Culture Courses

  • Peter Fischer

    Unity in Diversity: The Making of Italian Identity through Food

    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.

  • Guido Gualandi

    Bread, Wine & Olive Oil: A Culinary History of Italy

    Guido Gualandi holds a degree in Classical Studies from the University of Florence and a Ph.D. in Social Sciences from EHESS (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) in Paris. He has worked as an archaeologist in France, Italy and the Middle East and has researched and written on the subject of archaeology and food. He has also been working and publishing about Tuscany for the United Nations University project “Livelihoods and socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes.” He teaches courses in the history of food and on food politics and nationalism in the Mediterranean. Guido owns a farm in Tuscany and is the president of the Ancient Grains Association in Montespertoli. He is involved in the Natural Wine Association (Vinnatur) and the Independent Winemaker Union (FIVI).

  • Cecilia Martelli

    Genius and Innovation in Italian Renaissance Art

    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.

  • Francesca Passeri

    Made in Italy: Marketing the Italian Style

    Francesca Passeri received a BA in Law, an MA in Communication and Media, and a PhD in Telematics and Information Society from the University of Florence. From 1998 to 2006 she worked in the communication and marketing department for publishing, fashion and tourism firms, and spent one year in the US (College of the Holy Cross, MA) for a post graduate program in Media and Communication. She has taught Communication and Public Speaking for the European Master Program in Media and Communication at the University of Florence and has been teaching Comparative Media Systems and Made in Italy courses for American universities since 2010. Her study interests focus on: new media; communication and branding strategies in the Italian fashion system; marketing of Made in Italy and Italian lifestyle, fashion and luxury goods branding strategies. She has written and published on contemporary Italian pop culture, social networks and civil rights, open data in public administration, and internet and governance. She is founding member of the Florence-based cultural association FLICK, Factory for Learning International Culture and Cross Creative Knowledge, and member of FAIR, Florentine Association for International Relations, where she manages communication and media.

  • Clive Woollard

    Entrepreneurship – The Italian Way

    Clive Woollard holds an MBA with a focus in Marketing from Aston Business School in the United Kingdom. He has a background in Polymer Technology and has worked within the area of speciality chemicals for over 30 years, partnering, amongst others, with Total and gaining a vast breadth of experience within the industrial field. In 2005, he moved with his family to Italy, where he renovated a house, whilst back in the UK he set up Supplyco Ltd, a business that furnishes speciality polymers and consulting services to European manufacturing industries. For eight years Clive has been teaching business courses at American and English universities. His current research interests include the business of food and family business.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Cristina Villa

    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.