For somebody it could be a surprise but Italian is the forth language most widely studied around the world. After English (obviously the first language in the world), Spanish and French, Italian achieve a very important position in the ranking.
Italian language has overcome strong business language as German (especially for the EU zone), Chinese and Japanese. Italian is not a “business language” but there are several reasons for this success. Italy is recognised as the country of Food, Music and Literature. There are a lot of adult students who decide to learn Italian because they love typical Italian food or the Italian music and opera. The Italian culture is a push for foreign people: our cuisine and music attract a lot of students around the world.
Actually the Italian success is also providing by the Italian literature and cultural heritage. People are approaching Italian language thanks to Dante Alighieri and the most important Italian author. Indeed if someone wants to understand the Divine Comedy he needs to learn Italian in order to entirely appreciate the poem.
There is also another important reason which is the pleasure to travel in Italy thanks to the beautiful cities full of cultural heritage and beauty. Venice, Rome, Florence and the other Italian cities are an incredible attraction for foreign people and there are a lot of students who are learning Italian because they regularly go to Italy for holiday.
This is an excellent goal but we can increase it and spread more and more the Italian language. In fact there a lot of Dante Alighieri Societies around the world who are sharing the Italian language and culture; unfortunately these societies don’t receive funding from Italian government so that they can’t invest and increase their business and offer. Compared to Cervantes (Spanish cultural centre) and Goethe (German cultural centre), La Dante Aligheri is less favoured but we hope that in the future Italian government decide to invest on Italian language because there is a huge space for the language of Dante, Music and Food.