This course is the second half of a two-semester intermediate sequence and a gateway to more advanced courses. Authentic artifacts such as literary excerpts, films, newspaper articles, and a short novel constitute the starting points (spunti) of this course. These spunti, which include topics ranging from the Italian experience in the Second World War to the problem of organized crime and issues raised by recent immigration, shed light on the rich diversity within Italy and help you develop an understanding of the history, society, and culture of contemporary Italy. Each spunto provides varied activities for the improvement and refinement of your linguistic competence and offers you a variety of opportunities to improve and refine your ability to speak and understand Italian in a communicative and meaningful context. The course also challenges you to recognize, explore, and understand cultural differences and similarities between your native culture and Italian culture. Grammar undergirds everything we do and say in this course; whether or not we are engaged in an explicit grammar exercise, you are always learning grammar that enables you to communicate effectively. Specifically, you will acquire more complex language structures that will allow you to refine your ability to relate information, narrate stories, express your opinions, and debate the opinions of others, both in writing and in conversation. By the end of the course, you can expect to be able to express yourself articulately and feel comfortable in an Italian setting, linguistically and culturally. Class is conducted entirely in Italian. Because you will work collaboratively with your classmates and your instructor, your attendance, participation, and preparation are of the utmost importance.