Italian is a beautiful language (L’italiano è una bella lingua), and many tourists in Italy wish they knew Italian so they could speak to others in their native language. Residents of every country appreciate foreigners who speak some of the local language. Even if they speak English, they know that a foreigner has had to study and practice their language to be able to speak and understand even brief phrases or sentences. They are usually very tolerant of any mistakes and are willing–even anxious–to help someone who has an interest in their country and language. So, let’s combine the objectives of seeing the country and learning some Italian. In this way you more truly experience the country and the culture, rather than just seeing the surface. Let’s assume you have decided to go to Italy and that you have about 6 months before leaving, so you decide to begin studying now, so you will know some basics of the language before arriving there. You want to be able to read signs, understand basic information, ask directions, and give simple instructions to taxi drivers, hotel clerks, and waiters in restaurants. The trip described in this book is one possible itinerary, an example of a first or second trip to Italy. Obviously, your trip could be different, very different or a little different, but the itinerary taken here gives you a good general view of the types of attractions and activities that you will find in Italy. Hopefully, it will give you ideas about which cities, sights, attractions, museums, monuments, historical sights, and restaurants would be of interest to you. It should help you design your own trip to fit your own interests and your own budget. We believe that the travel aspects of the book will provide significant motivation for learning the language, as you will see the advantages of speaking in the language of the country. And learning the language typically motivates travelers to learn more about the country–the people, the arts, the culture, the economy, the history, the politics, and the geography. The combination of traveling and learning the language enhances one’s personal satisfaction, as well as his/her knowledge and potential for developing friendships and business/professional relationships. The language instruction in this book is designed to be a starting point for beginners, as well as a review for those who have already studied Italian and want to refresh their language skills. It also provides the necessary basics for continued study, should you become excited about Italy and this beautiful language and want to become even more proficient. You may decide you want to return often and stay longer–perhaps much longer!
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The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective.