The Value of Studying Italian

  • A knowledge of Italian is important for people in the arts, technology, business and many professions. It is also useful for students planning careers in art history, music, linguistics, education and international relations. Italian is the fourth language most spoken in US homes, according to the US Census Bureau. It is also spoken in Switzerland, parts of Africa, the Balkans, and the island of Malta. Italy is world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion, graphic design, furniture design, etc. Those planning careers in these fields benefit greatly from knowing Italian. Art historians need Italian. Italy is filled with the world’s greatest art treasures. Italy is a world leader in advanced technologies in robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment. Italy has long been a magnet for the tourism industry: millions and millions of people visit Italy every year. By studying Italian you can learn some surprising things about your own culture. Over the centuries, Italy has produced some the most remarkable cultural works in the western canon, from Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri to Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Historically, too, Italy has always been of great importance. In the Middle Ages cities such Florence and Venice were among the richest and most powerful of Europe; it was Italy that produced the Renaissance, the culture and values of which have provided the foundations of much of western life in the last five hundred years. Knowledge of the Italian language affords access to one of the West’s richest cultural traditions as well as to one of Europe’s most vital contemporary societies.