Italy Unit Study

Explore Italy with this free homeschool Italy unit study that covers Italian art, music, recipes, language, landmark, and more.

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Picture Books

Coming soon

Colosseum

The Colosseum was a Roman amphitheater built in 70 AD. The end of its construction was celebrated with 100 days of Roman games used to draw large crowds. It was a prominent structure for nearly four centuries until it fell into a state of disrepair and materials began to be scrapped for other projects. Today, the two-thirds of the original structure that remains is a huge draw for tourists from around the globe.  

Try these art projects inspired by the Colosseum:

Then, read more about the Colosseum:

Artists

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was a scientist, engineer, inventor, sculptor, musician, painter, and more! His best-known paintings are the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. His brain was constantly thinking, imagining, and working things out. Most of his inventions never left the drawing board, but they include the helicopter, calculator, parachute, robot, and solar power. Today, da Vinci is regarded as one of the smartest and most talented individuals ever to live. 

Try these art projects inspired by his life:

Books:

  • Who Was Leonardo da Vinci? by Roberta Edwards
  • Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci by Gene Barretta
  • Leonardo and the Flying Boy by Laurence Anholt
  • Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself by Maxine Anderson
  • Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer by Robert Byrd

Michelangelo

Michelangelo was born into a family of five boys in Caprese, Italy in 1475. As a teenager, he was granted an apprenticeship under a famous painter and his love of art grew and developed as fast as his talent. He is best known for his notable painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, as well as his life-like sculptures David and Pieta. 

Try these art projects inspired by his life:

Books:

  • Michelangelo for Kids by Simonetta Carr
  • Stone Giant: Michelangelo’s David and How He Came to Be by Jane Sutcliffe
  • Michelangelo’s Surprise by Tony Parillo
  • Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Michelangelo by Mike Venezia

Raphael

Raphael was an Italian painter who is most well-known for his Madonna series of frescoes. He was also commissioned to paint several Italian churches throughout his lifetime, beginning with the Church of San Nicola in his hometown and later moving to more notable projects in the Vatican. 

Try these art projects inspired by his life:

Books:

  • Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Raphael by Mike Venezia
  • Raphael: Art for Children by Ernest Raboff
  • Art Profiles for Kids: Raphael by Juliet Mofford

Music

Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi was a musician and composer who often played violin with his father as a young boy. After entering the priesthood, he continued to develop his musical talents. Soon he learned how to combine his desire to live a life in service to God and his desire to continue to play music. He began teaching at a girl’s orphanage and often wrote music for the girls to perform. Today, Vivaldi’s more than 500 concertos continue to delight, and many consider him to be the most famous Italian composer of all time. 

Here are three of his most famous songs:

  • The Four Seasons
  • La Primavera
  • The Sea Storm

Domenico Scarlatti

Scarlatti was a Baroque composer whose style was also combined with the Classical style, the period in which he was trained. Many of his works were unpublished while he was living, but today 555 of his piano sonatas are in print. 

Here are three of his most famous songs:

  • Salve Regina
  • Stabat Mater
  • Fandango

Science

Leonardo Fibonacci

Leonardo Fibonacci was an Italian mathematician most noted for his discovery of a mathematical phenomenon naturally occurring in the world known as the ‘Fibonacci numbers’ or ‘Fibonacci sequence’. He is also responsible for other contributions to number theory like the fraction bar, place value, and decimals. 

Books:

  • Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D’Agnese
  • Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell
  • Wild Fibonacci: Nature’s Secret Code Revealed by Joy Hulme
  • The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett
  • Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman

Galileo Galilei

Galileo was curious about many things as a child. He loved learning, and when he entered university, Galileo added a love for physics and mathematics to his musical talents. Galileo graduated and became a teacher, where he started to perform experiments and test hypotheses based on his observations. This was revolutionary at the time, as no scientists (as we think of them today) existed. He fine-tuned this process and developed the scientific method. Later in life, his notable contributions to science also came to include the Tower of Pisa experiment, the idea that the planets moved around the sun, and the invention of the telescope.  

Books:

Recipes 

White Bean Peperonata

This simple, vegan dish would be a great addition to your Meatless Monday!

Fettuccini Carbonara

A classic pasta dish from Italy, perfect for whipping up quickly with the kids. 

Rainbow Pizza

A healthy and different twist on the normal pizza, topped with a rainbow of fresh veggies. 

One-pan Caprese Pasta

Cheesy pasta, basil, and tomatoes all combine in one pan for a delicious and simple meal. 

Italian Meatloaf

A delectable meatloaf that tastes just like meatballs!

Movies Set in Italy

Roman Holiday

A princess, disillusioned with her life as a royal, travels to Italy and falls in love with an American reporter who doesn’t know her true identity. 

La Vita E Bella

A Jewish librarian and his son are forced into a concentration camp during WWII. To keep his son’s spirits up, the father crafts elaborate stories and spins a web of imagination that keeps him going as well. This is my all-time favorite movie, but only a good one for ages 12+. Grab the movie guide here.

The Italian Job

Charlie Croker and his team suffer a near-fatal betrayal at the hands of a former friend in Italy. The group plans a detailed heist to recover their treasure and get revenge. Full of action and drama, rated PG-13. 

Neapolitan Mouse

Tom is chasing Jerry again–this time through the streets of Naples! A local mouse becomes their tour guide around the city and a group of dogs joins the chase. 

Letters to Juliet

Sophie, an American reporter, travels to Italy and discovers a group of ladies that call themselves the “Secretaries of Juliet”. The group has taken it upon themselves to answer the letters left in the courtyard of Juliet’s Verona Courtyard, and Sophie decides to join them in their efforts. When she finds a lost letter from a woman named Claire written years earlier, Sophie is determined to help Claire get her happy ending. What she doesn’t know is that maybe her happy ending is also closer than she thinks. 

View all of my European unit studies here!

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Samantha is an entrepreneur and a former homeschool student from Indiana, USA. When not blogging, Samantha can be found reading about WWII, trying to speak Hebrew, and wasting time on Pinterest. Her work can be found on Free Homeschool Deals, Unigo, True Aim Education, Encouraging Moms at Home, and more.

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