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From Pasolini to Pirandello, Fellini to Foscolo

Welcome to the Italian A level course at RIC. Here, you will embark on a comprehensive journey through the Italian language, culture, and history. Our curriculum is designed to provide a holistic understanding of Italy, its society, and its contributions to the world.

Throughout the course, you will engage with various forms of media, including Italian newspapers, news broadcasts, and cinema. These resources will not only enhance your language skills but also deepen your knowledge of contemporary Italian society.

From renowned literary works to modern-day masterpieces you will explore the rich literary tradition of Italy. Additionally, you will analyze influential films by directors like Federico Fellini and Paolo Sorrentino, gaining insight into Italian cinema and its cultural significance.

By the completion of this course, you will emerge not only proficient in Italian- if of course you are not already a native speaker- but also equipped with a nuanced understanding of Italian culture and its place in the global context. 

Exam Specification


100% exams, no coursework.

Paper 1 (Listening, reading and translation 40% of A level) 2 hours; Paper 2 (writing, 30% of A level) - 2 hours 40 minutes; Paper 3 (speaking, 30% of A level) - 21–23 minutes.

Paper 1 (listening, reading and translation)

This paper draws on vocabulary and structures across all four themes which are based on the society and culture of the language being studied. It includes a listening assessment, a reading assessment and a translation section (from Italian into English). Total marks 80. No access to a dictionary during the assessment.

Paper 2 (Written response to works and translation)

This paper includes a translation exercise (from English into Italian) and two essays on either two literary texts or one literary text and one film. The works must be taken from the list provided by the exam board. The literary texts listed include novels, a play and short stories. The six films are all feature length. Total marks 120.
No access to texts or films during the assessment. No access to a dictionary during the assessment. Students are advised to write approximately 300/ 350 words per essay.

Paper 3 (speaking)

Students complete two speaking tasks:
Task 1 is a discussion on a theme from the list of themes provided by the exam board, featuring a stimulus statement and followed by a student-examiner debate/discussion on the theme.

Task 2 is a presentation and a discussion on an independent research project carried out by the student. The research may be based on one of the themes or on the student’s own subject of interest related to Italian- speaking society and culture.

No access to a dictionary during the assessment (including 5 minutes preparation). Students may take the assessment only once before certification. Total marks 72.

Main Themes

Theme 1 - Social Issues and trends: Changes in Italian society (family, education, work)

Theme 2 - Political and/or intellectual and/or artistic culture: Political and artistic culture in the Italian-speaking world (Music, Media and Cultural heritage)

Theme 3 - Social Issues and trends: Evolving Italian society ( the positive impact of immigration, facing the challenges of migration, North/South Divide)

Theme 4 - Political and/or intellectual and/or artistic culture: Fascism and beyond (the rise of Mussolini, Fascism in World War Two, From dictatorship to democracy)

Curious about Italian?

Read - Italian online magazine with articles about a wide range of topics, in particular current affairs in Italy and in the world. They also provide a newsletter with updates. - online articles and videos about what’s happening in Italy and in the world - a collection of main Italian online newspapers such as La Gazzetta, Ansa, Il Messaggero, Il Corriere etc. - cool website with articles and stories about specific words in Italian, about their history and how the meaning changed. Useful to extend your vocabulary!

Listen podcasts in English and Italian with a focus on specific grammar points and way of using tenses etc. - practice your Italian with free podcasts
(though you can pay for transcripts and exercises)- there are different levels. - another good website with podcasts and videos - YouTube videos of songs in Italian and lyrics - to practice your
comprehension and your... singing skills! - this website allows you to scroll through a huge list of radio stations which you can listen to streaming live. This is the list for Italy. The most popular stations in Italy
are: Radio Italia, RDS, RTL 102.5, Radio Deejay, Radio 105, Rai Radio Uno, Radio Kiss Kiss, Radio 24 Il sole 24 ore ? GUARDA:
Celebrities speaking Italian
Colin Firth - interview in Italian

Promotional video to encourage secondary-school students in the UK and Ireland to study Italian at university - website with short videoclips from Italian movies and TV shows
with subtitles - however you need to subscribe to have full access. - excellent Youtube channel made by a native Italian teacher explaining grammar for advanced students with videos


NETFLIX and AMAZON Prime offer a lot of Italian dubbed and subtitled films and series. There a few Italian movies there as well, suggestions are:
 L’uomo senza gravità (magic realism film)
 La mafia uccide solo d'estate (comedy, crime)
 Roberto Saviano: uno scrittore sotto scorta (documentary on Roberto Saviano)
 Slam (teenagers film)
 Benvenuto Presidente! (comedy)
 First team:Juventus (only if you’re a Juventus supporter!)

Speak - list of questions divided
by level, it would be good to answer those questions and record yourself on your phone/laptop. Don’t
worry if you make mistakes. This will help you get “into the mood” for the Speaking exam.
Write - Useful advice on how to practise writing skills in simple ways
My suggestion?- have a diary/journal in Italian to record your day to day activities (what you did, what you watched, what you ate etc, with of course your opinions! ) Add your plans for the next day/week using future tense too. You can also use the questions list from the speaking link (see above) and answer them in writing.

Preparation for A levels 

Another suggestion could be to start practising your essay skills and vocabulary by writing short paragraphs in Italian on (possibly Italian) books or films you have recently read/watched and your opinions on those, basically like a personal review.


Interactive grammar exercises: and

Websites to practise listening, reading and grammar, with some nice bits on Italian culture - you can check the conjugation of verbs if you’re not sure! - sets of vocabulary lists which you can learn and practice
in preparation for the A level course - the vocabulary is English/Italian so it’s good for translation too - excellent website with a variety of online and interactive exercises to practise all your skills and your grammar practise translation and vocabulary here - some
translationa exercises English -Italian which you can then check

Apps - Best Apps to Learn Italian
Duolinguo is my favourite (you can choose language and they test your level to see where to start from)- it also gives you the chance to practise speaking and pronunciation.