The best movies and songs to learn and improve your Italian

italian movies
Italian movies and music are great tools for improving your Italian language skills. At the same tim you will immerse yourself in the Italian culture. Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate speaker, you can use them. There is something for everyone in the vast world of Italian film and music. In this article we highlight some of the best ones: the Italian movies and songs that are perfect for language learners.

Italian Movies for Language Learners


1. “La Vita è Bella” (Life is Beautiful) is a heartwarming comedy-drama film. The story is about a father who uses his humor to protect his young son from the harsh reality of life in a Nazi concentration camp. The film is easy to follow and features a charming performance by Roberto Benigni.

2. “Il Postino” (The Postman) is a beautifully shot film. The story is about a simple postman who befriends the famous poet Pablo Neruda. It is set on two stunning Italian islands. The small island of Procida, in the bay of Naples, and the island of Salina, in Sicily, are such beautiful scenery. The film is slow-paced and easy to understand, making it a great option for language learners.
3. “L’Avventura” is a classic Italian film by Michelangelo Antonioni. It is known for its stunning cinematography and thought-provoking story. The film can be challenging for language learners. But the dialogue is slow and easy to follow, and the Italian used is authentic and culturally rich.
4. “La Grande Bellezza” (The Great Beauty) is a visually stunning film. The story is about a jaded writer who rediscovers the beauty of life in modern-day Rome. The film features a rich soundtrack and includes a lot of Italian dialogue. All this makes it a great option for intermediate to advanced language learners.

Italian Songs for Language Learners

Italian songs
1. “Volare” (Fly) by Domenico Modugno. It is a classic Italian song about the freedom of flight. This upbeat and catchy tune is a great way to practice listening and comprehension skills.
2. “Non ti scordar di me” (Don’t forget about me) by Luciano Pavarotti. It is a beautiful ballad. And it is sung by one of Italy’s most famous tenors. This song is a great way to practice Italian pronunciation and intonation.
3. “Il Cielo in una Stanza” (The sky in a room) by Gino Paoli. It is a simple and romantic song that is easy to understand and follow, this is a great option for beginners. Even the version sung by the singer Mina is beautiful. 
4. “Con te Partirò” (I will leave with you) by Andrea Bocelli. It is a beautiful love song. Bocelli is one of Italy’s most famous tenors. This song is a great way to practice listening and comprehension skills. You will also learn about Italian culture and romance.
Whether you prefer the drama of Italian films or the melodies of Italian songs, these resources will work. They are a great way to improve your Italian skills and immerse yourself in the Italian language and culture. So why not pop some popcorn, press play, and start your Italian language journey today! Learning Italian is fun.

How to learn Italian fast? Check out La Dante in Cambridge, European Cultural CentreThe native professional teachers at La Dante use the Communicative Approach. This is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language based on immersive language learning. La Dante tutors offer online group and individual classes. Online and face-to-face individual tuition; as well as long-term and intensive courses.

For more information, or phone/WhatsApp +447887606227.

7 secrets to learn Italian you need to know

Learn Italian secrets

When it comes to learn a new language, we can feel overwhelmed.   Will it be hard to go back to study? Will I have enough time to dedicate to it during my hectic days? Is Italian too different from my own mother tongue?

Italian is such a beautiful and poetic language linked to a culture we love or that we want to know better. So we deserve to learn it!

The true good news is that you can learn it at any age, and it is easy.      

learn italian fast                   italian for every age

I guess this explains why over 230 million people in the world study Italian. The right program will make you learn this splendid language if you want it. Here I will tell about 7 simple tips you can follow to make it faster than what you think.


What is the best way of learning Italian?


  1. Of course the best way to learn a new language is being immersed as much as possible in the language to start with. This means to expose yourself to the foreign vocabulary even before we’re aware of the meaning of each word. So, following lessons or having conversations with native speakers will help.

  1. Be consistent. Becoming fluent in it will need some patience and perseverance. So write down your favourite sentences or words, and practice them every day. One each day. To easy remember some vocabulary, you can help yourself. How? For example using some sticky-notes to attach to household appliances. So, on the washing machine you will stick “lavatrice”; on the dishwasher, “lavastoviglie”; on the fridge the word “frigorifero”, and so on…

italian school

  1. Watch videos, and turn on the Italian subtitles. The most useful platforms and websites are Youtube, Netflix, and Raiplay. This is the online platform of Rai, the national public broadcaster. Unless you have a VPN, though, you can watch some of the content outside Italy (such as Un Posto al Sole for instance)


  1. Learn while playing. By that I mean: use apps. The best one is Duolingo, free and suited for every level.

duolinguo study Italian                 italian classes


  1. Read. And also out loud. There are plenty of choices: you can read books (and easily start from those for children), comics, websites, magazines online according to your main interests (we suggest Il Confronto which is mostly about Art and Culture, and current affairs and Italian news), and blogs (this is one of my favourite ones..). I am a reader and book lover, so I could not recommend more such a pleasant activity to reach your magic goal.


  1. Listen to radio shows and podcasts in Italian. Find your favourite shows and stick with that for a while. On Radio Dante you can listen to some of my interviews I like to make while I am in Italy. You will listen to only good news and curiosities about the Italian culture and Art. As mentioned, you will also “meet” many people who are interviewed during the main shows which are in streaming on the main platforms too (from Spotify, to Alexa, to Apple Podcast, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts etc.). Think how easy it is to do that while’ you’re busy in other activities. By that I mean: during your errands, or on your daily commute. As well as while you’re working out, or while you’re taking care of housecleaning. This exercise will also help you master the pronunciation.


  1. Visit Italy. Choose your dreamy destination (Venice? Naples? Rome? Palermo?). You can practice your Italian with local people. Asking for directions or ordering a nice plate of spaghetti with a good wine. Italians love to spend a lot of time in long chats, and the also like to know about your story. You might fall in love with some Italians, and that will be BINGO! Love brings you everywhere even to learn very fast a new language.

Italy Italian to travel

Italian, even with its fascinating complexities, is an easy language for English speakers. Its vocabulary, as a matter of fact, is quite close to many English words. Think of vocabulary such as “jogging”, “finale”, “feeling”, “diva” “shock”, “melodia”, “poeta” .

How to learn Italian fast? Check out La Dante in Cambridge, European Cultural Centre. The native professional teachers at La Dante use the Communicative Approach. This is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language based on immersive language learning. La Dante tutors offer online group and individual classes. Online and face-to-face individual tuition; as well as long-term and intensive courses.

For more information, or phone/WhatsApp +447887606227.


Can you run a business without foreign languages?

language learning cambridge

Have you ever got in trouble in the workplace because of some miscommunication caused by cultural differences? Misunderstandings sometimes are caused by cultural differences and language barriers, while being able to speak a language is not equal to fully understanding
a language. It might sound a bit tricky and complicated as you might be questioning why has the person become cold or not reacted the way you wanted. Did you lose a deal or was there awkwardness during the meeting?
Understanding business culture – will this make a difference for your business?
We easily get confused with the business norms if we are not familiar with the local cultures when doing business internationally. Let’s take negotiation skills as examples, the ways people negotiate, view and interpret the negotiation process, closely vary among local cultures.
For instance, from a Chinese perspective, negotiations exist primarily as a mechanism for building trust so that two parties can work together for the benefit of both. In business meetings or other situations, you want to build up the relationship and avoid embarrassing or even raising your glass above your Chinese guest. What is disrespectful to Chinese culture? Do not touch, hug, lock arms, back slap or make any body contact. Furthermore, clicking fingers or whistling is considered very rude. Never put your feet on a desk or a chair, and Never gesture or pass an object with your feet. Blowing one's nose in a handkerchief and returning it to one's pocket is considered vulgar by the Chinese.
 If you deal with  German business people instead, always show data and analytics above all.
 It can come as a surprise for some of us that, from a Japanese perspective,
“Yes” doesn’t mean “Yes”, it means  I understand instead due to its disciplined social system.
So it is crucial to take into consideration that cultural differences may result in misunderstandings when doing business. Moreover, Japan is a more relationship-oriented culture than countries such as Australia, particularly when it comes to doing business. Japanese want to know and trust someone before they do business with them. Relationships are developed through informal social gatherings and generally involve a considerable amount of eating and drinking. I would say that it’s the same if you wish to build up a  work relationship in Italy or Spain.
 If you are meeting Italians, always make sure you invite them to a good restaurant. It’s important for Italians to build a trust prior to doing business. Relationships are very important in Italian business culture. In the ‘Bel Paese, business people want to be familiar with their business contacts, so I suggest you work with a local representative to arrange introductions and appointments before your trip. Italians expect formality. When meeting contacts for the first time, address them a “Signor(e)’ (Mr.)” or “Signora’ (Mrs.),” with their surname. Wait until you’re invited to use their first name in subsequent meetings to be safe. It’s important to show respect for elders, people in positions of authority and people with professional titles such as “Dottore/ Dottoressa (Doctor).” Italian companies often employ a horizontal chain of authority, called “cordata” (which literally translates to a team of mountain climbers on the same rope). To fully understand this concept, maintain a good relationship with contacts who can educate you on theinternal structure of the companies you wish to do business with. Also, bear in mind that anticipate those negotiations often take time. Trying to rush the process or conveying urgency can weaken your bargaining position. For all these reasons we have to be very cautious of how different cultures behave during meetings
and deals can be facilitated overseas. Apart from negotiation skills, being able to express your opinions and writing business
reports are also very important.  Having proficient language skills help you overcome early difficulties in the workplace. B2 Business Vantage exam qualification can demonstrate that you are capable of doing business tasks in business English as it is a globally recognised exam. This test, in fact, is one of the three Cambridge English Qualifications for business  exams. Each of them is targeted at a different level. B2 is a middle level, which shows employers that you are ready to work successfully with international business companies.
The content for the exam is based on real everyday work and business tasks and is designed to develop your business English skills. By getting a B2 certificate, you will improve your career opportunities and easily be accepted globally by top international companies. According to statistics, employees are 18% more likely to have a faster progression than their peers, while 17% more likely to have pay rises.

language learning BBC cambridge
Sharing our experience with you
One of our business students Leon, a senior engineer at Qualcomm, in charge of developing Ads and writing code, did his online preparation for the B2 Business Vantage exam at La Dante in Cambridge.  When the course started, our business English trainer Alexis immediately
got to know his background, including his English level and the goals he wanted to achieve. So, Alexis started preparing teaching material to improve Leon’s skills, and realised that being Chinese he needed to be introduced to small talk that is
something British love prior to starting a business conversation. It was really interesting to see how Chinese and British need to learn on simple sentence building that makes them comfortable during the meeting. English business culture was introduced with real-life examples, and Leon’s presenting and communication skills greatly advanced. As language learning is of high importance for export as well as for establishing businesses overseas, at La Dante in Cambridge we pride ourselves of having taught highly regarded firms since 2010: Birkets, Qualcomm, ETT Solutions, and Corepixx among others with promoting business, and language culture in Italian, Spanish and English.

Article written by Dott.ssa Giulia Portuese, Director and founder at La Dante in Cambridge
and contribution from Alexis Loizou, English teacher for professionals


The winners of the awards ‘BUSINESS CHAMELEON’ and ‘LOCKDOWN LEADER’ will be announced on the on the 17th February 2022 at the Imperial Museum Duxford

‘The 2022 has started with some excitement at La Dante in Cambridge, European Cultural Centre after two years of transformation online, retraining, building new platforms and having a completely new approach to give our students a thorough language learning experience online, in all similar to the face to face classes’ – Giulia Portuese, Director and Founder of La Dante in Cambridge, states. The Cultural Centre and Language school run by Giulia Portuese is celebrating two nomination for the Cambridge Independent SME Cambridgeshire Business Awards 2021: the ‘Business chameleon’ and the ‘Lockdown leader’ . These awards celebrate SME businesses punching above their weight during Covid19 in the past two years: in particular, they recognise how the business became resilient and thrived during tough economic times and how the team and leadership had a key role in the transformation.

We have met Dr Portuese at St. John’s Innovation Centre where the company is located.


Question 1 *

Tell us briefly about you and your business

La Dante in Cambridge is a European Cultural Centre promoting Italian, Spanish and English languages and cultures with a mix of online, face to face classes and enthusiastic native qualified teachers. Our Radio Dante’s original programmes help develop their listening and comprehension skills. We are also developing our Ryze App: a pocket learning app which has hours of listening, texts, exercises people can use in their own time and place. Learning languages is now affordable for all with just $2 for half an hour of teachers’ tuition. The App is packed with FREE content: it’s fun, interactive and flexible.


Question 2 *

Tell us briefly about the digital transformation within your business in the past 2 years which evidence your current business successes.

The digital transformation of La Dante brought some real results in the past 2 years : a) The director and founder Dr Giulia Portuese was given a knighthood from the Italian President Mattarella in Dec 2021 for the Order of the Stars of Italy, b) La Dante in Cambridge is a finalist for the SME Awards for the category of Business Chamelion Jan 22, c) The director was nominated finalist as a Lockdown Leader for the SME Awards in Jan 22 d) we are increasing our international influence beyond Europe and since the move to Online Learning, we are attracting students from beyond Europe, from Japan and Mexico. Our international reach allows students to learn languages in an affordable way and from remote places, thanks to a new Plateo Online learning platform which has a social media platform included. People learn and make friends.

Our Radio Dante podcasts increased their listeners by 69% over the past two years (Buzzsprout, Youtube, Spotify). The Ryze App language pocket app has had its first trial and we received a really good feedback from your sample group of students.


Question 3 *

How your business differentiates from your competitors and has the leading edge

La Dante has three recognitions as Examination Board: a PLIDA Examination Centre for Italian (the only one in the UK), DELE Examination Centre for Spanish and Trinity College London Centre for English (registration n. 68910). We are the only Examination Centre in the UK to provide exams for Italian citizenship, recognised by the Dante Alighieri Society. The only office, among 400 Dante offices in the world, who have a regular cultural podcast programme via which has interviews, music, traditions, cinema and cuisine in Italian and Spanish. It’s run by volunteers, teachers and young graduates who wish to build up their experience in journalism. La Dante is also a European Training Centre with a consolidated European Internship programme running since 2010: we train young graduates on digital marketing, google ads, google analytics, website and SEO, skills that are essential in any business. We are also a Teacher Training Centre since 2010: we offer a programme of teacher training for obtaining CEDILS, DITALS as well as CLIL exams for European teachers. We are expanding the programme to Spanish and Italian teachers using CLIL techniques for teaching history, art, maths in English to children and teenagers.


Question 4 *

Demonstrate with examples that this successful business performance is sustainable long term

Since 2010 La Dante has developed its business in language learning through live classes where native trained teachers had a communication technique using physical textbooks and being in a physical school until March 2020. Once Covid arrived, the leader started a digital transformation programme thanks to the Digital Grants from the UK government, £10,000 was invested in creating a new Plateo Online platform where students, teachers, marketing staff could be under one roof, where students could watch videos, have a social profile and communicate. A retraining programme started 3 weeks prior to the UK government closing all schools in the Uk in March 2020: teachers had to relearn the way they taught using digital resources, producing different material, learning to use Zoom and breakout rooms in Zoom, learn a more dynamic way of teaching. The marketing team and interns had to be retrained in using the platform, promote the school in a thorough different way via Google Ads, google analytics and SEO. This ensured that the business can embrace the most advanced digital technology and thrive in the next 10 years. All team, after some difficulties, embraced all our implemented changes. I feel proud.


Question 5 *

We are also interested in hearing

  • how businesses have adapted and changed to meet the challenges and opportunities of Covid-19 for consideration of a special award. Please advise
  • how you have invested and developed new products, services, techniques, skills or processes to meet the changing demands that Covid-19 brought to your business and
  • how you are maintaining or increasing your operations in established and new markets as a result.

La Dante showed a quick period of adaptability and change to meet the challenges and opportunities of Covid-19: we transformed the way we taught languages, making it fun from face to face to online for all, teachers, students and staff. We helped students who couldn’t go straight onto digital for their age or because they didn’t have the IT skills to change so quickly by providing FREE IT training for Zoom Education and Google Classrooms.  This allowed all to be safe in view of increasing infections since 2020 onwards.

–           To respond to the Covid challenges, La Dante invested £10,000 in a NEW digital Plateo Online teaching platform, we retrained our marketing and teachers to use different techniques (Zoom was embedded, Google Classrooms, Blink Learning), lots of new technical skills and processes had to be learned over a year of intense training with external providers.  Ryze App was developed with the University of Norwich, Cambridge and

–           We are maintaining the market share within established markets like Italy and Spain but equally attracting new business from Japan and Mexico. Online tuition is here to stay and develop to reach even more countries with digital marketing.


Question 6*

Tell us some stories on how the team responded, make it personal

Well, at the beginning the team was reluctant to big changes, especially teachers who had managed to build up their teaching material and relationship with the students with face to face lessons. Things had to change, not only in order to survive but to thrive. The leadership used by the director was to persuade them to embrace change and learn new skills for life, renewing skills through training and innovation without the risk of losing work. We trained teachers, students who were not IT savy and invested in new online platforms. By the end of the two years: we gained new students and maintained ours.

We definitely welcomed change. Some teachers and some of tbe marketing team thrived during this period of change. We also had some personal satisfaction:

We welcomed two babies to the world: our teacher Luisa gave birth to Zoe early in the Spring, and Tamara gave birth to Tommaso  in December, Lucia and Emilia are expecting their first child in the next few weeks. All this brought immense joy to the team and  this year definitely started with enthusiasm and energy that we all share at La Dante in Cambridge.


To contact us:

0044 7887 606227 whatsapp

Please let us know if you wish to talk to the Marketing Manager Gilda Notarbartolo or the director Dr Giulia Portuese

Inspiring background story of the European Cultural Centre, La Dante in Cambridge: A creative language learning hub

By Giulia Portuese

Background of La Dante

It all started with the passion and dissemination of promoting my language and culture. I am Italian of Sicilian origins and with two sons Lorenzo and Luca born in Cambridge, my goal was to let them feel the richness of my Italian culture by giving them the gift of being bilingual. It wasn’t easy at all as in those days when they were just 5 and 2 years old (1997) there weren’t any good Italian schools in Cambridge. Just one with crowded classes of all levels with more than 30 children and one teacher paid by the government. There was a clear need for helping the Italian community and those families whose children were bilingual like mine.

After over 10 years spent at Cambridge University Press, the need for a cultural centre more than a school started to form in my mind and a strong need to make a difference in disseminating a great Italian culture and language in a country that has always had a fascination with Italian language

Think of Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Lady Morgan, Percy Shelley, John Keats, George Eliot, John Ruskin, E.M. Forster, D.H. Lawrence and W.B. Yeats to think of just a few. Think of the fascination of the Montalbano TV series that most people who study Italian know about.

The Eurovision context won by Maneskin is one of the newest groups that bring Italian at a European level.

I left CUP and with a project approved by the Dante Aligheri Society in Rome, I started La Dante in Cambridge, in September 2008 with just 6 students learning Italian. It was such fun and we joined forces with the then Director of the Alliance Française Francine Rouanet-Democrate in a dream that went beyond the dissemination of Italian (in my case) and French (in her case) but in building up and creating a European Cultural Centre based in Cambridge.

Well, I am very proud to say that, although we changed paths along the way and the AF passed on to other hands, I was able to create such a European Cultural Centre, La Dante in Cambridge which now offers language and culture in three languages: Italian, Spanish and English.

We got about 400 students per year, a nice achievement, and the knowledge that we help not just the community of Italian and Spanish but whoever is interested in these cultures. Our students are from age 5 to 90.

Yes that is right 90: we had a student who was 90 MaryAnn and came with her stick, borrowed books in Italian, attended her classes with our native speakers. That was a wonderful moment. She stayed with us for two years.

We help students who wish to learn for fun, for their exams (including my sons who did their GCSE and A-levels in Italian), business people improving their language proficiency and University entry exams. Some need languages just for travel.

This year in 2021, we were part of
East Anglia’s high-growth business programme

at Future50 for 2021.

With this interview, Kieran Miles, Programme Director at Future50

Highlights the journey of La Dante from an Italian Cultural Centre In 2010 to a European Cultural Centre with more than 400 students. The difficulties through the Covid-19 pandemic, the resilience of a great team and the transformation to carry on making an impact in language learning. He also mentioned the prestigious honorary award OSI given by Sergio Mattarella, Itaian president of Italy for the dissemination of Italian language and culture in the UK since 2010.


Since 2011, I also started the Radio Dante programmes with original podcasts, also on social media FB, spotify, buzzsprout and mixcloud. We have had prestigious collaborations with the Fitzwilliam Museum for Italian Art series, the Department of Italian and Spanish at Cambridge University as well as journalists, interns that collaborated in disseminating programmes in Spanish, Italian and English over the years. Lately we have two themes which are being developed:

Radio Dante Viaggi for those who travel to Italy

Radio Dante Racconta for children stories in Italian

the same for Spanish

Radio Dante Viajes

Radio Dante Cuentos

Forthcoming there is our Ryze APP The Pocket Learning APP, for learning Italian and Spanish to begin with, later we will add English, with the following functions

  • text
  • videos
  • podcasts
  • games
  • exercises
  • articles

which aim at attracting a younger audience for language learning.

This will reinforce our Online school Platform which started in March 2020 due to the pandemic. We had to renew and with hard work, determination, after over 10 years of being a face-to-face school, we transformed and enriched what we offered to our students by switching online for adult courses. This was a difficult time for us at La Dante, huge transformation, but with the dedication and understanding of my team, teachers and most importantly our wonderful students, we were able to do just that, and I am pleased to say that the 400 students stayed with us, some were new and mostly were those that started their language journey along the way.


In 2021, I was also blessed with an OSI Honorary title for the Order of the Star of Italy from the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella for the work done disseminating Italian language and culture in the UK.

In an interview with ‘Cambridge News’ our Director tells her story

‘Dr Giulia Portuese set up La Dante back in 2010 as a way for Italians looking for work to learn English. After initially welcoming just six children and adults they quickly expanded to also teaching English and Spanish to hundreds at the school.’

European Cultural Centre La Dante in Cambridge

Giulia Portuese


Read the whole interview here



Building up bridges in Spain and South America

Online business English at La Dante in Cambridge

It’s with great joy that so many new collaborations are being built at La Dante to promote Spanish language and culture. Thanks to our new innovative Online School Platform, our students make friends with each other thanks to a FB type of interface. This platform is cloud based and will reach remote areas where people are given new opportunities to learn the three languages and cultures that we promote: Italian, Spanish and English.


New horizons, new cultural bridges, new ‘sister schools’ are being built

We teamed up with MBestcare, a tour operator specialized in sustainable experiences. They are focused on the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of their clients. Their mission is to ‘help and care with dedication’ to all those who want to enjoy a refreshing and revitalizing holiday in Tenerife.

Their Body & Mind experience’s programme focuses on practising physical exercise, enjoying daily specialized activities as Yoga, Chi Kung or Mindfulness. Also, the students will enjoy a Sound Bath, a Forest Bath, meditation in nature session and the Oriental Therapy they like, ALL in one: learning Spanish in the wonderful Tenerife and well-being in one go.


I also recently had the pleasure to talk to Marcos Villa at one of our ‘Sisters’ schools in Spain’ in Santander, north of Spain, easily reached by boat via Plymouth or Bournemouth or via plane. It’s situated in the Sardinero area and just 5 minutes away from the sea. If you were thinking of escaping to Spain for an interesting holiday, practising your Spanish, Santander offers great historical sites as well as the sea, trips and a mix of Europeans students who will be delighted to mingle and chat in Spanish with you.

Erika Garimanno at the Dante Alighieri in Mar de Plata in Argentina is a new proactive collaboration thanks to their contribution to our Radio Dante Viajes with programmes in South American Spanish narrating life in Argentina, music, traditions and the cultural activities they are involved in. They are also part of the Dante Alighieri Society and mainly promote Italian culture and language there. Their podcasts will give a special contribution to those who wish to listen and learn the South American accent.


And if you haven’t read about it yet, La Dante in Cambridge just awarded a Quality Spanish School certificate by the prestigious association of over 170 Spanish schools worldwide, all with one mission: to promote Spanish language and culture to everyone and everywhere, helping youngsters and adults in learning Spanish for study and work reasons, to promote a system of collaborative schools, sharing ideas and build up sisters’ schools.


Always following the theme of Radio Dante Viajes, we continue to collaborate with Radio Mèxico Internacional, following their news feeds and radio programmes in South American Spanish directly through their web links. Rita Abreu, journalist and European Coordinator runs enriching and informative programmes about Mexico, music and art, films and history in Spanish.


Radio Dante Viajes is developing its themes and podcasts in Spanish with insights from life in Tenerife as well as the beautiful, historical Santander, the exotic Mar de Plata in Argentina.


Should you wish to collaborate with podcasts and news in Spanish: please contact us

or at

follow us: Twitter  Facebook Istagram

La Dante selected as East Anglia’s high-growth business

La Dante in Cambridge has been selected as East Anglia’s High-Growth Business Programme at Future 50 for 2021. You can watch the interview by Kieran Miles, Programme Director at Future50 with the Founder and Director of our school, Giulia Portuese, here.


Spanish and UK Trade, an Unlikely Partnership?

By Reece Thomson

In an increasingly globalised world being bi lingual in business is more important than ever. Being able to communicate sincerely with clients can be the make or break for closing a deal. Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language globally making it a valuable tool in any entrepreneur’s arsenal. Within the context of Britain and Spain the nations share approximately 15 billion a year in communal trade from cars to medicine to Spanish cleaning products. Here at La Dante we can help any aspiring business person tap into this market through our wide range of Spanish learning courses starting from basics to advanced to help give you the edge in interpersonal business relations.

Perhaps one of the biggest exports of Spain is the appeal of a retirement in the sun, with approximately 285,000  British expats living in Spain in 2018. The desire for one of these lovely holiday homes in Spain is the end goal for many British. The impact of this retirement dream ingrained in the British psyche cannot be understated with it being a prominent concept on British television with shows like “Living in the Sun” and “A New Life in the Sun”.

The sun, such a foreign concept in Britain and arguably the driving factor behind this cultural phenomenon.  The wider impact of this movement is hard to measure as these Brits buy property in often secluded old towns and can in some cases bring a breath of life into what would otherwise be a dying community.

However the biggest and most important component of these two nations trading is tourism, with Spain being the fan favourite holiday destination for Brits. Since the 1970’s as holidaying became accessible to the everyday man Spain has enticed Brits to visit. Again this is down to our good friend the Spanish sun who we mentioned earlier. This combined with the culture of Spain from her tapas to her flamboyant celebrations make it a staple in British holidaying and looks likely to remain so. 

 It used to be a one-sided exchange but in recent years more and more Spaniards are choosing to visit the Uk. However it is not always in the traditional vehicle of a week’s holiday, Spaniards come to Britain in many different forms such as workers, students and the tourist. Increasingly in British cities you find Spanish run businesses and blooming microcosms of Spanish sprinkled around communities. Increasingly more Spanish students who come to study in the UK choose to stay after their degree is over and these are the seeds which will grow to form a stronger bond between both Britain and Spain.

This integration shows that although in economic terms the UK and Spain have an important, strong bond it goes much beyond the money as the exchange of people through tourism or otherwise shows both nations have cultural ties which will only increase over time despite the sword of Brexit attempting to sever this long lasting unofficial union.

Italian Influence on Scottish Culture

By Reece Thomson

Scotland in recent years has developed an identity as one of the more open minded areas of the UK, with the country booming in tourism since the 2000’s this has had a knock on effect for a more cosmopolitan country to begin to develop. If we trace the country’s history, though, one of the earliest and most successful examples of integration was the mass arrival of Italians in the 1890’s primarily on the West Coast. 

When immigrants arrive in a country or city more often than not they will stick together and tend to settle in once place, this was not the case for these eager Italians. Despite several challenges including lack of education and differing faith from most of the locals  twenty years after their original arrival the Italian influence had exploded across the entire country. This was in large part to the initiative of Italian entrepreneurs who had great success in forging businesses such as cafe’s , sweet shops and as everyone knows their undoubted influence on fish and chips becoming a staple. As well as this Italians managed to learn english very quickly and the Scottish slang to go along with it showing their overall adaptability and confidence. This quick mastery of the native language was just as important as their proficiency in food as it allowed the Italians to deepen their connection to Scottish culture. 

Even to this day the Italian impact on Scottish identity is huge. For instance one of the most associated icons with modern day Scotland is the deep fried mars bar.  Unfortunately it is arguably the pinnacle of Scottish cuisine. Without Italian muscle behind expansion and mainstreaming of chip shops in their early days the path of the Scottish pallet may have taken a completely different direction. Some of Scotland’s most loved snacks such as haggis Supper, red pudding , deep fried pizza and as previously mentioned deep fried Mars bar can all be derived from the chip shop or as Scots call it the “chippy/ chipper”. I get the feeling though that if you asked the average Italian to try a deep fried Mars bar or made any attempt to link it to their cuisine you would be in their bad books.

Even out with food the Italian influence in Scotland has produced some of the wee countries finest artists. Paolo Nutini is a direct example: his parents own a chip shop on the west coast of Scotland which traces the Nutini family back to those successful pioneers who arrived in Scotland in the 1890’s,specifically his father’s side originated from Barga in Tuscany. Lewis Capaldi is one of the most current artists globally and is another product of the Scottish Italian Union. The superstars Italian flare can be traced to Picinisco. A distant cousin of Lewis is the actor Peter Capaldi, he shares a similar path to Paolo and his parents owned an ice cream establishment in Glasgow. Famous for his role as Doctor Who and starring in “The Thick of It” for which he won several awards. It seems to be no accident that some of Scotland’s most successful personalities have the secret ingredient of Italian flare in their recipe to success. 

It is hard to measure the full extent of what the people of Italy have contributed to Scotland however it is fair to say they have had a long lasting impact on the nation and have helped produce some of Scotland’s most iconic people and cultural talking points. The cultures share a “bloodiness” to them in which we will not shy away from defending our opinions and use every vocal cord we possess to achieve this. Some call it impulsiveness or lack of reflection but the Scots and Italians call it true passion.  These overlapping branches of Italy and Scotland  can be seen within our dedication  to football with both nations sharing a true vigor for the sport but perhaps not sharing the same skill level on the field. I will let you interpret who is better.

 All joking aside both nations have suffered throughout their history in perhaps different ways and circumstances. But what remains is two lands of people who always hold their head high , have an optimistic attitude to the world and their branding as a nation from history ,culture and food is instantly recognisable. 

 If you come from a family with Italian heritage and want to spark your Italian flare here at La Dante we offer online courses to teach you the language at several levels. On the flip side if the tale of Italian immigrant success in Scotland has inspired you to move to the Uk we also have courses in English to help you on the journey.