaving with a greater knowledge of Italian, but also with new friends and fond memories to last me a lifetime.
Heather Hussey, Harvard University


Calabria is the perfect place to learn because so few people speak English. This program is intensive, educational and comprehensive. Students who really want to see what Italy is like and learn Italian should come here. Expect to  work hard, have fun and eat a lot. THANK YOU for a month I will never forget.
Andrea Wivchar, University of Miami


The program was a success.  I felt that I learned a lot with the combination of study and cultural immersion. Classes were intimate and the group of students was a perfect mix of personalities and tastes. It was also great to have such smart, talented and renowned great teachers. The day trips to places around Calabria also added to our knowledge of culture and history.

- Caroline Luce Donchess, Harvard University


Believe it or not, my Italian got so good, I can carry a conversation with my cousin here visiting from Calabria. It was like a switch was just flicked on right after I left. I couldn't even believe it. I think I learned more from that program in a month than I ever could have learned from two years in school. And I have also dropped most of the 12 pounds I gained on the trip as well. 

- Ferdinando Di Fino, Boston College

I'll never forget anything about the trip. The classes were helpful, but I really got the most out of just getting to hang out with the people around here.  I'm going back home with a pocketful of phone numbers, addresses, and e-mails.  I'm even planning on coming back next year  - outside of the program - just to visit.  For me, being Italian, this program gave me the chance to really see the culture from a different perspective - to see the customs that they brought to America with them still being practiced.
Ferdinando Di Fino, Boston College

I learned a lot of Italian while living La Dolce Vita & gained insight into the Italian lifestyle.  Also, I learned a lot from just talking with the people here. A great experience to truly learn & appreciate the Italian culture.  You are able to interact with the people first-hand which provides you with an opportunity to really learn the language & can not be experienced in a classroom.  Living La Dolce Vita was an amazing month that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys good food, vino "fatto in casa", interesting people, & most of all the Italian language. I would definitely recommend this course because it’s the only way to really learn & appreciate the language. By directly submerging yourself in the heart of the country you are able to learn about the culture, the people, & the real way the language is spoken. An awesome experience!
- Brittany Garza, Harvard University

I didn’t know any Italian before I arrived  and now I am able to interact with people here.  I am so glad that I decided to participate in the De Rada program.  The experience has been amazing.  It allows you to become immersed in the life of a small town in Italy, while also benefiting form well organized lessons.  I don't think there is any better way lo learn Italian.
Brian James Questad, Harvard University

Since I knew NO Italian before arriving here, I definitely feel I improved/learned a lot. This was a great place because everyone is so nice and welcoming. This is a great program with lots of potential. There is no better way to learn a language than to live it, and Calabria + S. Demetrio are perfect for this. Everyone is so nice and happy to have us here as their guests.
Daphne Merrill Reeve, Harvard University

I could barely speak and couldn’t understand normal speech when I arrived.  Now I can understand most things and am able to express myself comfortably in Italian. This was the best vacation/course I ever took. Everything was provided for when I arrived. The food was incredible and the people are so nice and accommodating. The area is beautiful, (so are the girls), the towns are quaint and the beaches are the best I've ever seen. The academic work I had to do  here was so counterbalanced by the fun that I almost forgot I was here to learn Italian. 

- Matthew Ryan Ciardiello, Harvard University 


The program itself was enormously beneficial to me.  Foreign languages have always bee a passion of mine, and I truly value my improvement of my Italian language abilities while on the program.  Furthermore, being able to live with a host family and to otherwise experience the traditional culture of San Demetrio was an immeasurably valuable experience, helping me to more clearly understand the world’s various cultures and their interactions.

- Timothy Aaron Wickland, Harvard University

 I learned more in the one month that I spent in Macchia Albanese, a tiny town in Southern Italy, than I had in all of my Italian classes at Harvard simply because I was so completely immersed in the incredibly rich culture of Southern Italy, which was untainted by tourists. Another very unique and culturally rich part of the program was the working and walking labs.  I spent a substantial amount of time cooking with “the mothers”.  Each day several of the women in the town would gather early in the morning to begin preparing our lunch and dinner so I was able to combine my interest in cooking with the class. There is a very specific regional style of cooking that differed from what I had experienced in Florence, although fundamentals were the same. My language skills and vocabulary increased substantially as none of the women spoke a word of English. Upon my return to the States, I practiced my newly acquired skills and recipes on my family and friends. There is no doubt that my experience this past summer in Calabria with Michelangelo La Luna at his De Rada Institute was exceptional. It helped to bring me that much closer to my academic goals. 
-Katharine Burrage, Harvard University

 I had a lot of fun, and this was because of all the wonderful people.  The opportunity to study here was exceptional.  The incredible time I had I owe to the wonderful people I was lucky enough to be set up with and not so much to many of the situations or the town. 

- Anonymous  



Please contact us at info@derada.comwithany questions, concerns or comments. Thank you.
De Rada Italian Institute¨ 37 Kingston Hill Ct., Kingston, RI 02881 USA¨
Centro Internazionale di Studi Deradiani¨San Demetrio Corone (CS) 87069 ITALY ¨ tel. (011-39)0984-956165¨

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