Harrogate cafe gives school pupils appetite for languages

Staff at an independent Italian café in Harrogate have been helping students at a local school improve their language skills.

Caffe Marconi, a café by day and pizzeria by night, has been open in Princes Square, Harrogate, for the past seven years.

Owned and run by Italian chef Stefano Lancellotti and his wife Sara, who also own neighbouring award-winning restaurant Sasso, the café is well-known in the town.

So when staff at Ashville College were looking for a venue to take students to practice their Italian skills, they looked no further than family-run Caffe Marconi.

Joint owner Sara said she was delighted to welcome Ashville College students and staff to Caffe Marconi each half-term – and was happy to help them improve their language skills.

“We pride ourselves on being an authentic Italian café, owned and run by Italians, and serving freshly-prepared authentic Italian food,” said Sara, whose husband Stefano is originally from Sasso Maroni in the north of Italy, an hour’s drive from Florence.

Stefano and Sara, who speaks fluent Italian and met her husband while working in Italy, opened Sasso restaurant in 1998 and Caffe Marconi several years later. Both eateries are jointly owned by Sara’s father Brian Ferguson.

“We very much enjoy being able to help the Ashville College pupils put the language skills they have learned in the classroom into practice in our typical Italian cafe,” added Sara.

Sara Trentini, assistant director of Modern Languages at Ashville College, said Caffe Marconi was “a small part of Italy in the centre of Harrogate”.

“We run a 6/8 week enrichment course for our sixth formers at Ashville College where the students are taught the basics in Italian. Part of the course involves learning how to order items from a menu in a bar or restaurant.

“We come to Caffe Marconi because it is an authentic Italian café, owned and run by Italians. Our students can order what they want to eat and drink at the café and practice their Italian language skills.

“They can then socialize and enjoy the atmosphere of a typical Italian café here in the centre of Harrogate. It is very useful for the students – and Caffe Marconi is very welcoming and a friendly environment,” she said.

Sara Lancellotti and the Ashville College language students

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