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About IIS
May 11, 2023

Meet our teachers: Mattia Milone

Mattia has been a teacher at IIS for several years.

Read this interview to get to know him better.

Teachers have a crucial role at IIS, so we believe that helping our students to get to know them better is one of the main goals of our Blog. Starting from this article, we will introduce our teachers every few weeks, so that you can learn something more about each of them. 

To start, we recommend looking at our page About us | SFIIS. 

Today we got the chance to have a chat with Mattia Milone, who is teaching both group and private lessons at IIS, both online via Zoom and in person in our new headquarters. 


  • How long have you been teaching Italian? How long for IIS?  

I’ve been teaching Italian for almost 10 years. I started at IIS 4 years ago. 

  • What made you choose to become a teacher?  

What I love the most about teaching my language is that I feel like a deliverer of new ways of communication for those who have never learnt it before. Learning a new language, most of my students say, is like discovering a new side of oneself. It is gratifying for me to witness the moment when they find that out. 

  • Where are you from? How often do you visit your hometown? What do you miss the most?  

I’m from Milano, but was born in Puglia, where now I visit the most when I’m overseas.   

Of Puglia, I miss a lot of things. The list is long: swimming into the sea -we have an Ocean here in Northern California, but we cannot really enjoy it!- certain flavors, sounds of the dialect, focaccia & raffo beer, vestiges of Mediterranean past civilizations… 

Of Milan, I miss going to La Scala – but I find the Symphony here in Oakland almost as great. I also miss the opportunity to walk and see lots of people in the streets, enjoying restaurants open till late. I miss my friends, my familiarity with people and places. I miss the beautiful unpredictability of certain events you can encounter only in Italy.  

  • What is your favorite Italian dish? Do you like cooking?  

It would be easier to ask me what is NOT my favorite Italian dish, and even then, it would be hard to find one. No, I do not particularly enjoy cooking. I enjoy my wife’s cooking. Even though she is American, she cooks like an Italian nonna: same rituals, same patience, same expression of creativity.  

  • Is there a monument or place that you recommend our students to visit if they go to Italy? 

There are many. But if I have to choose one, I would say Castel del Monte in northern Puglia. 

  • Can you share with our students some tips for learning Italian faster?  

Do not get discouraged when grammar seems hard, or when you cannot reproduce the same exact phonetic sounds. Emancipate yourself from any sort of inhibition. Speak even if it is not always correct. The more you speak the more you learn. And, most importantly, have fun! 

“A language is not just words. It's a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. It's all embodied in a language”
Noam Chomsky