This communicative, culture-based introductory Italian text develops all five language skills by pairing cultural themes with essential grammar points and by organizing units around situations, functions, and regions of Italy. This clear chapter structure focuses students on the theme and geography of each chapter while they are learning grammar and constructions and recycling the vocabulary from each of the remaining four parts of the unit. The authors' belief that "language is culture" is best illustrated by the text's up-to-date, fresh image of Italy and Italians and by the successful integration of this philosophy as an active, key part of the learning experience."Writing Strategies in every unit" provide students with guided activities that help them express themselves idiomatically when writing in Italian."Due mondi a confronto ("Two contrasting worlds") sections" include activities to stimulate cross-cultural comparisons, inviting students to think critically about Italian culture as well as their own.Additional features include active listening practice; cultural and authentic readings with activities; and commonly used idiomatic expressions.Expanded writing practice features the "Scriviamo italiano " sections in all chapters, supported by thematic vocabulary and idiomatic expressions, and a wide range of practice activities.Frequently used idiomatic expressions give students a window into Italian culture, making their communication contemporary, colorful, lively, and natural.Contemporary, fresh realia provides students with insight into life in Italy as it is today.