Italian Language Blog

La Scuola in Italia – pt. 2 Posted by on Sep 4, 2020 in Culture

Ciao, di nuovo! 

Continuiamo la conversazione della scuola in Italia e alcune differenze tra i due paesi. Let’s continue the conversation about school in Italy and some differences between the two countries.

Image by MChe Lee, from Unsplash, CCO.

1. Gli insegnanti si spostano tra le classi 

Teachers, not students, move between classrooms. Typically there are 20-30 students in one classroom, and they stay together in the same classroom all year long. They do not have armadietti, lockers, because they always have all their books with them. Ci sono alcuni positivi e alcuni negativi di questa sistema. Students become quite close amici, friends, but could you imagine if you had nemici, enemies, in the same classroom all day and all year? Un incubo, a nightmare.

2. La scuola è per l’apprendimento

School is strictly for learning. There are no sports or extra-curricular activities that are connected to school. If students want to play sports they will need to join a private club in the city which could be quite expensive. There are no school plays or musicals, no talent shows, and no typical American school dances.

3. La scuola non è gratuita

School is not free. Parents have to pay a school tax, tasse d’iscrizione, of around 20 euros a year, as well as pay anywhere from 200-400 euros a year on textbooks and supplies. Transportation is not provided unless you are more than 2 miles away from school, and in that case transportation is provided at a monthly fee of around 15 euros a month.

4. Aspettative rigorose

Schools in Italy are rigorous. There are many standardized written as well as oral exams that must be passed. If an exam at the end of the year is bocciato, failed, students will need to re-take the exam in September. If they fail again, they will be held back. There is no grey area with this, no arguing of a grade, or asking for credito scolastico extra, extra credit. Teachers are strict and students know what is expected of them, they either study hard and rise to the occasion or fail and get held back.

Students spend 6 days a week in school, lunedi – sabato, from 8.30 to 13.30, and it is typical that they spend multiple hours a day studying outside of school as well. They only get a 15 minute break during their school day to have a quick spuntino, snack. They have about 5 subjects a day.

Tedesco – German

Matematica – Math

Storia – History

Scienze – Science

S.c. Motorie – P.E. (Sport, Corpo, Motorie – Sport, Body, Movement)

Religione – Religion (this is not obligatory, students can opt out, but schools must offer it)

Approfondimento – In-depth studies in literary subjects

Musica – Music

Arte – Art

Inglese – English

Tecnica – Technology

Lettere – Italian literature, grammar, writing

Geografia – Geography


Alla prossima! 

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.


  1. John Au:

    what do they do in sc motorie if there are no sports at school?

    • Bridgette:

      @John Au They learn about health and nutrition and participate in physical activity. When I said there are no sports in school, I am referring to the general American high school of organized sports teams. This is not common in Italy. Sports teams are community teams and therefore, not affiliated with schools.

  2. Pat:

    Wow! Italian schooling is superior to our British system, we really mollycoddle our kids in comparison I think. No wonder I didn’t get higher grades!

  3. Ian:

    Fascinante ! Posso capire adesso perche i amici nella classa rimangono i amici (o i nemici ) tutte le vite. Anche sono i risultati finali basati su le esame o i voti acquisiti durante l’anno scolastico o tutti e due ?

  4. Pat Rosta:

    I don’t understand why most of your posts are written almost completely in English. Typically the people reading this are students studying Italian, and use the reading as a tool for further knowledge.
    Is there any particular reason why there’s so much English and so little Italian?
    Thanks, and ciao!

    • Bridgette:

      @Pat Rosta Hi Pat,

      The point of the blog is not necessarily to be written completely in Italian. At times my posts are in Italian with English translation to give people the option, and at times my posts are more vocab, grammar, or cultural based. These posts are for all levels of Italian students, not just advanced or near-native speakers who prefer to read solely in Italian. I hope this helps.

      Thanks for your support, ciao!

  5. MJ:

    Molto interessante! What happens if you keep failing?

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