Language learning in a museum


The museums become the spaces and tools for learning or improving a foreign language (FL), through integrated content and language learning, with the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) method, which is now a regular feature of Italian schooling.

The CLIL experiences in our museums are specifically geared to this learning function and authentic use of the foreign language, with a range of activities supported by specially designed teaching materials, conducted by staff highly skilled in this methodology.




  • for Italian-speaking students (or at any rate non-English speakers) a foreign language activity or FL English means activities in English on given topics relating to the museum context.
  • for non-Italian speakers (for instance, young immigrants, but also other groups interested for various reasons in this experience), an activity in Italian as a “second language” (L2), instead comprises activities aimed as an introduction to the language and to the culture of Italy.

In each case, however, the museums stand out as formidable “talking” and “facilitating” structures.
Below are the activities proposed. The Duration of all the activities is 2 hours.

The CLIL activities in English and in Italian must be booked online, as with all the MUVE activities.




Secondary school (pupils aged 11/18)


Looking for the Right Words: Museums as opportunities for language practice
Ca’ Rezzonico – Venice Eighteen Century Venice Museum
Ca’ Pesaro- Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna

Arranged differently for first or second grade secondary school, CLIL activities in English (FL) are conducted by a research graduate in CLIL at the Department of Comparative Linguistic and Cultural Studies at Ca’ Foscari University, and are held in museums, taking the form of interactive conversations which – with the help of supporting materials, activity books and glossaries which are then given to students – look at the works, spaces, impressions and emotions that they generate.


Senior secondary school (pupils aged 15+)


The Stones of Venice
Doge’s Palace

This is a special and unordinary visit to the Doge’s Palace guided, so to speak, by John Ruskin himself. along a route suggested by his famus book The Stones of Venice ( 1851-53) to rediscover the views and reflections of this author, who played a decisive role in the nineteenth-century revaluation of Italian pre-Renaissance art. The activity is supported by an activity book with selected extracts from The Stones of Venice in the original language, that will be read in front of the works to which they refer, to appreciate the quality of the writing, and to enable participants to practise their understanding and discuss the theme in FL (= foreign language).


Junior secondary school (pupils aged 12/16)


Animal classification
Natural History Museum of Venice Giancarlo Ligabue

A didactic visit that makes it possible to understand the meaning of phylogenetic classification through a study of the concepts of analogy and homology. This interactive English Language (FL) workshop consists of a guided observation of items through listening and conversation, processing of texts and tables, and use of specialised vocabulary.

Exploring the lagoon
Natural History Museum of Venice Giancarlo Ligabue

A visit held in English (FL) to deepen one’s knowledge of the multiplicity of habitats and organisms that characterise the Venetian lagoon. The workshop includes the observation of finds, the use of cartography and some small experiments, flanked by listening and conversation activities to facilitate the learning of a specialised vocabulary.




Primary and secondary schools (pupils aged 7/18)


Il Linguaggio delle immagini e delle cose
Ca’ Rezzonico – Venice Eighteen Century Venice Museum
Museo del Vetro

The museums selected for this activity in Italian L2 are particularly suitable for this kind of experience, thanks to the language of the images, the architecture and the various cultural “objects” displayed, and offer an extraordinary and immediate instrument for cultural exchange, thanks to the specially designed approach. The activities can be targeted not only to whole classes but also to groups of people of different backgrounds and ages. It is also possible to construct personalised approaches based on special needs (for this, please contact

The language of nature
Natural History Museum of Venice Giancarlo Ligabue

An Italian L2 visit intended for non-Italians in the exhibition rooms of the museum, which, with their appealing and engaging layout, allow a multisensory voyage of discovery of the natural world. To facilitate language learning, the visit is enriched with images and finds, interactive maps and sheets that act as back-ups for the listening and conversational activities, offering a first-hand initial experience of the Italian language and culture.