In High School I thought that it would be really “cool” (code word for not cool at all) to take Latin instead of any language that might help me speak around the world later in life. Flash forward several years, I found myself married into an Italian family, only able to “speak” (code word for not speak at all) Latin. After visiting the Italian relatives with only a cute “ciao!” to offer, I felt inspired to learn Italian.
I have been taking Italian lessons now for about a year, and things have been going pretty well. But my biggest hurdle in learning a new language is finding people to practice with. So it has become a mission of mine to find local hot spots for speaking Italian. Here are some of my favorite places to practice Italian:
This is one of my favorite places to grab a coffee and study. The owners, Francesco and Lorenzo, are Tuscan born and many of their employees are either from Italy or speak Italian. It is also common to find locals speaking Italian here too.
Also Italian run, this new hot-spot in Little Italy has everything on offer – coffee, pastries, pizza, pasta and vino. They have great seating and a super friendly staff. They make an amazing cappuccino, and I love that all of their coffee accoutrements are straight from Italy, right down to their napkin dispensers.
Hands down one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego, and the best pizza I have had outside of Italy. This is the “real mccoy” as my father-in-law would say.
This is a no-brainer for me to put on my list – this is where I have been taking my Italian classes. Every class is kept small and run by a native Italian. The classes are fun and engaging, and are a great way to meet other people interested in learning Italian.
This is such a cute little cafe in a quieter part of town. Sometimes we pop in for coffee, sometimes for an aperitivo. They also play Italian soccer…a major selling point to the Mr. (and me as well).
This is the Italian National Catholic Parish, so there is no questioning if Italian is spoken here. If you are looking for the full immersion experience, every first Sunday of the month, the 12 noon mass is spoken in Italian.
Don’t feel like committing yourself to one spot? Just wander the streets of Little Italy. Stop and chat with the locals playing cards at the tables, or playing bocce in Amici Park. Pop into one of the great markets or restaurants, and you can always find someone to speak Italian with you!