News & Events

Agata Gravante

Date 08.08.2021

Agata was raised in Rome, Italy. She moved to California in 2015 and settled in La Crescenta with her American husband. Teaching has been a powerful way for her to help children and adults learn to be confident and gain self-confidence. In addition to working for Fondazione Italia and at Benjamin Franklin Elementary Foreign Language Magnet as an assistant Italian language teacher, Agata is also working on her Master’s degree with a specialization in Cultural Heritage and Preservation. Agata is an enthusiastic educator with a passion for teaching adults and children of different ages.

Valerio Viale

Date 05.14.2021

Valerio Viale is a native of Rome, Italy, and is now a proud permanent U.S. resident. He earned a bachelor’s degree in “Literature, Music and Stage/Screen studies” at La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy with specializations in, “Italian Film Authors,” “Methodologies of analysis of film,” “Cinema and Psychoanalysis”, “Literature and Cinema.” In June 2014, Valerio obtained a Master of Fine Arts in “Film and TV Script Writing” at the New York Film Academy (NYFA), both at New York City’s and Los Angeles’s campuses. During his post-Master practical training, Valerio gained journalistic experience by contributing articles and interviewing significant personalities in the entertainment business – the likes of Academy Award winners, Vittorio Storaro, Gabriella Pescucci and Dante Ferretti – both for the LA-based bilingual newspaper, L’Italo-Americano, and for Italy’s online monthly magazine, Il mensile. In parallel, Valerio worked as a script reader evaluating screenplays both for Fotocomics Production and YouGoFar Productions. His TV pilot script, spec script, and feature film screenplay have won several awards and garnered international recognition.

Luigi De Vito

Date 10.13.2020

Ciao a tutti (Hello everyone)! My name is Luigi and I was born in Naples, Italy where I earned a Masters Degree in Economics and a PhD in Engineering. In 2017 I moved to Los Angeles with my wife and two young daughters.  In Los Angeles, in addition to being a musician, I began teaching Italian both at a private language school in West Hollywood and as a substitute teacher at schools in Los Angeles County. I obtained by Teaching Certificate from the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and I am in the process of obtaining my credential. I am very happy to contribute to spreading Italian culture and language in the Los Angeles region. I am available to teach both Italian and contemporary electric guitar, in person or remotely.

Locations of instruction: Online or in-person in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles

Please contact me directly for pricing, scheduling and location information.

Caterina Soncin

Date 06.02.2020

Caterina Soncin, was born in Venezia, Italy and grew up in a small town near Treviso. Studying has always been inspiring and exciting to her since she was a shy child. In 2005 Caterina received a degree in Italian Literature and Philosophy from Ca’ Foscari University and then a Master’s Degree in Environmental Law. She has been teaching in kindergarten, elementary and middle schools for the past 15 years. In 2015 Caterina moved to Los Angeles with her husband. Teaching is a true deep felt passion for her which she has always felt was her calling. She can’t envision her life without teaching being a part of it! Caterina has been teaching for Fondazione Italia since 2019.

Courses Taught
Parlo Italiano, Ragazzi Italiani, Adults

Deborah Graci

Date 04.09.2020

Deborah graduated in 1994 with a degree in Education in Italy. Initially, and for the first 4 years she worked as a special education teacher for disabled children of various age, from elementary grades to high school grades. Since 2000, Deborah has been teaching Italian as a second language to children and adults. Deborah is a strong supporter of and creates programs for interactive learning of Italian using the Total Physical Response (TPR) method. TPR introduces the study of a language through the execution of verbal instructions and commands. This method represents an acceleration in the process of teaching- learning Italian as a second language. Obviously, because Italian grammar is very complex, TPR is only used to aid students by stimulating different types of memory: auditory, visual and tactile. Deborah’s goal as a teacher has always been to foster an environment of positive study for all students, as well as implementing and promoting successfully practices in her class to better serve her students in the acquisition of Italian. Her style of teaching is energetic and enthusiastic!

Deborah was born and raised in Italy by her two wonderful grandmothers. Nonna Pina from southern Italy and Nonna Bruna from northern Italy. Through them she learned all she knows about Italian culture and cuisine. She loves to share her grandmother’s recipes along with her love of teaching with all her students. Deborah feels Italian cuisine is the basis of culture and the core of this romantic language!

Classes Taught:

Adult Pre-Intermediate

Noemi Matta

Date 08.26.2019

Noemi was born and raised in sunny Palermo, Sicily. Teaching kids has always been her passion! Shortly after receiving her high school diploma, Noemi started tutoring elementary and middle school kids while simultaneously attending the University of Palermo where she was studying to receive her degree in Early Childhood Education (Scienze della Formazione Primaria). Noemi received her Master’s Degree in 2017. Noemi worked as a pre-school teacher in Italy before getting married and moving to California this year.  Noemi’s dream is to be able to share her love for the Italian language and culture with children so she can’t wait to get started at Fondazione Italia!

Classes Taught
Primi Passi & Kids Theater


Claudia Marino

Date 01.14.2019

Claudia Marino is a native Italian speaker. She has an BA+MA in Foreign Languages and Literature from the Università degli Studi G. D’Annunzio Chieti-Pescara, in Italy. Twenty years ago she moved to Chicago where she was on the adjunct faculty at DePaul University and a lecturer for the Italian Cultural Institute. In 2018, she moved to the Los Angeles area. Claudia loves and is very passionate about the Italian language and culture. She always involves and challenges her students with fun and interesting activities in order to keep them engaged. Claudia likes to keep her connection with Italy by traveling often back  to her hometown of Pescara, Italy.  She also like reading, nature, and spending time in the South Bay with her husband and son, who inspire her everyday.

Classes Taught:
Adult Beginning & Adult Intermediate


Laura Gagliardi

Date 10.08.2018

Laura was born in Venice, Italy and since a very young age she tutored younger kids and taught English to adults for several Language Schools in the Triveneto Area. After completing her Master Degree in Foreign Languages: American Studies, at Ca’ Foscari University with a thesis in American theatre, she moved to Massachusetts where she studied Psychology at Mount Holyoke College where she taught Italian at college level. Back to Italy for a short while, she was the Language expert and cultural liaison for the Unites States Air Force at the Aviano Air Base, Pordenone. After two working experiences in Australia and the UK, Laura decided to move back to the U.S. permanently where she earned another Master Degree in Italian Studies at Boston College while being the language instructor for the Italian Department. In 2016 she won the Teaching Excellence Award and in 2017 she graduated with the dissertation “Road to California: from Cesare Pavese to the United States, an excursus on perdition and recognition, in film and literature” which took her finally to Los Angeles, CA to pursue her artistic career as a writer.

Classes Taught
Adult Beginning

Valeria Buldini

Date 08.23.2018

Valeria Buldini is an Italian native speaker with a degree in Languages and Foreign Literature. Valeria was born in Italy and lived there until she was 27. Teaching Italian was her only full-time job for more than 14 years. Almost seven years ago one more full-time occupation was added: She became the mother of Mia, her daughter, who she is raising to be bilingual. Valeria started teaching for Fondazione Italia in 2017.

Courses Taught

Parlo Italiano 1 – Online Ragazzi Italiani

Max Leonida

Date 07.24.2018

Max Leonida is a director/actor/writer who moved to Los Angeles in 2011 from Milano where he owned and operated his own theater and performing art school for over ten years. Max started working as a writer, actor and director while he was studying Literature & Philosophy at the Catholic University of Milan. In 1992 he founded his first professional theater company, “Compagnia dei 13,” and in 1994 opened his second theater company, “Compagnia Teatro del Sacro.” Due to the success of his first two companies, Max, together with his wife Paola, opened one of the most prestigious performing art schools, “Accademia dello Spettacolo” in 1996 in Milano. In 2001 Max bought an industrial building and opened his first private theater “Teatro Estremo.” In 2006 Max signed his first deal with Sony Pictures and in 2007 he produced and directed his first feature film, Mandala. In 2010 Max directed Backward that screened at the 63rd Cannes Film festival and received an award from the 2010 International Salerno Film Festival. Since moving to Los Angeles permanently in 2011, Max has directed several awarded American productions including, “Beauty in the Broken”, “Memento Mori” and “A Very Lovely Dress.”

Courses Taught
Commedia dell’Arte – We hope to offer this course again soon