Culture Courses

  • Alessio Assonitis

    Michelangelo: Art, Persona, and Politics in Renaissance Italy

    Alessio Assonitis, Director of the Medici Archive Project (MAP), was born in Rome and received his doctoral degree in Renaissance art history from Columbia University in 2003. He has taught at Columbia University, Barnard College, Herron School of Art, and the Christian Theological Seminary. In 2003-4, he served as Allen Whitehill Clowes Curatorial Fellow at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He arrived at the Medici Archive Project in the fall 2004, with a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. He became MAP Research Director in 2009 and Director in 2011. His position is endowed by the Florence J. Gould Foundation. His research interests include Quattrocento and Cinquecento painting in Rome and Tuscany, antiquarian studies, history of pauperism, and early modern travel history. He currently serves as editor-in-chief of the historical journal Memorie Domenicane. His monograph on the Renaissance painter Bastiano Mainardi was published in 2011 (Indianapolis Museum of Art), while the one on Fra Bartolomeo della Porta is due out next year. Along with Brian Sandberg, he is editing a collection of essays on the Medici Granducal Archive.

  • Sheila Barker

    Michelangelo: Art, Persona, and Politics in Renaissance Italy
    Telling Stories in Medieval and Renaissance Italian Art

    Sheila Barker (B.A. Amherst College; M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. Columbia University) is an art historian specialized in Baroque painting with a strong orientation towards the history of medicine and the history of women. Her professional formation includes the management of a private Old Masters gallery in New York City, a Clowes Curatorial Fellowship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and post-doctoral fellowships at the Smithsonsonian American Art Museum and the Medici Archive Project. Besides teaching, she directs the Jane Fortune Research Program on Women Artists in the Age of the Medici, which is part of the Medici Archive Project, and she edits English texts at an international journal for the history of medicine, Medicina & Storia. She has published widely on the plagues of early modern Italy and their impact on art (one of these, the article "Poussin, Plague and Early Modern Medicine" for The Art Bulletin, won the 2005 Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize). She has published on numerous other topics in art history (the iconography of Saint Sebastian, Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Four Rivers Fountain, women copyists at the Uffizi, and Irene Duclos Parenti), in political history (Pope Urban VIII and Grand Duchess Christine de Lorraine), and in the history of medicine (anti-malarial treatments in early modern Florence, and the medical activity of the Medici women). Her forthcoming works include a book on her new archival findings on Bernini, an article on Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina, and an essay on Artemisia Gentileschi's time in Florence for an anthology on early modern women artists.

  • Stefano Casu

    Art in Republican Florence

    Stefano G. Casu received his degree in “Lettere” from the Catholic University of Milan in 1994, his PhD in Art History from the University of Pisa in 1999 and a postgraduate degree from the University of Florence in 2003. His area of expertise is Italian Gothic and Renaissance art and the history of antiquarian studies. He carried on his researches at the Fondazione Longhi, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Warburg Institute, Francis Haskell Memorial Fund, receiving a series scholarships as well as post-doctoral research grants from the C.N.R. and the Italian Ministry of University. He has been member of the scientific committees and curator of major exhibitions in Italy and abroad, and has taught at the University of Florence, Fondazione Longhi, Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute, Marist College in New York and Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. His publications include essays on 15th century Venetian and Paduan painting, art and politics in Italian Renaissance, Leon Battista Alberti and Ciriaco d’Ancona; he also contributed to the catalogues of Renaissance paintings of the Poldi Pezzoli and Diocesan Museums in Milan and of the Szépm?vészeti Múzeum in Budapest. He is curator of the Pittas collection based in London and Lymassol and in 2011 published the first volume of its catalogue. He is currently at work on a second book on the same collection and on a research project on the political use of plaquettes in Renaissance Italy.

  • Peter Fischer

    History and Culture of Food in Italy

    Peter Fischer was born in Germany. He received his PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence and his MA from the Technical University in Aachen (Germany). He has worked first as a ‘research associate’ and then as a ‘research fellow’ at the History Department at the EUI, and was involved in different international research projects. He has worked at different American University Programs in Italy such as Gonzaga in Florence, Syracuse in Florence and Spring Hill College in Bologna. He taught courses on Modern Italian Political History as well as on Italian and Mediterranean Food History, organizing innovative learning experiences in and outside the classroom. In December 2008, he was appointed ‘Associate Director for Special Projects’ at ‘The International Studies Institute in Florence, where he has created a new interdisciplinary studies program on ‘Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems’.  Dr. Fischer was the invited speaker for the annual ‘Cesare Barbieri Endowment Lecture’ at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut in March 2009 and for the ‘Uguccione Ranieri di Corbello Lecture’ at the Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello Foundation in Perugia in February 2009. Currently he is conducting research and composing notes for a publication on the cultural and political significance of the Italian Slow Food Movement.

  • Lisa Kaborycha

    'What's Love Got to Do with It?' The Social History of Quattrocento Florence

    Lisa Kaborycha is a native of New York City, who moved to California where she studied at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving a  B.A. in Comparative Literature, an M.A. in Italian Studies, and a Ph.D. in Medieval and Early Modern European History. She has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and a fellowship with Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. Her area of specialty is the cultural and social history of Renaissance Florence, having extensively researched fifteenth-century Florentine manuscripts known as zibaldoni. She taught courses on the Italian Renaissance, Western Civilization, Historiography, and Italian language for over seven years at the University of California, Berkeley and World History at Menlo College in Menlo Park, California. Currently, in addition to teaching courses in Social History for the University of California EAP, she lectures on Art History at the British Institute in Florence, and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Medici Archive Project. Lisa Kaborycha is the author of numerous publications on Renaissance and early modern Italy, including two books: A Short History of Renaissance Italy (Prentice Hall, 2010), and A Corresponding Renaissance: Letters of Italian Women 1375-1650,(Oxford University Press, 2015). 
    website: http://www.lisakaborycha.com

  • Nicoletta Leonardi

    The Lure of Italy from the Grand Tour to Mass Tourism

    Nicoletta Leonardi (Ph.D. University College London) is professor of art history at Turin's Academy of Fine Arts. Her research interests include the relationship between vision and technology in 19th-century US landscape culture, pre-cinema practices of immersive viewing and virtual traveling through images, photographs as material objects, the role of photography as a tool for research and action within urban planning. She has edited several books on Italian photography and her writings have been published in exhibition catalogues, most recently Concrete: Photography and Architecture (Winterthur Fotomuseum/Scheidegger & Spiess, 2013), Franco Vaccari's Exhibitions in Real Time (Spazio Oberdan/Damiani, Milan 2007), De l’Europe: photographies, essaies, histoires (Filigranes Editions, 2007), Masterpieces From the Guggenheim Collection (Guggenheim Publications/Skira 2005). She is the author of Fotografia e materialità in Italia (Postmedia 2013) and Il paesaggio americano dell’Ottocento. Pittori, fotografi e pubblico (Donzelli 2003). She is currently working on a co-edited book with Simone Natale titled Photography and Other Media in the Nineteenth Century: Towards an Integrated History.

  • Cecilia Martelli

    Art and Culture in Renaissance Florence

    PhD., La Sapienza, Università di Roma. Cecilia Martelli is a specialist in the field of Italian Renaissance painting and miniature art. She is author of a recent monograph, Bartolomeo della Gatta: pittore e miniatore tra Arezzo, Roma e Urbino (Centro Di, 2013), which was awarded the 2014 Premio Salimbeni, and her articles have appeared in the journals Prospettiva, Paragone and Bollettino d’Arte. She spent three years in Paris completing an International Diploma in Management and Conservation of Cultural Heritage from the Ecole Nationale du Patrimonie. She has worked for the Louvre Museum and the Jacquemart-André Museum, and has collaborated on numerous exhibitions on Italian Renaissance Art.

  • Mariarosa Mettifogo

    Academic Coordinator
    Pre-ILP Practicum

    Mariarosa Mettifogo (M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Davis) serves as Academic Coordinator for the UCEAP Program, working closely with faculty and helping students with all aspects of their academic experience in Florence. She specializes in women's literature from the late 18th to the early 20th century and is interested in the intersections between literature and feminist theories and practices in Europe and the United States. She has written on the American essayist and foreign correspondent Margaret Fuller and on turn-of-the-century Italian women writers. Her current research interests include Intercultural Studies and Transatlantic literature. Before joining the UCEAP Florence Program, Mariarosa taught Italian language, culture, and literature at the UCEAP Padua Program and at Boston University in Padua. At the ACCENT Study Center she also teaches a course on Florence in Literature for the University of Minnesota Program.

  • Davide Papotti

    Italian Foodscapes. An Interdisciplinary Approach to Food and Culture

    Davide Papotti is associate professor in Geography at the University of Parma, where he has been working since 2005. He studied at the University of Parma (Laurea in Materie Letterarie in 1993) at the University of Virginia (Master of Arts in Italian literature in 1996), and at the University of Padua (Ph.D. in Geography in 2002). He also worked as visiting professor of geography at the Università del Piemonte orientale “Amedeo Avogardo”. He has been teaching since 2008 a course entitled “Multicultural Italy. An interdisciplinary approach to urban landscapes and narrations” for the Boston College overseas programme in Parma. He is the author of the books Geografie della scrittura. Paesaggi letterari del medio Po (1996) and L’altro e l’altrove. Antropologia, geografia e turismo (with Marco Aime; 2012). He has published about one hundred articles in books and scientific journals. Among his main research interests there are the relations between geography and literature, the study of immigration flows and multiculturalism in contemporary Italy, tourism marketing, place marketing, the geography of food.

  • Cristina Villa

    Florence in Italian and International Cinema
    Italian language

    Cristina Villa received her PhD in Italian and Film Studies from UCLA, a Masters in Italian from the University of Winsconsin –Madison, a Masters in German and English Literature and Film Studies from the University of Bergamo, and a Masters in Yoga Studies, Meditation, and Asian Traditions from the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Italy. She also studied at Lomonosov University in Moscow and Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken, Germany. She taught in such universities as the University of Wisconsin, University of Southern California, and UCLA. She teaches courses in Italian Language, Film History, Comparative Literature, and she will be offering courses in Food History. She is particularly interested in the application of different media, interactive aids, and technology to enhance the learning environment. For this reason, she collaborated with the United States National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. Her studies of language acquisition theories assisted her in designing such course work as the workbook and lab manual for Crescendo and various visual aid books for both Italian and American publishing houses. Her research focuses on history, memory, trauma, and the Shoah, in which numerous articles have been published. Her work on the Shoah was recognized with a stipend from the University of Southern California- Shoah Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg. She is also an active translator. Among her last translations is the Italian version of The French Cook by Pierre de la Varenne, the first French cookbook published in 1651. Her interests are European cinema, Holocaust studies, 20th century Italian literature, Italian Jewish literature, migrant literature and cinema, and history of food.

    Italian Courses

  • Simona Baldacci

    Italian language

    Simona Baldacci graduated with honors from the University of Pescara with a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature. She completed her graduate studies in teaching Italian as a foreign language at the Università per Stranieri in Siena and participated in a teacher-training program for a Master in teaching a foreign language at the University of Chieti-Pescara. Simona started teaching Italian as a second language in 2002 at the Università per Stranieri in Siena and specializes in teaching Italian as a second language to native speakers of English. She has been teaching all levels of Italian for the University of California Program since 2003. She now boasts 12 years teaching to Californians and is grateful for how much they have helped her grow as an individual and as a language instructor. In 2012 she gained a nomination in the 50 Faces/Places in 50 Weeks initiative for UCEAP's 50th Anniversary. Simona has done research on Italian and Spanish language history, and has co-authored a paper in Spanish philology. She is currently conducting research on the 'Intercomprehension approach' for teaching Italian to students with previous knowledge of other Romance language.

  • Cristina Bibbiani

    Italian language

    Cristina Bibbiani graduated with honors in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Siena with a thesis in linguistic and glottodidactics on "Italian and English Verb Systems Learning through Tandem Interaction.” She decided to specialize in teaching Italian because she enjoys meeting people from all over the world and believes in the importance of language and culture learning as a life-long investment. After several experiences as student abroad, she earned a Masters degree with honors in "Teaching Italian Language and Culture as a Second Language" at the University Cà Foscari of Venice, with an experimental thesis on teaching Italian as a second language in juvenile detention centers. Later, she earned the Ditals and Cils certification at the Università per Stranieri di Siena. She has been teaching Italian as a second language since 2009, first for the Dante Alighieri School in Florence and the Università per Stranieri di Siena, then for American universities in Florence. Besides languages and foreign cultures, she is interested in art, photography, cinema, theater and music.

  • Carolina Bogi

    Italian language

    Carolina is a young and very enthusiastic teacher of Italian language and culture from Siena, a lovely medieval town 60 kilometers away from Florence. She earned a degree in Teaching Italian to Foreigners in 2008 with a thesis on bilingualism and early bilingual education in Italian schools and abroad from the Università per Stranieri di Siena. Immediately after graduation, she began a stint with the center DITALS (Università per Stranieri di Siena), drafting a training manual of linguistics and glottodidactics for teachers of Italian as a second/foreign language. She also started teaching in various language schools in Siena, discovering the pleasure of sharing her language and culture with people of different nationalities and backgrounds. In 2009 she began collaborating with the University of California EAP in Siena, first as an intern and later as an instructor. She has been teaching Italian language at the Florence UCEAP program since June 2011. At the ACCENT Study Center she also teaches courses in Italian language for the University of Minnesota program.

  • Marcella Delitala

    Italian language

    Marcella graduated with distinction in Foreign Languages and Literatures (major in German, English, Spanish) from the University of Sassari. She always keeps in mind she has been a language student abroad before being a teacher. Having a great interest in conveying culture through language, she obtained a post-graduate degree in Linguistics and Teaching of Italian as a Foreign Language from the Università per Stranieri di Siena, with a dissertation on “Evaluating language skills.” She then specialized in International Language Evaluation and Certification in Siena and Perugia. She studied at the DI.L.IT. International House of Rome, where she focused on teaching Italian as a foreign language with a communicative approach, and at Pilgrims, a training institution for language teachers in Canterbury, UK specializing in creative teaching. Marcella is co-author of Il lessico dei materiali, il lessico nei materiali and of the Italian Movie Booklet Amarcord, Federico Fellini - Quaderni di cinema italiano per stranieri for Guerra Edizioni. In 2013 she published Italiano all’università 2, an intermediate textbook for university learners of Italian for Edilingua. She has taught in Chile, Spain and Italy to non-EU adult migrants and to young adults for both multilingual and monolingual classes. She has been teaching for the Florence Program since 2011 and in 2012 was nominated as person who has made a positive impact on students' lives for the 50 Faces/Places in 50 Weeks initiative for UCEAP's 50th Anniversary. She is currently specializing on Multiple Intelligences teaching methods, the role of creativity and art in the learning process, and the use of other non-verbal forms of communication.

  • Eleonora Giorgetti

    Italian language

    A native of the Tuscan town of Lucca, Eleonora Giorgetti graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Pisa. As a language student, she had the opportunity to study at Freie Universitaet in Berlin and this experience was so important to her that she decided to continue travelling and to teach Italian abroad. After returning to Italy, she went on to earn a Master’s degree in teaching Italian as a foreign language at Università per Stranieri di Siena and completed her training in London and later at the Italian Cultural Institute in Madrid, where she taught for two years. In 2010 Eleonora returned to Italy and started collaborating with the Università per Stranieri di Siena as a teacher and as CILS (Certificate of Italian as a Second Language) evaluator, and with some American universities in Florence. She also contributed to the publishing of a book for young students of Italian by Guerra Edizioni. Eleonora joined the University of California Florence Program in 2011. She still loves travelling and learning new languages. She speaks English, German, Spanish and is currently studying Japanese.

  • Cinzia Pace

    Italian language

    Cinzia Pace graduated with honors in Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Pisa, with a thesis on the development of British Contextual Theory of Meaning and the origins of Pragmalinguistics. Later, she specialized in teaching Italian as a foreign/second language at the Università per Stranieri in Siena, with a dissertation on age-related changes in people over 60 and the implications for L2 learning and teaching, which was also published. Following her interest in language teaching and learning she contributed to the publishing of Le parole per dirci – la lingua come luogo di incontro, a collection of stories by Italian and foreign women about their identity and their relationship with different languages. She is interested in the intersection between language learning and intercultural development, and has co-authored an essay on the topic forthcoming in the proceedings of the In-Nova-Azione Conference, held in Sorrento in 2013. She has been teaching Italian language and culture for the University of California EAP Program since 2005, gaining an award in 2008 as “Most Simpatico Instructor” for the enthusiasm, passion and dedication in teaching Italian. In January 2012 she was nominated “Person that had the most positive influence on students’ study abroad experience” for the 50 Faces/Places in 50 weeks initiative for UCEAP's 50th Anniversary.

  • Olga Palumbo

    Italian language

    A native of a little town in Calabria, Olga Palumbo graduated with honors in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Perugia. Before getting her degree, she spent nine months in Germany working as a language assistant for Italian at a secondary school. Once back to Italy, she went on to earn a post-graduate degree with honors in “Teaching Italian as a Foreign Language” from the Università per Stranieri di Siena with a specialization in assessment and certification of language competences. She then obtained the DITALS II level, a certification of competence in teaching Italian, from the Università per Stranieri di Siena and a Master’s degree in Specialist EN>IT Translation from ICoN (Italian Culture on the Net – a Consortium of Italian Universities promoting Italian culture worldwide). Olga has been teaching Italian language and culture since 2007, both in Italy (Università per Stranieri di Siena, Università di Firenze, and American university programs in Florence) and abroad (Germany, Morocco, Argentina). In collaboration with Università per Stranieri di Siena, she also works as CILS (Certificate of Italian as Second Language) evaluator and has contributed to the volume Pro e contro Junior by Bonacci Editore.

  • Francesco Serrini

    Italian language

    Francesco is an enthusiastic Italian teacher from Pisa. He first earned a bachelor's degree in Foreign Languages (majors in German and Russian) in 2004 and then a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching in 2007. Later on in 2010 he completed a certification in “Teaching Italian as a Foreign Language”, Ditals II level, at the Università per Stranieri of Siena. Shortly after he started teaching Italian as foreign language in Italy as well as abroad and spent one full academic year in the Middle East (Lebanon) working for the Italian Cultural Institute of Beirut.  In 2011 he went back to Florence and started teaching Italian language for different American universities. He has been teaching Italian for the University of California EAP since 2013.

  • Camilla Vaghi

    Italian language

    A native of Milan, Camilla Vaghi graduated with honors in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Milan with a thesis on “Oral abilities in language acquisition”.
    While still an undergraduate student, she realized that she wanted to become a teacher of Italian to foreigners. She thus went on to specialize in this field at the University of Padua, where she earned a Master's degree, with honors, in “Teaching Italian as a second language”. She then completed her specialization by earning a certification in “Teaching Italian as a Foreign Language”, Ditals II level, at the Università per Stranieri of Siena. Camilla has been a teacher of Italian since 2007. After working for several institutions in Milan and Padua, she moved to Spain and taught for two years at the Italian Cultural Institute of Madrid. She then taught at the Italian Cultural Institute of Strasbourg and, later, at the Università per Stranieri of Siena. She really likes her job because she thinks it's an interesting way of conveying her culture and language to foreign people and, at the same time, a way of getting to know other cultures.