Categories: , , , , ,

Advanced Language & Culture Courses

Adult advanced courses (C1–C2) typically have previous-level courses as prerequisites.

CLICK HERE for more about levels and curriculum.


Categories: , , , , ,
Categories: , , , , ,

Advanced Language & Culture Courses

Adult advanced courses (C1–C2) typically have previous-level courses as prerequisites.

CLICK HERE for more about levels and curriculum.


Categories: , , , , ,

Advanced Language Courses

Adult Italian advanced level language courses (C1–C2) typically have previous-level courses as prerequisites. CLICK HERE for more about levels and curriculum.

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Dr. Valentina Asciutti

Valentina Asciutti was born in Pescara, the city of flamboyant Italian poet and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio, a lovely town on the Adriatic Coast, in the Abruzzo region. 

Valentina’s background is in Classics. She attended Liceo Classico in her hometown and proceeded to receive a BA in Classics at Università di Chieti. In 2003 she moved to the United Kingdom where she completed a Master of Arts in Classics at Durham University and then moved to London where she was awarded a PhD in Classics at King’s College London. After completing her PhD she embraced the new and cutting edge Digital Humanities field, learning how to best apply modern technologies, software tools and digital methods to the study of Humanities, in particular Latin, Classical Literature, History and Archaeology. She was a Research Associate at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London for five years before moving to the US in 2015. 

She joined the Italian Cultural Society when she moved to Bethesda. She has  been contributing with the editing, writing and translating articles for the monthly newsletter Poche Parole and has been part of the instructors team for several years. Valentina has been tutoring children and adults in Latin and Ancient Greek since she was a high-school student herself and is very passionate about teaching and communicating with her students. At the ICS she has been teaching Italian grammar at different levels as well as special courses such as “Discover Abruzzo”. 

She loves traveling, reading, baking and street art among many other things.

Nicoletta Nencioli Aiken

Born in the medieval town of Treviso in the Northeast of Italy, Nicoletta Nencioli Aiken is a journalist,author and teacher.  She comes from a long line of educators, professors and writers, her parents and grandparents have been linguistics and literature teachers.  Ms Nencioli Aiken remembers her earliest Italian-teaching experience – helping her mother review the students’ compositions.  A passion for the humanities brought her to study at the ‘Liceo Classico’ of Treviso, followed by the study of Law at the University of Rome, and Italian literature through ICON.

While in Rome, the call to write led her to pursue a career in journalism where she worked as a writer for the Italian public radio/television RAI and a reporter for several news and literary outlet.  Upon receiving her professional journalist credentials,  she moved to the US in 1992 where she worked for the Venice newspaper ‘Il Gazzettino’ until 2009.  She continues her journalistic work for the main Italian News Service (ANSA), reporting daily on wide range of topics.  Ms Nencioli Aiken in 2008  authored ‘Making out in Italian’  for Tuttle Publishing, a fun guide to the language of Italy as it is actually spoken. After tutoring in italian language and culture american friends and family, she now teaches italian at ICS. In her free time, she can be seen flying back and forth between Washington DC and Venice,bicycling  and speaking Italian to her American husband..

Sofia Caligiuri

I am an Italian-Naturalized American artist who lives and works in the Metropolitan Area of Washington DC.

I was born in Calabria, Italy, and later moved to Rome where I studied as a painter at the Academy of Fine Arts under Alberto Ziveri.  My favorite teachers included Fiorella Diamantini and Arnoldo Ciarrocchi, an exquisite Master Etcher who also taught Maccari.  We used to have etching lessons on Saturday mornings, while eating pizza bianca sprinkled with oil and salt accompanied by a couple sips of wine.  In this way, students enjoyed both intellectual and physical nourishment. I remember that it felt like a mystical experience each time. I illustrated several journals in Italy. Published two books “Le Novellette” Artemide Edizioni, Roma Italy 2004 and “The Fief, a story of love and other virtues” Artemide Edizioni, 2002 Roma, Italy.

I have held exhibitions of my work in Italy and in the United States.My imagery emphasizes the idea that the impermanence of all phenomena underlies the search for the meaning of life. Therefore, I follow memories and thoughts as Traces that ultimately will bring me to find Evidences of how my life developed and what type of evolution I experienced.  In other terms, my work is a tool that I use to get to know myself better and especially to discover what kind of mission I have in this life and fully develop my own potential.

Silvana De Luca

Silvana was born in Acqui Terme, a small city in Piedmont, famous for its thermal bath since Roman times. In high school she went through the classical curriculum, but she chose a scientific career at the
University of Pavia. In the United States she worked as a biochemist at Tufts Medical School in Boston doing research on cartilage components, and continuing the same research at the National Institutes of Health. After almost 20 years as a scientist she changed career and became an instructor of Italian at the Foreign Service Institute, the language school of the Department of State, where currently she teaches American diplomats posted to Italy. After joining the Italian Cultural Society and serving in its Board of Directors, Silvana became involved with the Language Program at ICS for which she teaches a variety of courses. Silvana finds great satisfaction in her profession and loves to promote Italian language and culture. With her husband Luigi she instituted awards for young scholars in music, art and classical languages. Silvana has two children and three lovely grand-daughters with whom she shares the love for the wonderful country that is Italy.

Cristiana Fabiani

Cristiana Fabiani was born and raised in Rome, Italy. Currently with over ten years teaching experience, Ms. Fabiani’s origins had her attend La Sapienza University in Rome, where she received both her Bachelors and her Masters degrees in International Studies. In 1992 Ms. Fabiani moved to the United States to work as a journalist for the Agence France Presse in Washington DC. She did this for ten years until she decided teaching was her true calling and in 2002 Ms. Fabiani switched careers to start teaching at the Italian Cultural Society’s language program. She has been with the institution ever since, helping to promote Italian culture through education. During this time Ms. Fabiani obtained her teacher certification in Italian from the state of Maryland, and from 2006 to 2011 also taught Italian at Tilden middle school in Rockville, MD. Aside from Italian she is fluent in English, French and Spanish. When not teaching Ms. Fabiani enjoys figure skating, cooking (Italian food) and writing. She currently resides in Maryland.

Antonella Salvatore Pellegrino

Antonella Salvatore studied classics in Italy where she earned her university degree. “I attended specialized courses for teaching Italian to foreigners at the Universita’ Ca’ Foscari in Venice, the Universita’ per Stranieri in Perugia, and at George Mason University in VA. I have been teaching Italian here in the Washington area since 2005 in which time I have taught college courses at American University, adult courses for the Italian Cultural Society, and courses for native Italian-speaking children at the middle school level.” She adds, “I have a great passion for the Italian language and its literature deepened since my school days at the Orazio Flacco Classical high school. (Flacco is the poet who coined “Carpe diem” to mean “take heed!” or “seize the day!” and who was born not far from my home town in Basilicata.) “I love my work and the language of “that beautiful country where the use of “si” for yes resounds!” (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto XXXIII). She lives in DC with her husband Roberto and her daughter Elena.

Camilla Presti-Russell

Born in Verona, Italy, Laurea in lettere, Università di Padova. Taught lettere in High School in Verona. Taught Italian at Boston University, at the Centro Internazionale di Studi, Verona, at the University of Maryland, College Park. Has been teaching for the Italian Cultural Society, Language Program since 2003.
Married with two grown children and six grand children.

Francesco Da Vela

Francesco was born in Empoli in the province of Florence and was raised in Certaldo, a beautiful town between Florence and Siena – also known as the town of Giovanni Boccaccio.

He is a psychologist with a Masters’ Degree in Industrial Psychology and Social and Organizational Psychology from l’Universita degli studi di Firenze. He started his career working in the fashion field and preparing his thesis (“The Characteristics of the Task as Antecedents of the Innovative Process on an Individual Level.”) at Tessilform Spa Patrizia Pepe Firenze in the HR section. After that, he accumulated several experiences for consulting companies focusing on HR selection and training on psychological themes.

Always passionate about teaching, he began tutoring by teaching English to Italian children. His heart brought him to the USA, where after a short experience as a consultant in personnel selection, he decided to follow his vocation and began teaching Italian and Italian culture at the Foreign Service Institute to American diplomats. His motto is “Insegnare vuol dire lasciare un segno”. “Teaching means to leave a mark.

Francesco has lived in the Washington, DC area since 2015.  He is passionate about Tuscan salumi, especially Prosciutto Toscano, and he is proud of his region’s culinary treasures.  He is madly in love with the mountains during the summer, especially the Dolomites, as he loves hiking. He enjoys watching and playing sports such as soccer, basketball and particularly cycling, which he considers a school of life.