Skip to content

Meet Our Collina Italiana Family

Each of our certified and qualified instructors is a native Italian speaker able to draw from a genuine background to create a learning environment that is authentic and wholesome.

Our students are guided through an immersive experience that includes language, traditions, food, arts, politics, literature, and every aspect of Italy. Learning at Collina Italiana goes far and beyond just mastering grammar or syntax. It is about feeling connected to the Italian heartbeat.

Patrizia Saglio

Founder and President

Entrepreneur, philanthropist, art collector, and founder of Collina Italiana, Patrizia, was born in Lugano, Switzerland and grew up speaking Italian, French, and German. She graduated in political science from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, where she worked for several years as an assistant professor and private teacher of Italian and French to college students and at international corporations.

Patrizia moved to New York in 1998 and after a stint as co-owner and manager of an international trade company she decided to open an Italian language and cultural center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in 2007.

In founding Collina Italiana, Patrizia’s mission is to offer Italian language classes in an authentic cultural setting and context: all Italian language classes include an introduction to Italian culinary arts, wine, and film.

In her free time, she is currently a student of Arabic and is enjoying being back in the classroom!

Cristina Ciarcelluti

Program Coordinator

Born in Pescara, Italy, Cristina moved to Forli at the age of 19 to study International Relations and Diplomatic Affairs at the University of Bologna. Widely traveled, Cristina attended language courses in England, France, and Russia. Having lived in Estonia for a year, she’s also competent in the Estonian language. During her years at the university, Cristina volunteered in hospitals as a teacher and translator for both children and adults.

Cristina is an Italian language instructor and examiner for the CELI, which is a  certification given by the Università per Stranieri di Perugia to assess competence in Italian language usage.

Talented in Public Relations and Social Media, Cristina approaches all that she does with energy and enthusiasm. She enjoys living in New York City where her interests in singing, theater, and reading are easily satisfied.

Luna Splendori

Program Assistant

A New York native, Luna is a recent graduate of The University of Chicago (magna cum laude) where she studied linguistics and Italian literature. She is fluent in Italian, Spanish, and English, and has also studied French, German, and Mandarin. 

In her free time, she loves to cook, bake, and try new foods. She is also a coffee fanatic who will never say no to a nice espresso! Luna also loves to share her passion for the Italian language, culture, and cuisine with fellow students at the University of Chicago through her student organization, CIAO!

Luna leads our online series, Cosa Dici?!… check it out here!

Eveline Baseggio Omiccioli

Instructor

Eveline is an art historian in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art. 

Born and raised in Treviso, Italy, she completed her Laurea Triennale and Specialistica in Conservazione dei Beni Culturali at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, where her passion for Venetian art originated. In 2017 she completed her Ph.D. in Renaissance and Baroque Art at Rutgers University in New Brunswick (N.J.) with a dissertation on Venetian Renaissance sculpture, which she is now turning into a book.

Eveline has worked in a number of art museums in New York and New Jersey (The Frick Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Zimmerli Art Museum) in different departments with a variety of roles, such as fellow, docent, and lecturer. She has also taught in various contexts, first at Rutgers University as a teaching assistant, a member of the Rutgers Early College Humanities program, and more recently, as an adjunct Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. During the pandemic, Eveline has begun offering online webinars sponsored by Friends of FAI, The National Arts Club, and Collina Italiana.

In her classrooms, lectures, and her YouTube channel, she aims to making art history accessible, useful, and engaging by using masterpieces from the past as a way to raise awareness about today’s critical issues.

Manuela Biondi

Instructor

Born and raised in Napoli, Italia Manuela moved to Milano and graduated from Politecnico di Milano with a Master’s Degree in Architecture, specializing in interior and industrial design. While still in school she attended the Escola Tecnica Superior De Arquitectura de Barcelona, and the Facultat de Belles Artes St. Jordi both in Barcelona, Spain for two semesters. Within the Socrates Project sponsored by the UE and for the departments of Image/Design and Public Sculpture she studied and researched, while perfecting her Spanish.

Manuela moved to New York in 2006 and continued to pursue her passion for interior design and architecture founding Designable Interiors and Décor, promoting Italian design and decor.

Passionate about Italian language, culture, art and design, she started teaching Italian to adults and children in person and online as a freelance instructor. She has also recently received her ACTFL Language Proficiency Certificate for her knowledge of the Italian language.

As an entrepreneur passionate about art, architecture and design, Manuela’s method of learning is highly engaging and her goal is to help her students develop a true love for Italian language and culture.

Manuela adores Manhattan, its museums, art galleries, and amazing energy, and has been a certified tour guide for many years!

Ilaria Colombo

Instructor

Born and raised in Varese, Italy, Ilaria attended the Università di Lettere e Filosofia of Milan where she graduated with honors in Ancient Roman History. Since then, she has taught all over Italy and the U.S.

Before moving to New York, she worked as Head Italian Teacher at “Language and Enrichment Center-Let’s Play in Italian” in New Jersey. There she developed an Italian immersion classroom curriculum for preschool and kindergarten classes, and instructed private and group Italian language lessons to a variety of adults and children at all levels.

As a certified instructor of the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodology, Ilaria strives to intertwine Italian language learning and other subjects within general education.

She has always enjoyed studying languages, traveling and learning about different cultures. In her spare time, Ilaria enjoys reading, going to the movies, and discovering new and unusual spots in NYC. Her passion is opening the eyes of adults and children to Italy’s beautiful language and culture!

Rossana Copler

Instructor

Born in Bergamo, Italy, Rossana Copler finds her passion in teaching and writing. Rossana tailors her lessons to the needs of her students, focusing evenly on all aspects of language: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Most importantly, Rossana aims to make her lessons fun by connecting to real-life contexts and incorporating visual aids, word games, and ties to Italian culture.
 
In recent years, Rossana has discovered a passion for writing and has published several books in recent years, including Acqua (2016), The Absolute Note (2018), and Songs of a Secret (2021). Her writing explores both the dreams and heartbreaks that co-exist in life, creating a world where the healing power of love soothes the wounds of misunderstandings and offers hope for the heart to love freely without prejudice.
 
Outside of her work, Rossana loves to travel and immerse herself in the cultures of many places. She now resides in Vancouver, Canada with her two sons and husband.

Argia Coppola

Instructor

Daughter of a Piedmontese mother and Neapolitan father, Argia was born and raised in Turin, Italy. She attended the University of Turin and studied languages abroad in London and Leeds.

After moving to New York to pursue her “American dream”, Argia earned her PhD in Italian and Playwriting from Columbia University through a cotutelle program with the University of Turin.

Through the study of Literature and Theater, she discovered the musical roots of the Italian language that influences radically her creative teaching method. For Argia, learning a language means listening and absorbing the unique sound of it. She specializes in immersive one-on-one classes, although she tutors larger groups as well.

She is passionate about female Italian authors such as Elena Ferrante, and is currently teaching a specialized course on the Neapolitan tetralogy here at Collina Italiana. Argia is also professor of creative writing at Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Milan and Turin.

Calling New York her new home, Argia enjoys practicing meditation and yoga. She is author of Love is Blonde, based on the novel Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates.  

Eleonora Corradi

Instructor

Born and raised in Milan, Eleonora has  expanded her horizons, having studied and worked in Milan, London, Paris, Bern, Grenoble, and New York. She is fluent in Italian, English, and French, and has also studied Spanish. She has a PhD from “Politecnico di Milano”, where she taught for 5 years as an assistant teacher. She has been a technical translator since 1995 and worked for many international companies such as Microsoft, Ernst & Young, and Zanichelli Editor to translate scientific books and articles, technical procedures, and reports.

Eleonora moved to Paris in 2000 and there she started her own translation company and also began working as an Italian teacher for Interface Business Languages. She moved for the second time to New York in September 2015 and now teaches adult classes at Collina Italiana.

In her free time, she loves to solve crossword puzzles, read mystery books, and watch movies.

Linda De Luca

Instructor

Born in Milan, Linda moved to Varese at the age of 11. She earned a Master Degree in Literal & Scientific translation in both English and French after graduating in Translation and Interpretation at ILSIT – Varese. She has attended language courses in Ireland, Belgium, England, France, USA and has accomplished fluency in English, Spanish and French.

Linda has worked as a simultaneous/consecutive interpreter for American and Italian writers, TV networks, radio stations, and universities. In 2013, she moved to the US where she specialized in medical and court interpretation and proofreading.

Linda has gained experience as a personal tutor/teacher of Italian and English for over 10 years in several schools and companies. She enjoys teaching languages through music as an effective learning platform. In her free time, she loves singing, dancing, practicing yoga, and traveling.

Maira Finley

Instructor

A native Italian speaker and professor, Maira Finley grew up near Venice, in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy. After serving as a Foreign Language Instructor and vice president of a school district in her city, she moved to the United States in 2010 to explore the opportunity of tutoring international students from all over the world.

Maira’s achievements include receiving an ALIAS Certificate from the University of Venice, a master’s in online tutoring from FI.CI.AP in Vicenza, as well as a philosophy and literature degree in Padua.

Maira remains dedicated to her love for teaching and helping her students improve their overall understanding of the Italian language and culture by developing and implementing creative strategies for her lessons to promote participation and hands-on learning. When she’s not teaching, Maira also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, biking, reading, and practicing yoga.

Elisabetta Girardi

Instructor

A native of Torino, Elisabetta studied International Law at the University of Turin. From dealing with the EU communications strategy in Trieste, to being a freelance legal translator in Maryland, over the years, Elisabetta has worn many hats. Over the past decade, she has found her passion in Italian language instruction and has taught at several American universities. In fact, she is currently an adjunct instructor of Italian at Fordham University.

Elisabetta’s current and past work experience has given her unique insight into the world of cross-cultural exchange and second language instruction/acquisition. She hopes that this newfound perspective, coupled with her love for sociolinguistics and foreign languages, can foster education on contemporary Italian culture in the United States.

Stemming from her never-ending curiosity for the world around her, in her free time, Elisabetta loves to travel and share her experiences through photography.

Maria Celeste Grasso

Instructor

Maria Celeste lives between the US and Italy, especially in her native Sicily where she
handles the management, planning and accounting of her family’s agricultural business.

Language is culture, and for Maria Celeste teaching her native language is about inspiring and empowering students, guiding them through Italy’s rich and vibrant culture, where they can also develop
their interests and feel deeply connected to the language. 

Her aim is to help students achieve
their learning goals by creating an inclusive and encouraging learning environment, full of
interaction and positive energy, where they can communicate with confidence. 

In fact, she strongly believes games and role-playing are essential in a group class as well as multimedia and social media are valuable tools to enhance language immersion in different contexts. She also evaluates learning progress, monitors students’ performance and adjusts coursework to their needs and interests, ensuring they absorb content and practice their new skills effectively.

Barbara Marciandi

Instructor

Born and raised in Milan, Barbara graduated in Public Relations and Business Communication from IULM University, a private university in Milan. Barbara, a tutor of Italian language and history, designs and implements lesson plans using audio and visual resources, interactive games, group projects, films, and music. Passionate about Italian language and culture, she promotes learning through fun, engaging, and educational experiences, and uses Italian dialects to support linguistic acquisition and cultural competence.

Barbara is a certified Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) instructor, combining Italian language learning with other general education topics.

A passionate self-starter, cross-cultural specialist, writer, and experienced blogger, she creates fresh, original content about lifestyles and cultures. She presently resides in Manhattan with her husband and their four children.

Giulia Michieli ​

Instructor

Born and raised in Pordenone, Giulia left Italy at the age of 22 and started teaching Italian while living in Buenos Aires. She has also taught Italian for companies such as Unilever, Carrefour, Coca-Cola, as well as for private schools. She also appeared in conferences to explain the benefits of being bilingual.

In 2015, she moved to New York to finish her studies. She is currently obtaining her undergraduate degree in Data Information Systems, and will soon pursue a Masters in Data Science for International Affairs. Her dream is to analyze data for international organizations while continuing to teaching her beautiful language.

In her spare time, she makes ceramics, cooks, and embroiders.

Stefania Polo

Instructor

Although born in Veneto, at the age of 10, Stefania moved to Ravenna, the city in Emilia-Romagna, known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture and mosaics. After attending law school, she decided to change her career completely and has been successfully teaching Italian to children of all ages for 15 years.

Her students love learning from her and enjoy her sunny disposition and inquisitive mind.

After relocating a few times, she now calls NYC her permanent home, after residing here for six years. She loves to tell her students: “Non siate analfabeti di emozioni,” which translates to, “Don’t be emotionally illiterate.”

Stefania’s passions include fashion, the arts, music and books.

Danilo Secchiaroli

Instructor

Born and raised in Rome, Danilo is a trained and certified ISL teacher by the University of Siena and the Dilit International House of Rome.

He taught Italian at the National University and the Music and Arts Academy of Ulaanbaatar, in Mongolia.
Afterwards, he returned to Rome and worked there with undergraduates studying abroad at Loyola University, Prolingua International School, Upter University, and Dilit Language School.

In 2014, he moved to Philadelphia, where he taught at the Berlitz School and Holy Family University. Danilo tailors his lessons to the needs and levels of his students through a guided discovering learning approach. His interactive methodology guarantees an effective and entertaining learning experience.

In his free time, he loves playing soccer. He enjoys photography and playing the drums.

Diletta Torlasco

Instructor

Born and raised in Milano, Diletta graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Pavia. She always nurtured a deep interest in languages and when she moved to San Francisco in the early 2000s, she turned this love into a career. Diletta became a full time instructor of Italian language and literature, successfully teaching students of different levels and backgrounds. She then served as Executive Director of the Istituto Italiano Scuola, which during her nine-year tenure achieved the status of leading Italian language school in the Bay Area.

Diletta co-developed and edited ‘Grammar Notes,’ a compendium of Italian grammar as a guide to her students. Her approach to teaching is both rigorous and highly communicative, and incorporates her passion for history, current events, and cinema.

Now based in New York, Diletta continues to share her enthusiasm and experience with an all new group of students. In her free time she likes reading, baking, going to the theater, and running throughout the city to get to know New York better. She speaks Italian, English, and French.