The school

La piccola scuola was born out of two passions. Firstly: teaching Italian to foreigners. Secondly: the passion for a city- Matera. This is our tiny school of Italian language and culture. It is as tiny as the city hosting it. A school with a family and informal atmosphere, where courses are all tailor-made according to our students’ needs- a starting point to get to know Italian culture through its language, places and traditions.

Our goal is to provide a unique experience to those coming to our school, thus allowing our students to immerse themselves into the Italian language and culture and fully enjoy our city. The school is located in the historic centre of Matera and we have online courses and via Skype classes too, from this year. Our students will be able to study, read, listen to and learn Italian, wherever they are. The online teaching method perfectly complements face-to-face classes. Online courses may help you  get ready before your next trip to Italy or keep in touch with the Italian language, after attending a face-to-face class.


About us


One day, some years ago, having accepted a job offer, I found myself in a classroom full of foreign students willing to learn Italian. It was “love at first sight”. After a while I came back to my home town, Matera. I started a different career, but I kept cultivating my passion for teaching. I taught Italian when I could. I further studied to refine my teaching methods. The idea to open my own school of Italian for foreigners started to take shape. This idea then turned into a project. And after a few years it was real: La piccola scuola. I’m happy. I hope you will be too when you come to pay a visit!

Brief educational information

I have a degree in Foreign Language and Literature- University of Naples “l’Orientale”. I obtained Ditals II, a qualification certifying an advanced competence in teaching Italian to foreigners, Foreigners University of Siena. I participated in a workshop named “Insegnare Letteratura” (Teaching Literature)- Laboratorio Itals – Comparative Language and Culture Studies Department- Ca’ Foscari University. Venice. I attended an in-depth online course – Corso filim “Insegnamento dell’italiano lingua straniera” (Teaching Italian as a foreign language) – Ca’ Foscari University. Venice.

The courses

Whether students are having a long or a short-term course at La piccola scuola, our goal is to put our students directly in contact with Italian language and culture. All classes will be held in Italian to develop the student’s will and skill to use Italian for communication purposes, learning how to speak, write, listen and read. This is why our teaching material ranges from extracts from fictional novels and newspaper articles, songs, videos, movie, extracts from blogs, podcasts, Instagram accounts, Youtube clips, TV series. There surely are fun activities, to better remember vocabulary and main grammar rules while playing games.


Classes are 50 minutes each.

1 hour lesson


2 hours lesson



classes are 50 minutes each

1 hours


2 hours


3 hours



10/20 classes a week (from monday to friday, in the morning or afternoon). 4 students at most.

1 week

€220,00 (per person)

2 weeks

€396,00 (per person)

3 weeks

€560,00 (per person)

4 weeks

€704,00 (per person)

ask information

enrol in la piccola scuola

The city

Declared the Italian host of European Capital of Culture for 2019, Matera is really a unique city. Located in the region of Basilicata, in southern Italy, famous for being the third oldest housing settlement in the world and crossroads of civilizations between Greek and Byzantine cultures. Visitors can find evidence of this in the natural caves of the Murgia plateau, rupestrian churches with old frescos and the ancient town, the “Sassi”, considered World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993. Besides being the host of museums showcasing the history of the city and its surroundings, from prehistory to contemporary art, the city of the Sassi is a culturally thriving centre that has been featuring exhibitions and events of national and international importance for years. With its increasingly growing forward-looking approach, the city of the Sassi combines a new international outlook, due to the many foreigners who have decided to live in here, with the low-paced life typical of southern towns, giving the visitors a chance to come in direct contact with the city’s inhabitants.

They say about us

Things to do in Matera

They say about us

“Mi è piaciuta molto la città e ho visitato molti posti interessanti. Penso di aver imparato più italiano, più parole e anche un po’ di congiuntivo. E’ stato un ottimo soggiorno e sono stata contenta di tutto. Anche il tempo è stato fantastico”.

Inger, Norway.

“In may of 2019 I spent 2 weeks at Matera and frequented “La piccola scuola”. I had a double lesson each day, all on my own with the teacher and owner of the school, Elisabetta. At the beginning of each lesson we talked about what I had been doing in my spare time and each day she gave me new ideas on where to go and what to see, which I followed whenever possible, and never regretted. Her lessons were both demanding and highly interesting, Elisabetta succeded in bringing in variety and depth. We worked on grammar and literary texts, did listening comprehension, we discussed questions of style and vocabulary, differences between written adn spoken italian as well as regional idiosyncrasies. In between we listened to Italian popular songs and watched a funny cartoon on TV. Elisabetta is a teacher who knows how to challenge students, so thaty they can make progress, learn from their mistakes and improve. She is highly professional, passionate and patient and stimulated me in a variety of ways. She gave me clarity where there had been confusion and helped me organise the knowledge I had acquired before I came to Matera. Matera, being the European cultural capital of 2019, is definetely worth a visit, it is extraordinary, unique, “una meraviglia”, and if you can combine a visit to Matera with a course at “La piccola scuola” you get the perfect fusion of knowledge and study with culture and art.”

Markus, Switzerland.

I had the great opportunity to do a two-month course with Elisabetta everyday for two hours. It was a wonderfully rewarding experience. Because, beyond the great progress I’ve made with the language, Elisabetta was always giving me more cultural insights so that I can use the language at best, in all its subtlety. Thanks to her, I speak Italian fluently. Moreover, her curiosity, her sincere interest in my work and her will to meet my needs, allowed me to deepen my knowledge of my field of activity (namely zero-waste) in italian. Elisabetta is really a beautiful personne, kind, professional and passionate, I can only recommend her to you ! And finally, what better than to learn Italian in the most fascinating city of Italy ? Matera is as wonderful as are the inhabitants that live there.

Cécile, France.

“I took three individual Italian lessons with Elisabetta at La Piccola Scuola in Matera.  Before I arrived, Elisabetta asked what I needed to work on and when I got there, she had lessons planned and worksheets printed out.  Elisabetta is very professional, knowledgeable and patient.  In the three hours we covered a lot of material and I was impressed with how clearly she explained things.  The school is in the lovely city of Matera, the European Capital of Culture 2019.  If you want to learn Italian or brush up on your Italian language skills in a picturesque southern Italian town, I highly recommend La Piccola Scuola”.

Diane, Usa.

“I had a wonderfully enjoyable and rewarding learning experience with Piccola Scola. Having taken a series of private classes during my visit to Matera, the school tailored them to my individual needs using a creative combination of tools- role play, listening, reading and writing excersises. The school and Elisabetta offered a personal touch and a fruitful understanding of the  Italian culture and language, maximising on what exactly I needed from these sessions. I will certainly be pursuing further classes going forward, to further strengthen my knowledge. Thanks to Elisabetta for a excellent introduction to my Italian !”.

Dina, England.

“This was the first time that I took a language course in the country where the target language was spoken (instead of taking weekly classes in my city), and it was the right decision because “Immersion” is so much easier this way. The school is located in a really lovely town and offers a good atmosphere in a nice building. Elisabetta, the teacher and director,  is very motivated and it was a pleasure to learn with her. She answered every question we had and took our individual room for improvement into account. I attended a two week course with 4 hours of lessons daily (Monday to Friday), in a very small group of 3. Local people were very relaxed and reacted favourably to our attemps to transfer theory into practice – very important because to learn a language, it needs to be spoken, without fear of making mistakes. – It is easy to move around in Matera, my apartment was only a five minute walk away from the school. There are several museums, lots of restaurants and cafés, and possibilities to make excursions to neighboring places using public transportation. I really hope to come back and improve my Italian skills!”.

Sophie, Switzerland.

La Piccola Scuola really is a small school. When I was there I was the only student for one week and there were two of us during the second. This allows the lessons to be well suited to the personal needs of the students. Elisabetta, apart from being very sympathetic, is a good teacher. I really enjoyed the lessons. Of course, the school is situated in the ancient city center of Matera, which makes it a unique place to learn Italian. I hope to return to this great city and to this school!

Joop, Holland

I recently spent a week studying italian language and culture with Elisabetta at La Piccola Scuola.Elisabetta is very passionate about the language and the town of Matera. She was very patient with my limited italian, was able toquickly assess my level and to design the classes to my best advantage. She was very patient and explained the grammar and theidiosyncracies of the language very well.Matera itself is one of the most fascinating towns I have visited. It is alive with history and there is plenty to do here, visiting the Sassi,the cave dwellings, underground churches and museums.It was a great combination of study and discovery which I highly recommend to others interested in the language and history of Italy.Thank you again, Elisabetta.

Lynda, Australia

Durante la mia vacanza di una settimana a Matera in giugno ho frequentato il corsoindividuale di questa scuola per 2 giorni, 3 ore al giorno.L’insegnante era seria, brava e simpatica. Mi sembrava che a lei piacesse insegnare.Le lezioni sono state interessanti e divertenti. Mi ha preparato i diversi materiali didattici enon mi sono stancata.La posizione della scuola è molto buona, si può vedere il bellissimo panorama del SassoBarisano dalla sua terrazza.

Rie Yoshida, Giappone

Thanks to Elisabetta’s excellent teaching skills and the varied material she provided (texts for reading, film-clips for listening, tasks for writing, but also common, though sometimes challenging grammar-exercises) I think that I have finally succeeded in bridging the gap between my original, rather rudimentary Italian and the more tricky aspects of that language. After the end of my two-week course at La Piccola Scuola I spent some more time in beautiful and stunning Matera and Southern Italy, and it was actually then that I fully realized how much I had profited from what Elisabetta had taught me. Unless people spoke dialect – Elisabetta sets great store on a beautiful “classical” and correct Italian – I understood everyone almost fully and was able to participate in conversations on almost any subject, and even to use some idiomatic expressions. And, stimulated by Elisabetta’s own interest in literature and films, I have now started to read Italian novels – almost fluently – to keep abreast of what I have learnt. Thanks a lot, Elisabetta.

Urs, Switzerland

I’ve come to Matera for three weeks to learn Italian. I couldn’t say much but « Spaghetti » and « pomodoro » when I arrived. In three weeks, I have improved more than I could imagine, thanks to these courses. Elisabetta is an attentive and really kind person and teacher. She is methodic, patient, and encouraging. She does everything for you to evolve in a comfortable environnement. Plus, she is a curious person. Knowing about my work in cinema, she has adapted her lesson to help me learning basis of the cinema language. I have loved going to these classes everyday, and also before/after class sharing about the Italian and the French culture, about the nice spots in Matera and Italia, and having coffee together. Grazie per tutto Elisabetta. Spero che ci rivedremo presto.

Louise, France

Ho frequentato un corso di italiano di due settimane a La Piccola Scuola di Elisabetta in autunno 2017 e sono contentissimo di averlo fatto. Oltre ad aver imparato molto sulla lingua e cultura italiana, mi sono divertito tanto studiando nel nostro piccolo gruppo. Grazie all’utilizzo di materiali e metodi didattici versatili – spaziando dai diversi generi di testi (narrativi, giornalistici), canzoni e video ai giochi divertentissimi – e grazie soprattutto alla professionalità e gentilezza di Elisabetta, è migliorata a vista d’occhio la mia capacità di produrre e capire la lingua italiana. Consigliatissima! Saluti da Helsinki!

Timo, Finlandia

Things to do in Matera

Whether it is winter or summer, it is always the right time to come to Matera to learn Italian. In spring, the wheather is warm, days are longer and persistenly sunny. This is the right moment to dine outdoors, walk around the alleyways and narrow streets of the Sassi, or for a hike on the Murgia plateau or discover rupestrian churches. In the summer, open air concerts and shows, music and literary festivals liven up the city’s squares. This is when contemporary scuplture exhibitions open up in rupestrian churches. The religious feast of Madonna della Bruna is also held on July 2. And when it is stifling hot, the beaches on the Ionian Sea, a few kilometres away from Matera, are just the best place to go. In autumn the air becomes crisper, the sun makes way for the rain and the seasons change reveals its evocative charm. A trip to Parco Nazionale del Pollino might offer the chance to admire the foliage before leaves fall to the ground. Who prefers to stay in the city, may choose to explore the warm museums. Winter in Matera is the best time for a peaceful atmosphere. In december visitors can experience the live nativity scene set in the Sassi and enjoy the traditional local dishes in the several city’s restaurants, taking advantage of the seasonal cold weather. This is when the theatre season opens, and some music festivals are also held.

Entrance exam

If you want to put your Italian to the test, then try our online test. You don’t really have to. In fact, to detect your level of Italian, we will provide you with a test on the first day of your course. This is going to help us offer you the course that is more suitable to your needs. For what regards your level of Italian, find your own profile among the three below:

Elementary level:

A1: you can interact in a simple way, can give information about yourself and the place where you live, the people you know and the things you have. It’s a good start. We can move on together!

A2: you can communicate in simple situations and exhchange information on familiar and routine matters. You can understand simple sentences and frequently used expressions. You are well on the way, let’s move forward now.

Intermediate level:

B1: definitely a good level. You can understand the main points of clear standard input. You can also share experiences and events and deal with topics of personal interest. You can use the past tense (well done, it is not that easy in Italian!) and give your opinion on familiar matters. You are just ready for the big jump.

B2: you’re almost there. You can interact with an Italian, not an easy task. You can express your opinion on different topics making use of a fairly wide vocabulary. It’s time to dig deeper.

Advanced level:

C1: you’ve made it. You can express ideas fluently without much searching for expressions. You can tackle complex topics and produce clear, well-structured, detailed texts.

C2: you are more Italian than Italians. You can express yourself fluently and understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. You can handle a conversation even in the most complex situations. You can dive into the many hues of Italian now.


Elementary level

Roberta italiana e 40 anni. a Roma in appartamento in centro. Roberta fa scrittrice. Lavora casa e molto tempo da sola. Per questo motivo esce tutte le . Il lunedì e giovedì fa yoga, il martedì lingua spagnola, il mercoledì va cinema, il venerdì segue un corso di cucina e il sabato va al ristorante con amici, la domenica fino a tardi.

Roberta ha amici, ma migliore amica Angelica. Roberta e Angelica di solito il sabato pomeriggio insieme in giro per i negozi. Passano tutto il tempo a e a raccontarsi quello che è successo durante la settimana. Roberta molto soddisfatta della sua vita, le manca solo un fidanzato.

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Intermediate level

Ciao Raoul, è da tanto tempo che non sentiamo. Come ? Come sta il tuo lavoro? Io ho cose da raccontarti. Questa estate andata con i miei amici un’isola delle Canarie dove si pratica surf. C’è sempre vento ed è il luogo ideale per sport. Io, che non so fare surf, deciso di prendere delle lezioni. Insieme a me tre ragazzi e tre ragazze. Tutti molto . E qui viene il bello. Tra ragazzi c’era Marco. Un ragazzo 35 anni, alto, fisico , la barba e un sorriso.

Ovviamente io non imparato a fare surf, però l’ultimo giorno di corso, Marco ha invitato a uscire. Siamo andati a cena un piccolo ristorante sul mare. Da allora non ci siamo più lasciati! Non vedo l’ora di conoscere. Secondo me piacerà molto. Ti abbraccio e tue notizie.

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Advanced level

Marco e Laura sono proprio fatti l’uno per l’altra, e ci messo davvero poco per capirlo. Si sono all’Università. l’abitudine, d’estate la pausa pranzo, di sedersi panchine del cortile della Facoltà, lei spesso da sola, e lui con i amici. Fu lei a notarlo per prima. Quello che Laura fu la sua risata. Quando in compagnia dei suoi amici, Marco trascorreva l’ora della pausa barzellette e ridendo a crepapelle. giorno Laura, mentre stava leggendo, fu distolta da una risata. Si e notò Marco.

osservò a lungo, finché anche lui la guardò. un colpo di fulmine. Dopo qualche giorno, fecero amicizia, e a ridere insieme. Fu così che la loro storia amore. Oggi, dopo dieci anni, sono insieme.

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Ask for information

La piccola scuola is online. You will be informed as soon as face-to-face courses are available again. You can learn Italian via Skype from your couch, in the meanwhile. Please fill the form below and we will arrange something. In case you have any other needs, we would like to meet them. Please fill the form below or, if you are interested in Italian things, subscribe to your Newsletter.

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Enrol in La piccola scuola

La piccola scuola is online. You will be informed as soon as face-to-face courses are available again. You can learn Italian via Skype from your couch, in the meanwhile. Please fill the form below and we will arrange something.

I consent to the processing of my personal data, within the meanings our GDPR Policy.

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  I have read and accept terms and conditions


You will receive an email to confirm your enrolment status.

Besides sending the enrolment form, an advance shall be paid via bank transfer (bank charges shall be paid by the student).

The advance sum for week-end courses is 30% of the global amount.

The advance sum for individual courses is 50% of the global amount.

The balance due must be paid at least seven days before the course starts, via bank transfer.

Teaching material is included in the course price.

The student may have a test on his/her first day of the course to pinpoint his/her leveI of Italian.

In case the course is cancelled, this will be noticed 15 days before the classes start (possible bank charges shall be paid by the student).

In case of a Group course with just one or two students, daily classes will last 2 hours (individual classes) instead of 4.

Classes take place in the morning or in the afternoon.

The minimum age of the students in our courses is 18


La piccola scuola di Elisabetta Caruso

via del Corso, 7 • 75100 Matera