Italian Studies students Elle Berti and Sarina Welsh awarded Chapman Italian Studies Council Travel Class Grants

Italian Studies students Sarina Welsh and Elle Berti have been awarded with Chapman Italian Studies Council Travel Class Grants in support of their participation in the upcoming summer immersion course in Taormina, Sicily. This award is named after the philanthropic group that has supported the development and outreach activity of CU’s Italian Studies program since 2013. For more information on the Council and how to contribute to its effort, please visit this link.

Elle Berti is a first year English major and Italian minor. Outside of classes, she is a director of philanthropy for Chapman’s Eta Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi and a member of Soundcheck A Cappella. After graduation, she hopes to work in the advertising or marketing industry for an Italian company, traveling in both Italy and the United States. Through the Taormina Immersion program, she hopes to gain further experience and understanding of the Italian culture. Additionally, she looks forward to increasing her language and writing skills.

Sarina Welsh is a sophomore currently majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Italian studies. Next fall she plans to enroll in CU’s brand new B.A. in Global Communication & Italian, thus more effectively merging her current interests. She first developed a passion for Italy and the Italian language when she spent her sophomore year of high school in Sardinia, Italy. After graduation, Sarina plans to incorporate her skills and knowledge by working in Italy or with an Italian organization in the US or elsewhere. This summer, she looks forward to learning more about Sicily’s complex history and culture, and to practicing her Italian with other students and with the locals as well.


Posted in Students Success | Leave a comment

Dr. Pacchioni speaks at “Fellini Today”, a symposium at Indiana University Bloomington

The title of Dr. Pacchioni’s talk is: “A Fellinian Ascendant: the Auteur in Contemporary Italian Cinema.”

Posted in Faculty Success | Leave a comment

Screening Italy: A Memorable Morning of Learning and Film Appreciation

The third presentation of the Italian Perspective series took place in the Musco Center for the Arts, on Saturday, April 7, this year focusing on the intersection between cinema and culture. This celebratory symposium, exploring the complexity of Italy’s cultural and artistic import, brought together faculty, staff and students from Chapman University and other local schools, as well as the broader local community of Southern California.


Cinema and Culture: An Italian Perspective was a unique opportunity to learn about the cultural significance and influence of Italian cinema throughout history. A group of distinguished scholars of Italian Studies guided the public through a fascinating journey beginning in silent cinema, continuing through the Italian post-war realist cinema, and the creative innovations of art cinema in the Sixties and Seventies.


Dr. John P. Welle, professor at the University of Notre Dame, traced the trajectory of cinema in an Italian context, from its origin to its “golden age” and peak of international success and artistic significance.  The presentation showed the continuities between the magic lantern and early film production in Italy, highlighted the intersection between literary and cinematic production, and discussed successful strategies in early Italian film industry.

Dr. Giovanna Faleschini-Lerner, professor at Franklin & Marshall College, provided a insightful look at a number of masterpieces of Italian neorealism, clarifying how films that are deeply grounded in a precise moment of Italian history and in a specific Italian urban landscape, continue to remain relevant and inspirational today.



Dr. Thomas Harrison, professor at University of California Los Angeles, presented on the effect of the great “author cinema” of Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Sergio Leone from the 1960s and 1970s. The talk guided through an appreciation of the slowing down of thoughts, perceptions, and expectations of the audience, focusing attention on fine visual details, the construction of scenes, and indeed on the very nature and mystery of seeing.

The symposium was further enriched by montages created by Italian Studies and Film Production students on the themes of dance, song, kiss and spirituality.

Special thanks go out to Paul and Marybelle Musco, President Daniele Struppa, President Emeritus Jim Doti, Vicky Carabini, Joe Baird, our guest speakers, the members of the Italian Studies Council, Musco Center’s director Richard Bryant and his team, the staff of the IdeationLab, and Italian Studies faculty and students for making this event possible.

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Italian Studies & Film Studies major Alessandra Sternberg will join professional workshop in film restoration at the Cineteca of Bologna

Alessandra Sternbergis a graduating senior with a double major in Film Studies and Italian Studies. She actively participates in the Film Society Club and Italian Club. During her career at Chapman University she completed a semester abroad at Università Cattolica in Milan, and travel classes in Taormina and Bologna. This summer, upon graduating, she will return to Bologna to join the competitive workshop at The Cineteca of Bologna, the most important film archive in Italy.

The Cineteca of Bologna is famous for its summer international film festival Il Cinema Ritrovato,  showcasing films of cultural and artistic value in the city’s many piazzas, as well as for its state-of-the-art film restoration lab L’Immagine Ritrovata. The restoration lab’s summer workshop receives applications from all over the world, and it offers a unique and specialized insight into the organization of the festival as well as the restoration process.

Complimenti e auguri, Alessandra!

Posted in Students Success | Leave a comment

Italy’s Jews from Emancipation to Fascism, a book talk by Dr. Shira Klein

How did Italy treat Jews during World War II? Dr. Klein uncovers how Italian Jews, though victims of Italian persecution, promoted the view that Fascist Italy was categorically good to them. Experience in the decades before WWII—fervent Italian patriots while maintaining their distinctive Jewish culture—led them later to bolster the myth of Italy’s wartime innocence in the Fascist racial campaign.

Monday April 23rd at 7pm | Leatherby Libraries, Lower Level B03. Center for American War Letters

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

New Partnership between Chapman Italian Studies & Bowers Museum

The Bowers Museum and the Chapman Italian Studies Program have established a new internship in Museum Education and Administration for students of Italian at Chapman. This year, interns review and research exhibition content and assist in developing educational materials and programs for general public and schools to engage in the Knights in Shining Armor exhibition, on loan from the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy, opening at the Bowers Museum, September, 2018.

Founded in 1936 by the City of Santa Ana through a bequest from Charles and Ada Bowers, the Bowers Museum is one of California’s finest and Orange County’s largest museums. The museum recently celebrated the grand opening of the 30,000+ square-foot Dorothy and Donald Kennedy Wing in February 2007. To achieve its mission, the Bowers offers exhibitions, lectures, art classes, travel programs, children’s art education programs, and other special community programs.


Posted in Community, Students Success | Leave a comment

Join us for Cinema and Culture: An Italian Perspective, Saturday April 7

Join us for the third presentation of Chapman University’s s Italian Perspective series, this year focusing on the intersection between cinema and culture. It will take place at the Musco Center for the Arts on Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

A celebration of Italian cinema and culture, exploring the beauty and complexity of Italy’s cultural and artistic import, Cinema and Culture: An Italian Perspective will be a unique opportunity to learn about the cultural significance and influence of Italian cinema throughout history. A group of distinguished scholars of Italian Studies will guide us through a fascinating journey beginning in silent cinema, continuing through the Italian post-war realist cinema, and the creative innovations of art cinema in the Sixties and Seventies. The symposium will feature thematic montages created by Italian Studies and Film Production students.

Tickets are available at
*A portion of the proceeds will benefit student scholarships to Italy.
A no-charge parking pass is included when you choose the print-at-home ticket option – it will be included in the e-ticket attachment emailed to you.

For information please contact


Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Rhymes of Change: Amir Issaa Introduces CU Students to Multicultural Italy

This past week, Chapman Italian Studies students had the opportunity to participate in an Italian rap workshop by Amir Issaa, a rapper from Rome who is touring the United States to share his story, talent, and ideas. Amir is a child of an immigrant Egyptian father and an Italian mother. Amir’s lyrics are well-known in Italy, and he has become a point of reference for today’s Italian youth of different national family backgrounds. Amir guided students through a lesson on rhyme in Italian along with a discussion on the issues in Italy and ended with a live performance of his original songs.

Posted in Italy Today | Leave a comment

Frank and Eileen De Santis Family Endowed Scholarship in Italian Studies

The Italian Studies program at Chapman University has received a $55,000 gift from the De Santis family. The gift establishes the “Frank and Eileen De Santis Family Endowed Scholarship in Italian Studies.” This gift supports students pursuing a minor in Italian Studies at Chapman University. An initial $2,500 is being awarded in academic year 2017-2018 and another in 2018-2019 from the office of Financial Aid. The scholarship is specifically for undergraduates who have demonstrated a need for financial assistance to attend Chapman University. Current students in the program are automatically considered for the scholarship and therefore do not need to submit an additional application.

Students and faculty are grateful to the members of the De Santis family for being long-time supporters of the study of Italian language and culture at Chapman University. Three members of the De Santis family have graduated from Chapman University: Jeanette M. Poremba (MBA ’94), Christopher F. De Santis (MBA ’96), and Christina L. De Santis (BS ’17). Special gratitude goes out to Commendatore Frank De Santis, who through his devotion and work, has been a central figure in the promotion of Italian culture in Orange County and beyond. This gift ensures the legacy of the De Santis family will continue to support and encourage students for many years to come.

Below, a portrait of the De Santis family.

Posted in Community | Leave a comment

Connecting youth across borders: Chapman Italian Studies students will serve as counselors to Italian juniors in Lombardy

Italian Studies minors Massimo Lesti and Morgan Barraza have been selected by the Dante Alighieri Society to participate in the VoluntarItaly Program during summer 2018. For a period of six weeks, they will be hosted by an Italian family and assist with educational and recreational activities in summer camps at oratories throughout Lombardy in Northern Italy. Chapman Italian Studies is proud of Massimo and Morgan for their commitment to developing a meaningful relationship with our communities in Italy.

Morgan Barraza: “I am a sophomore majoring in Creative Producing in the Dodge College of Film and am minoring in Italian Studies. I have always been extremely interested in meeting different cultures. After spending my junior year of high school in Viterbo, Italy, my passion for anything Italian was born! I immediately fell in love with the people, the language, the culture, and the history that the country has to offer. I am so excited to continue learning about Italy and to put my knowledge of the language to practical use while studying and connecting with other young people!”

Massimo Lesti: “I’m a graduating senior from the Argyros School of Business with a minor in Italian studies. I have relatives in Rome and Lombardy and have kept in touch with them over the years. I am very excited and honored to represent our university and country as I mentor Italian boys and girls in this six-week summer camp program near Milan.”

Posted in Students Success | Leave a comment

A Unique Chapman Opportunity: the Self-Designed Major in Italian Studies

An article by Elle Berti (English & Italian Studies student)

Last May, the Italian program at Chapman University marked an important point in its history by graduating the first two Italian Studies majors at this institution. Since then, the number of students in the program has continued to grow. But, the Italian major isn’t like the typical major in foreign languages –this one’s self-designed. The program is also different from other universities’ because at Chapman students select their own classes for the major.

Before this year, only French and Spanish majors were offered, and just a minor option was available for Italian students.

“I think it comes down to the numbers. Most students take French or Spanish in High School, so they probably figure that to be the easiest route to completing their language requirements at Chapman,” said Marco Saglimbeni, a recent graduate in Italian Studies and Biological Sciences.

Although there are fewer students in the Italian program, there are many classes, Study Abroad opportunities, and educational and social events put on by the Italian Program. The Italian minor requires 21 credits and a self-designed major needs a minimum of 27. Many students surpass the requirement for the minor, but, until fall of 2016, no one had attempted to create an Italian self-designed major.

Melissa Marino was the first. After studying abroad and taking Italian classes as an undergraduate student, Marino realized in her junior year that she was only six credits shy of the requirement for the major. With the help of Dr. Pacchioni, the Musco Chair in Italian Studies, she submitted her plan to the University, and it was approved.

“I feel that being the first to design an Italian major laid a framework and gave confidence to those who might be considering declaring an Italian major because it showed them that it very well can –and has– been done,” Marino said.

After Marino declared the major, her peer and friend Marco Saglimbeni did the same. The two graduated in May of 2017 as the first students to receive degrees in Italian Studies.

“Hopefully other students will see what Melissa and I did and realize that the self-designed major is both worth it and a great experience,” added Saglimbeni.

Since fall of 2016, three more students have declared the self-designed major, and over 40 plan to minor.

While there has been talk of creating a traditional major in Italian Studies, like that of French and Spanish, Dr. Pacchioni thinks the self-designed approach remains very effective. Because the degree is self-designed, all students must have another major first. Therefore, the Italian major enhances a student’s resume and provides more opportunities within their chosen career.

“I’d love to find an equilibrium between my two majors and work in advertising/marketing for an Italian company,” said Briana Salatino, a senior double majoring in Public Relations and Advertising and Italian Studies.

For more information about the Italian Studies program at Chapman and the self-designed major, visit the program’s webpage.

Posted in Students Success | Leave a comment

Chapman Italian Studies faculty participate at the 2017 Italian Language Teachers’ Workshop at the University of Southern California

On Saturday, October 21, Chapman University Professors Francesca Paduano, Nadia Pettinger, Irma Booker, and Luisa Spanu attended the 2017 Italian Language Teachers’ Workshop at the University of Southern California.

Posted in Faculty Success | Leave a comment

A Student’s Scholarly Success: Taking Fellini Around the World

Italian Studies minor, Paige Gulley, will attend the Undergraduate Awards conference in Dublin, Ireland on November 7th-9th. Her essay titled “The Soul Becomes Audible: Music in Fellini’s Films”, composed during Dr. Pacchioni’s seminar The World of Fellini’s Cinema, was ranked in the top 10% among 6,432 submissions received from around the world.

The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s leading undergraduate awards program which recognizes top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines.

Posted in Students Success | Leave a comment

Melissa Marino awarded prestigious scholarship for Master in Performing Arts Management at Teatro La Scala in Milan

Melissa Marino, who doubled majored in Theater Performance and Italian Studies in 2017, has been selected as the single recipient of the prestigious full-tuition scholarship from The National Italian American Foundation. The scholarship will support Melissa’s graduate work in Performing Arts Management at two of the world’s most renowned institutions: the Accademia Teatro alla Scala and Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business in Milan, Italy.

The Chapman Italian faculty and community express their sincere CONGRATULAZIONI to Melissa and AUGURI for a fruitful and memorable experience!


Posted in Students Success | Leave a comment

A Successful First Italian Studies Annual Retreat and Reunion

Last Saturday the Italian Studies program held the Italian Studies Annual Retreat and Reunion on the Chapman campus. The event, scheduled as part of the University’s broader Homecoming Week celebrations, brought together faculty, alumni, current students and their families.

The program included presentations by Italian Studies faculty on their background and courses, testimonies by returning alumni, a workshop on study strategies for students of Italian by Dr. Paduano, and an overview of curricular and study abroad opportunities in the department by Dr. Pacchioni.

Thank you to all of those who attended and contributed to the Retreat, it was a joy to spend time with students and their parents, and to reconnect with our alumni!    

Posted in Events, Faculty Success, Students Success | Leave a comment