The world’s top ten unis to study Italian

The Local takes a look at the world’s leading universities offering Italian degrees, everywhere from California to Melbourne.

The world's top ten unis to study Italian
The University of Cambridge in the UK offers an Italian degree. Photo: llee_wu

If you are passionate about pursuing a degree in Italian, there are a number of top universities around the world that are famous for providing excellent courses for their students.

Italian is spoken by over 60 million people, from Italy to East Africa and South America. But as The Local found out, the top ten universities that offer Italian degrees are all in English-speaking countries.

The best three universities that offer an Italian-only degree are in the US and the UK, while universities in Canada and Australia also feature in the top ten, based on Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for arts and humanities.

California’s Stanford University, ranking at number one, offers the chance to learn Italian through intensive language courses and provides its students with a deeper understanding of Italy through the study of its literature, culture, traditions and history.

The university offers an excellent Italian degree and the possibility of studying in Italy through the Stanford in Florence programme.

The three-year degree focuses on providing a complete learning experience of Italian, from its grammar to its immediate oral communication, cultural studies and academic and creative writing.

By the end of the programme, not only will you be able to understand Italian and Italian culture, but you will have done so in one of the top universities in the world.

Stanford Uni by Waqas Mustafeez

Stanford University, California. Photo: Waqas Mustafeez

The second best university for arts and humanities is Harvard University. The famous university is located in Boston, which is home to many Italian-Americans and was one of the main destinations of the Italian immigration flows.

Harvard University’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, among other programmes such as French and Francophone or Hispanic studies, offers a course in Italian Studies.

By the end of the programme students will have gained an excellent level in Italian and knowledge of the major periods of Italian literature, ranging from Dante and his Divine Comedy to current Italian theatre and film.

Harvard University’s programme will also integrate studies about the culture and literature of Italian-speaking communities around the world, as well as those of the main immigrant populations within Italy. In addition, the course gives its students the chance of studying abroad and experience of Italy’s most famous cities, Venice.

Harvard by Shutterstock

Harvard University, Boston. Photo: Shutterstock

Finally, another great location and prestigious university that offers an Italian degree is the UK's University of Cambridge.

Cambridge is famous for offering the best courses and teachers and, unsurprisingly, it is listed as the third top university for arts and humanities.

The university’s Italian degree programme lasts four years, during which students will not only achieve a complete knowledge of the Italian language, but they will also engage in discussions about autobiography and self-representation in Italian literature and modern culture.

Unlike Stanford and Harvard, Cambridge makes it compulsory to spend the third year of the programme in Italy. This provides every student with the chance to enrich their vocabulary as well as experiencing the Italian way of life.

IN PICTURES: The world’s best universities to study Italian 

By Tiziana Buscemi

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Italian word of the day: ‘Inchiodare’

You'll nail this word in no time.

Italian word of the day: 'Inchiodare'

What do a carpenter, a detective, and a bank robber screeching to a halt in their getaway car all have in common?

In English, not much – but in Italian, they could all be said to inchiodare (eenk-ee-ohd-AHR-eh) in the course of their professional activities.

In its simplest form, inchiodare simply means ‘to nail’ (chiodo, ‘kee-OH-do’, is a nail) – a picture to a wall, or a leg to a table.

Ha trovato questo cartello inchiodato alla sua porta.
She found this notice nailed to her door.

Inchioderò la mensola al muro più tardi.
I’ll nail the shelf to the wall later.

But like ‘to nail’, inchiodare has more than one definition.

You can use it to describe someone or something being ‘pinned’ in place, without actually having been literally nailed there.

Mi ha inchiodato al muro.
He pinned me to the wall.

La mia gamba è inchiodata al terreno.
My leg is pinned to the ground.

You can be metaphorically inchiodato to a place in the sense of being stuck there, tied down, or trapped.

Dovrei essere in vacanza e invece sono inchiodata alla mia scrivenia.
I should be on holiday and instead I’m stuck at my desk.

Don'T Forger You'Re Here Forever GIF - The Simpsons Mr Burns Youre Here GIFs

Siamo inchiodati a questa scuola per altri tre anni.
We’re stuck at this school for another three years.

Sono stati inchiodati dal fuoco di armi.
They were trapped by gunfire.

Just like in English, you can inchiodare (‘nail’) someone in the sense of proving their guilt.

Chiunque sia stato, ha lasciato tracce di DNA che lo inchioderanno.
Whoever it was, they left traces of DNA that will take them down.

Ti inchioderò per questo omicidio.
I’m going to nail you for this murder.

Thomas Sadoski Tommy GIF by CBS

Senza la pistola non lo inchioderemo, perché non abbiamo altre prove.
Without the gun we’re not going to get him, because we have no other proof.

For reasons that are less clear, the word can also mean to slam on the brakes in a car.

Ha inchiodato e ha afferrato la pistola quando ha visto la volante bloccando la strada.
He slammed on the brakes and grabbed the gun when he saw the police car blocking the road.

Hanno inchiodato la macchina a pochi passi da noi.
They screeched to a halt in the car just a few feet away from us.

Those last two definitions mean that you’re very likely to encounter the word when watching mystery shows or listening to true crime podcasts. Look out for it the next time you watch a detective drama.

In the meantime, have a think about what (or who) you can inchiodare this week.

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.