I am a chinese, being in Lugano for one year. Thanks to nice people here, I enjoy a lot the new life. And since I am a chinese, I am always asked how to learn Chinese. Comparing with Italian, Chinese is much more complicated. Moreover even if you knew Chinese words, it is still very difficult to understand Chinese culture. So if you dont have much time, I would suggest that try to know more about Chinese culture which is more meaningful, but not only chinese characters.
For example "上善若水". It is not difficult to translate into Italian or English, however not easy to understand."The highest excellence is like that of water". My understanding is: there are different levels of to be kind. The best is like to be as water. Water is soft, but constant dripping wears away a stone. Rivers nourish the world but ask for nothing back. Lakes are quiet, however nobody knows how deep they are.
All in all, as a chinese I am very proud that many people have strong interest in China; and I wolud like to share with you my understandings of chinese culture by posting something now and then.