News & Events

Nadia Pettinger

Date 10.26.2021

Nadia Pettinger was born and raised in Genoa, Italy. She moved to California in 1998 and settled in Orange County with her husband and their three children. She graduated from the University of Genoa with an undergraduate degree specialized in Foreign Languages and Literature. In 2009 she obtained her Master’s degree specialized in Teaching Italian as a Second Language from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She has been teaching Italian since 2006 at all levels and to different age groups. Nadia is an enthusiastic educator with a passion for teaching.

Please contact us for pricing, scheduling and location information.

Ylenia Mino

Date 10.26.2021

Ylenia was born at the foot of the Italian Alps in the small town of Ivrea. Since the time she was a young girl, Ylenia has been interested in art and languages. Her career as a Fine Artist and Language Instructor took off in New York City where she collaborated with many Italian centers and art schools. Now Ylenia lives in Los Angeles where she has created a unique program, “Paint and Speak in Italian,” that utilizes the artistic medium of painting to augment Italian language skills. Ylenia has a special place in her heart for teaching young children. Her patient, engaging personality coupled with her joie de vivre allows her students of all ages to successfully tap into their creative expression while having fun learning Italian.

Please contact us  for pricing, scheduling and location information.

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.

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