The Italian Language Program (ILP)

The “Pride” of the Italian Cultural Society.

The Italian Language Program, founded in 1974 with contributions from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, supports the primary mission of the Italian Cultural Society of Washington, DC namely: “the promotion and diffusion of  Italian Language and Culture.”

We are the leading private language school in the metropolitan area, focused on educating a growing learning community of adults, teenagers and children.

Beginners with no previous knowledge of Italian should register for Beginners 1 (A1). Learners with previous knowledge of Italian can identify their level from the following definitions of the CEFR, and contact us at [email protected] or at the (301) 215-7885 to determine which course is appropriate for them.

The curricula of our language classes are designed in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)The CEFR is an internationally recognized framework that describes 6 levels of language ability from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. The CEFR is used by organizations all over the world as a reliable benchmark of language ability.

Most of our courses  at our headquarters or online.

—>  In 2018 we started the ILP Virginia Chapter, with courses for adults and children. Now, courses for children take place in:

– Green Acres Center, 4401 Sideburn Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030 (5-7 yrs old and Elementary school children.)  See Programs for Kids & Teens: –>

Cortona Academy School, 13505 Dulles Technology Dr Suite 3, Herndon, VA 20171. Beginner level started December 1st 2022 for 10 weeks. New session will start in March (dates TBD)

  • Middle school and High School Thu. 3:50-5:20 (Text book: Espresso Ragazzi 1)  – free
  • Adults Thu. 5:30-7:30 (Text book: Nuovo Contatto A1) – $350

Winter courses for adults will start January 9th

All our teachers are native Italian speakers and experienced in teaching Italian as a second language. They attend periodical training workshops to ensure we offer current and qualified methods of teaching. Some of them hold prestigious PhD and had a career in universities.

Each course is designed around the needs and interests of the participants. Culture is an essential part of the courses from the beginner levels, and advanced students can deepen their knowledge of History, Literature, Cinema, Opera, Art, Food, Travel, and much more. We recently added Latin classes, and other cultural classes in English.

Which Level Is Right for You?

Level A1 - Beginner


Can understand basic instructions or take part in a basic factual conversation on a predictable topic.


Can understand basic notices, instructions or information.


Can complete basic forms, and write notes including times, dates and places.

Level A2 - Elementary


Can express simple opinions or requirements in a familiar context.


Can understand straightforward information within a known area, such as on products and signs and simple textbooks or reports on familiar matters.


Can complete forms and write short simple letters or postcards related to personal information.

Level B1 - Pre-Intermediate


Can express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area, and understand instructions or public announcements.


Can understand routine information and articles, and the general meaning of non-routine information within a familiar area.


Can write letters or make notes on familiar or predictable matters.

Level B2 - Intermediate


Can follow or give a talk on a familiar topic or keep up a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics.


Can scan texts for relevant information, and understand detailed instructions or advice.


Can make notes while someone is talking or write a letter including non-standard requests.

Level C1 - Advanced


Can contribute effectively to meetings and seminars within own area of work or keep up a casual conversation with a good degree of fluency, coping with abstract expressions.


Can read quickly enough to cope with an academic course, to read the media for information or to understand non-standard correspondence.


Can prepare/draft professional correspondence, take reasonably accurate notes in meetings or write an essay which shows an ability to communicate.

Level C2 - Native Speaker


Can advise on or talk about complex or sensitive issues, understanding colloquial references and dealing confidently with hostile questions.


Can understand documents, correspondence and reports, including the finer points of complex texts.


Can write letters on any subject and full notes of meetings or seminars with good expression and accuracy.

The class about Sicilia was AMAZING! I’m sooooo happy that I had the opportunity to take that class! It was an opening or discover moment in my life in which I learned so much from my ancestral home that I’m planning a visit to Sicilia very soon! Professor Sabina was GREAT! I hope to take more Italian history classes from her. Her husband was also great. I enjoyed the food, the food…. It was like heaven ?
Guido S. P.

The ICS is the source for not only learning to speak the Italian language, but also for discovering Italy in its history, arts, and culture.  Under the new leadership of Francesca Casazza, the Italian Language Program has had an innovative transformation with an approach to learning the Italian language that is both inviting and educational.”As a novice student having taken Francesca’s classes, I have learned tremendously and gained an affability to pursue the Italian language to its fluency.  Francesca’s style of teaching is a model for language teachers alike, as she incorporates a scholastic way of teaching that is fun for anyone learning a language, while allowing the student to feel confident in his/her ability to learn (even when I make many mistakes speaking).If you want to learn Italian, come to the Italian Cultural Society of DC.
Adhafera R.

“Thank you so much for your help with this.  I am excited to start planning our day in the city where my grandfather was born and it will be so helpful to have an experienced local guide.
I am a new student in your wonderful language school.  I must tell you how impressed I am with the program.  Lucy was extremely helpful when I was doing drop-in classes in December and I feel like I have now found the perfect class.  Dario is a marvelous teacher and he has put me at ease and made learning fun.
Thank you again”

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