Celebrating the 500TH Anniversary of DA VINCI’S Death – Italian Cultural Institute Offerings

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Special Programming for 2019 to include Italian Travel Experience and Italian Language and Cooking Courses

The Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago and ItalCultura  announced they will offer a variety of Italian language and culture courses beginning in January, including a Leonardo da Vinci lecture series to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his death. Courses are available in both English and Italian and are primarily held at ItalCultura and the Italian Cultural Institute, both located at 500 N. Michigan Ave., Ste 1405. Other highlights include an Italian Language and Cooking course at Eataly Chicago and an Italian Travel Experience course.

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ItalCultura specializes in Italian language classes ranging from beginner to advanced levels. Reaching beyond the school’s initial focus on language, this new programming offers students the opportunity to learn and experience Italy’s rich cultural history in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Silvia and her students

Celebrating the Genius of Leonardo

A cornerstone of the new programming is a lecture series to celebrate the work and life of Leonardo da Vinci throughout the year to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his death. With courses taught in both English and Italian, students will explore the artist’s complex genius, focusing on key moments that define his monumental life and career.

Italian culture

The Italian Cultural Institute will host a four-lecture Leonardo’s Legacy series from Giovanni Aloi, a professor at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. All four of the lectures are presented in English, free and open to the public. The series focuses on the complex legacy of da Vinci’s genius and his various artworks and machine diagrams. The series is as follows:

  • Renaissance Man: Tuesday, January 15 from 6-8 p.m.
  • Nature, Realism, and Philosophy: Tuesday, February 12 from 6-8 p.m.
  • Painting – Layers of Intensity: Tuesday, March 19 from 6-8 p.m.
  • Technology – Envisioning the Future: Tuesday, April 16 from 6-8 p.m.

Leonardo da Vinci: Arte, Natura, Invenzioni is taught in Italian by Daniele Macuglia, a physicist and historian at the University of Chicago. This advanced course has two sessions, one taking place on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. starting Feb. 13 (with no class on Feb. 20). The other begins on Feb. 15 and occurs weekly from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (with no class on Feb. 22). Course enrollment is $160 per person.

A class at Eataly


ItalCultura will also present an Italian Language and Cooking course at Eataly Chicago (43 E. Ohio St., Chicago). The class consists of five two-and-a-half-hour sessions. Each week, the first hour of the course, taught by ItalCultura language instructor Alessia Romanoni, will inform attendees about the language and cuisine of a specific region in Italy. The second half of the course will offer students the opportunity to experience a live cooking demonstration before enjoying a classic Italian meal paired with a carefully selected wine.

The regions included in the course are Trentino Alto-Adige, Liguria, Lazio, Campania and Sicilia. The five-week course takes place Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m., beginning January 24. Enrollment is $250, including all food and wine, and has a 16-student capacity limit.

Tips for Travelers

ItalCultura’s Italian Travel Experience offers tips and insight for anyone planning to visit Italy itself. With instruction in English, it will provide attendees with introductory basics of the Italian language, specializing in helpful phrases for tourists to know. The course also includes informational tips about restaurants, shopping destinations and museums.

Ad at the Merchandise Mart

Three different sessions of Italian Travel Experience are available at $200 per student. The course is comprised of five two-hour sessions, for a total of 10 hours of class time. The three sessions being offered this winter are as follows:

  • Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., starting Jan. 18
  • Fridays from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., starting Jan. 18
  • Saturdays from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m., starting Jan. 19

About Italian Cultural Institute

The Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago is the cultural office of the Consulate General of Italy in Chicago. Founded in 1985, the Institute is one of five cultural agencies of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the United States. It is located in the heart of Chicago along the Magnificent Mile. The Institute serves as a convenient source for information about Italian life and culture that showcases Italy’s classic and contemporary heritage with particular reference to art, music, cinema, design, architecture, literature, fashion, theatre, cuisine, science, and technology. The Institute is also home to a school of Italian language and culture, as well as a venue for art exhibitions and film screenings. The Institute works alongside the Consulate General of Italy in Chicago to forge relationships with local universities and research institutions. Fore more information, please visit LearnItalianChicago.com or iicchicago.esteri.it.


Photos: Courtesy of talian Cultural Institute of Chicago