Instructors at Istituto Italiano Scuola
Instructors are all native Italian speakers and hold degrees from Italian universities. This team of qualified teachers helps to ensure a learning experience that is dynamic and lively, yet structured and effective. The goal is to expose students not only to the Italian language, but to an entire culture and its complexities and nuances.
Diletta Torlasco is the IIS Executive Director and also a Scuola teacher.
Born in Milano, Diletta obtained her Laurea in Political Science at the University of Pavia with a special focus on American welfare policies. During these years she was an exchange student in Cambridge, UK and Salamanca, Spain. After working for an internet company she moved to San Francisco in 2002. Contemporary history and mystery novels are her enduring passion. She has been teaching at the Istituto Italiano Scuola since January 2002.
Gianna Di Dio Russo comes from Milan, the world capital for fashion and home of the popular regional dish Risotto. She worked in Milan’s dynamic trade show industry while obtaining her degree in Political Science from the Università Statale di Milano. After moving to California, Gianna obtained both an MBA and a Master’s degree in Recreation Studies, in keeping with her passion for the travel industry. Gianna has taught Italian in the Bay Area for nearly a decade. She manages to return to Italy every year to explore new destinations and experiences to share with her students.
Barbara Gautero received her “laurea” in English language and Literature at the University of Torino. In Italy, she taught English to high school students and worked in her family’s bookstore. She moved to San Francisco in 2004 and immediately started to teach Italian. She loves teaching and considers it the best possibility to communicate and share her knowledge and passion for linguistics, literature, art and cinema.
Alessia Pesciaioli was born in Terni, Umbria, the green region in the center of Italy, and the only one not touched by the sea. She grew up in Rome and graduated from Univerista’ La Sapienza, in Business Administration and Economics. She then lived in Luxembourg for a year working at the EEC while finishing her economics thesis. After her degree she visited San Francisco, fell in love with the city and decided to stay. In San Francisco, she worked for 5 years in marketing and business development in the Internet and Telecom industries . Returning to Europe and living in London, she decided to turn her passion into her career and became a qualified teacher, teaching Italian at the Italian Insitute of Culture for three years. She moved back to San Francisco again in 2006 and is now teaching at the Istituto Italiano Scuola.
Romana Ricci graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of G. D’Annunzio in Pescara, she holds a Master’s degree in linguistics from the University of La Sorbonne in Paris. She also studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain. She taught Italian in Paris in high school, business schools, and to corporate executives. She worked at The Louvre Museum as an Italian art teacher and in its linguistic labs for 2 years. After working in public relations for a fashion company in Paris, she moved to San Francisco in 2009, where she’s happy to return to her true passion: teaching. She joined the IIS in the fall of 2010.
Diana Marano was born in Palermo, Italy. She obtained her laurea and PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Palermo. Diana has spent most of her life in Palermo. From 2005 to 2008 she lived in Vicenza, Italy where she worked for an Architectural and Engineering company. In 2008 she moved to San Francisco where she lives with her husband. In 2009 she started teaching Italian language and culture at the Istituto Italiano Scuola. Diana’s hobbies include reading, cooking, crafts work, opera and sightseeing.
Irene Pasqualini was born and raised in Milano. In spite of the economical and financial influence that the City has always exercised over its citizens, she developed a countertrend passion for the history of antiquity in her teens, and got a Master degree in Classics at the University of Milano, with an emphasis in Biblical Hebrew and cognate languages. She then got into the Ph.D. research in the field of the North-West Semitic Philology at the University “L’Orientale” in Naples and completed her Ph.D. degree in 2009. She moved to the Bay area in 2008, attended classes at UC Berkeley as a Visiting Student and eventually joined the team of the Istituto Italiano Scuola in the summer of 2009. Besides languages, she loves human beings and likes to share ideas, especially if surreal, with everyone.
Cristina Farronato is from Bassano del Grappa, a small town not far from Venice. She graduated from the Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice with a Laurea in Foreign Languages and Literatures and she holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, San Diego. She has taught Italian language and literature at all levels as an Assistant Professor at Colgate University in New York and as a Lecturer at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She has written many articles in academic books and journals and published a book on the Italian philosopher and writer Umberto Eco (Eco’s Chaosmos: from the Middle Ages to Postmodernity, University of Toronto Press).
Paola Rossaro was born in Pesaro, on the Adriatic coast. She moved to Milan, where she graduated in Computer Science at the University of Milan. Later on, she obtained a Ph.D. in Software Engineering at the University of Pavia. During this time she was also a visitor researcher at the University of Maryland, working on her dissertation project. After her degree, she obtained a post-doc at the International Computer Science Institute of UC Berkeley. She fell in love with the Bay Area and worked for more than 10 years in the software industry. She has been teaching italian since the beginning of 2010, and she is loving it. Among her interests are movies, reading novels, and being in the outdoors, specially in the wild California mountains.
Jessica Bazzoli was born and raised in Reggio Emilia, near Bologna, in the heart of Emilia Romagna. She graduated with a degree in Interpreting & Translation at the Università di Bologna in 2006. She lived for a year in Dublin, Ireland and studied for year at the University of Hull, England. After spending a summer in Spain, she moved to San Francisco working for three years at the Italian Cultural Institute. She joined the SFIIS team in 2011 and discovered a real passion for teaching. Her future plans include working with kids as well as adults in her areas of interest such as art, music, and ecology.
Silvia Pareschi was born in Laveno, on lago Maggiore. She graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Bologna, and then attended a Masters Course at Scuola Holden, a creative writing school in Torino. Silvia then started working as a literary translator from English into Italian, specializing in contemporary American fiction. Among the authors she translates are Jonathan Franzen, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, Junot Díaz, E.L. Doctorow, Denis Johnson, Amy Hempel, Nathan Englander, Annie Proulx, David Means, T.C. Boyle. She loves teaching because she enjoys sharing her knowledge with other people, and because there’s always something to learn in exchange.
Vera Fogagnoli is from Milan, Italy where she was born and raised.She graduated from The Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy with a degree in Economics and Commerce. She also has a CPE from Cambridge University. Several years after working as an accountant, she realized her passion for teaching. She switched jobs and became an Economics instructor at a High School in Rome. After a couple of years, she then moved back to Milan where she started teaching both Italian and English.Arriving in the city, in 2013, she joined the Istituto Italiano Scuola where she transfers her enthusiasm, love for Italy and the Italian culture to her students.When she is not at work, Vera likes outdoor activities especially trekking and skiing.