La Dolce Vita

Italian immersion without leaving Portland

Whether you trace your roots to Italy—or you’re just a fan of the country’s culture—check out Scuola Italiana di Portland (971-270-0470) for its rich array of classes, workshops, and annual events—including Carnavale—that help people of all ages deepen their connection with this beloved nation. The nonprofit school rents or borrows space throughout the city, including in the Pearl District, for its varied programming.

One key offering is Italian language classes, which are taught by native speakers and begin at pre-school age. If you’re looking just to dip a toe in the water, attend a free Scuola Meetup group. And if your preferred path to Italian culture is through your stomach, don’t miss Scuola’s cooking workshops at Cerulean Wine Bar.

“Parents’ Night Out,” the first Friday evening each month, is a popular new program. Parents can drop off children ages 3 to 10 at the Friendly House community center (1542 NW 14th Ave) to enjoy supervised activities—language tips, movies, and other fun. The idea, says program coordinator Heather Niles, is to introduce families to the school’s offerings. “We’re hoping to support Pearl businesses,” she adds. “From Friendly House, it’s easy for parents to enjoy a night out in the neighborhood.” The fee is $35, and there’s a discount for pre-registering. –Alison Stein