CILS (Certificate of Italian as a Foreign Language)

CILS (Certificate of Italian as a Foreign Language)

The CILS (Certificate of Italian as a Foreign Language) is issued by the Università per Stranieri di Siena (University of Siena for Foreigners) and attests the knowledge of the Italian language by both public and private institutions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognizes the CILS A2 (module integration) as one of the confirmantions of knowledge of the Italian language that are valid for obtaining the residence permit for EC long-term residents.

The certification is divided into six different levels, based on the six levels of language competence identified by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): CILS A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. The exam is intended to assess overall competence in the Italian language; basic language skills, language and communication competency. Sections of the exam are devoted to the understanding of written and oral texts, to written and oral production and to verifying lexical and morphosyntactic competence.

The tests are compiled of various genres:  a) closed-ended questions (multiple choice or true/false), b) semi-structured tests (e.g. word processing from data elements), c) free writing on a given theme.

The exam is considered passed only if the participant receives adequate scores in all sections. If only some of the sections merit sufficient scores, participants will be able to capitalize on those results and, within 18 months, take the exam again, repeating only the sections they did not pass previously.

The exam is held twice a year, in June and December, for all levels. Some special sessions may be added for levels A1 and A2 (children, adolescents, integration).

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci organizes specific courses in preparation for the CILS exam. The courses take place during the weeks immediately preceding the date of examination and are utilized as a route of approach, during which you can learn about the tests and materials more and more in depth.

The lessons consist of the analysis of trials using the materials of exams of previous years and targets work on particular issues and critical points that emerge during the course.

Regarding the analyses, the course aims firstly to clarify the various types, explaining each of the excercises starting from their instructions. Then it is taken into account, the criteria used in the corrections and after, the tutorial itself.

The exercise includes a simulation of the test. After reviewing a sample exercise with the teacher, students have a guide on the most effective strategies. In the first exercise, the focus is on passing the test. Participants are not required to respect the time restrictions specified for each test at first, once they have acquired confidence, students are asked to perform the test within fixed time limits.

The corrections that follow each exercise have a dual purpose: on the one hand, to measure the level of difficulty related to each individual exercise; and the other, to highlight any other more general problems, of which the teacher can organize specific work for clarification and deeper understanding.

CILS A1-A2-B1-B2
CILS B1 Cittadinanza


CILS - A1; CILS – A2; CILS – B1; CILS – B2 - 25 Lessons
CILS - C1; CILS – C2 - 30 Lessons
CILS – B1 cittadinanza - 20 Lessons
Individual lessons - Packages CILS A1, A2, B1, B2 - 15 Lessons
Individual lessons - Packages CILS C1, C2 - 20 Lessons



Class size: 4 min
Lessons: 45’ each lesson
Dates for all preparation courses: click to see dates.
Date for exam: click to see dates.
Accommodation is not offered for students who do not participate in an Italian language course.
Registration fee: 70€ (valid for 12 months).


  • Textbook and study materials
  • Online textbook with additional exercises
  • Placement test and interview
  • Certificate of attendance
  • Individual guidance and support (by the school board)
  • Free Internet and WiFi access
  • Art History Guided Tours
  • Italian History lessons
  • Italian Literature lessons
  • Projections of the most representative italian films
  • Lesson of pronunciation (every two weeks)