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Faculty and Staff

The Italy Center staff and faculty look forward to meeting you in Bologna.  Courses are taught by adjunct professors who have either taught or completed doctoral research in the United States and are familiar with American forms of pedagogy.


Administrative Staff


Simone Bregni (Director)

Dr. Simone Bregni completed his M.A. at the Università Degli Studi di Torino leaving Italy for his Ph.D. and teaching at the Saint Louis University. Dr. Bregni’s areas of expertise span the areas of foreign languages, literatures, and cultural studies. Dr. Bregni’s academic productions include various publications on the benefits of incorporating technology (video games) in language learning and culture acquisition. 

Dr. Bregni began partnering with the Italy Center in 2012. He is excited for students to witness Bologna’s long-standing tradition of being at the forefront of citizens’ engagement in social justice, equity, and equality for all. Dr. Bregni is an also one of the Italy Center’s Italian Language Instructors.

 Vittorio Buffatti  (Vice Director of Budget and Finance)

VittorioAs the Assistant Director of the Italy Center, Professor Buffatti overseas the administrative operations of the Italy Center.  He is a practitioner and researcher  having worked for numerous human rights causes across Italy and the Balkans.  In 2010 he conducted research for Amici dei Bambini  which is the largest non profit organization in Italy addressing the needs of children. He holds two master’s degrees; one in Political Science (interdisciplinary with Law) from the University of Bologna and another in Business and Non Profit Management from the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan. He has overseen the operations of youth and legal projects in the Balkans while working for the Johns Hopkin’s University Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development.  He served for six years as a tutor and director of student affairs for the Bologna based Loyola University (California) International  Law Program.

Alia Nardini (Associate Director for Academics & DEI Officer)

Dr. Nardini moved to the UK at age 18, where she completed her BA and Masters in Political Philosophy. She moved back to Italy for her PhD and taught at the University of Pisa and the University of Bologna. Dr. Nardini’s academic production includes two books, various publications on international relations and contemporary American political thought, and an extensive collaboration with the Vatican Radio. 

Dr. Nardini began teaching at the Italy Center in 2012 and has served as the Associate Director for Academic Affairs since 2017.  She has overseen a broad range of academic, social justice and co-curricular programs. Specifically, Dr. Nardini has developed a number of interdisciplinary courses and initiatives that have deepened the Center’s commitment to human rights. She also offers an expertise in leading social justice focused student travel tours to include Southern Italy and Eastern European destinations. Dr. Nardini is an also one of the Italy Center’s Political Science Instructors.

Chiara Deodato (Social Justice Program Manager, Service Learning & Internship Program Coordinator)

Chiara has lived in Bologna since mid 2017, her origins are proudly rooted in the South, while being born in Northern Italy. Passionate advocate for human, civil, political rights and social justice, her most recent professional works have been within organizations dealing with marginalization, people and community empowerment, youth activism, cultural projects and social businesses. Academically, after Political Sciences studies held in Milan, she got a MSc in International Humanitarian Action at the University College Dublin, by undertaking part of her thesis research over community-based, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change-related topics at the Monash University in Melbourne. Mainly engaged in work and volunteer experiences in not-for-profit organizations and movements, she has been collecting various experiences, from UN fora to field work in remote villages throughout Europe, Africa, South America and South-East Asia. She is constantly balancing between strong values and ideals with real-life experiences and imaginative scenarios. At the Italy Center, Chiara is seeing the possibility to bridge global and systemic perspectives together with the awareness of the power and impact of small, local actions and changes. Chiara is an also the Social Science & Service Learning Instructor. 

Sam Favre (Program Coordinator)

Sam grew up in Long Beach, Mississippi. He graduated from Spring Hill College with a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. Sam attended the Italy Center in the Spring of 2019. After his semester abroad, he worked in our Mobile office, helping with recruitment, pre-departure, and other operations. Sam now serves as our Program Coordinator in Bologna. He lives in The Student Hotel alongside students as a resource for acclimating to life in Italy and anything else they may need.


Lisa Pasquinelli (Program Coordinator)

Lisa is from Tuscany. She attended the University of Bologna and graduated with a master’s degree in Language, Society, and Communication. Lisa also studied abroad in Finland and Belgium, and taught Italian to foreigners. These experiences pushed her to work in study abroad, both as a coordinator for an international study program in her hometown and as a group leader for international students in the UK. After spending the last year volunteering at a kindergarten, she now serves as our Program Coordinator in Bologna and she lives in The Student Hotel. She is always ready to assist students and help them have enriching experiences.



Art Sciences

Piergiacomo Petrioli (Art History)

PGPiergiacomo Petrioli, PhD, is an art historian residing in Bologna. He holds a PhD from the University of Turin and a Specializzazione from the University of Siena. His fields of interest include Renaissance Art, Art criticism and collection of Tuscan Renaissance art in England and America, and 19th-Century art criticism and restoration in Siena. He has published several articles and books, including a textbook about the Renaissance in Central Italy for non-Italian students, “Percorso dell’arte italiana da Firenze a Roma”. Dr. Petrioli has taught Art History at the University of Siena, New York University/Florence, and Dartmouth College/Siena, Boston University in Padua and Venice, and History of Art Criticism at the University of Florence. His awards include two scholarships from the Armstrong Browning Library of Baylor University and a fellowship from the Roberto Longhi Foundation of Art History in Florence.

Nicola Spaccucci (Film Studies)

Nicola SNicola Spaccucci is an editor and director of production who has been involved in many projects in the last 15 years, from cinema to TV production, videoclips and advertising. From 2011 he leads production and video editing at Dreamed Srl, Lavino Mezzo, Bologna. From 2008 to 2010, he was the Assistant Director Live as Video Technician at ASA Audiovisivi srl – Castelnuovo di Casalecchio – Bologna and Video Editor for various videoclips and DVD, including live for Vasco Rossi, Stadio, Marco Travaglio,Talks with Ermanno Olmi” by Tatti Sanguineti. Since 2004 editor for Zoomworx for several TV and cinema film productions, including “Tu te souviens d’ Adil?” by Mohammed Zinnedaine, and the TV film “L’ispettore Coliandro 2”, directed by Manetti Bros. Professional training in editing on AVID Xpress at Accademia delle Arti Cinematografiche di Bologna with excellent knowledge of editing software: Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Movie Magic, AVID Xpress, Motion in their various versions. Experienced in the field of film production, elaboration and distribution of audiovisual products on digital, analogical and film format. Wide knowledge of cinema and TV culture. Writer of film subjects and scripts.


Alessandro Busca (Business)

ALESSANDROAlessandro Busca is a law researcher from the European University Institute in Florence. He holds a law degree from the University of Bologna, where he spent one year as an exchange student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also holds a master degree LL.M. from the University of Chicago Law School. He has worked in a number of international institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights as well as international law firms. He has just completed a Ph.D. at the European University Institute.

Matteo Fusco (Finance & Business Communication)

Born in Torino (Italy), Matteo Fusco studied in Italy, Belgium, the United States and Argentina. Founder of FusConsulting, an independent consulting company specialized in strategic communication, marketing, political  campaigns, identity and reputation, climate change management and Green finances, Matteo has over 10 years of  international experience in the above mentioned fields working with private companies, public institutions, and NGOs. Matteo is also the Executive Director of the Argentine Institute of Fiscal Sociology and a Consultant in Green Finances and Innovation for the Ministry of Climate Change of the Misiones Province in Argentina.

Languages & Literature

Claudia Marulo (Italian Language)

ClaudiaClaudia Marulo studied Modern Literature in Naples and acquired a PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Text Translation from the University of Siena, with a dissertation on hypernovel. She has been teaching Italian Literature and Italian Language for 10 years now, with great enthusiasm.Her literature courses focused on Dante and Boccaccio in the Medieval period, and on Calvino in the twentieth century. She published several articles and attended conferences in Lisbon, Zurich, and Louvain-la-Neuve. Dr. Marulo worked with university students from all over the United States, but also with European study abroad programs (Università per Stranieri di Siena) and Argentinean MA students (Università di Bologna). She taught at the Siena School for Liberal Arts and the AHA – Oregon University in Siena, the Italy Intensives of the East Carolina University in Certaldo (FI), and the Johns Hopkins University in Bologna. Throughout the years, Dr. Marulo has created original didactic material for specific Italian language learners, such as migrants, and undergraduate American students. She speaks advanced English and French.

Allison Grimaldi Donahue (Italian Literature)

Grew up in Middletown, Connecticut and has lived in Bologna since 2010. She holds an MA in Italian Studies from Middlebury College, an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a PhD in Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thought from the European Graduate School, Switzerland. Her research interests are in Italian literature, particularly feminist literatures throughout history, experimental and avant-garde traditions, textual presence in contemporary art, deconstruction, and translation studies. Dr. Donahue first came to Italy to explore her own Sicilian heritage and study abroad as an undergraduate. She brings with her years of experience teaching in American liberal arts programs in Rome and Florence. She teaches courses in Italian literature in translation ranging from modern and contemporary texts to Dante. She approaches these texts in unique ways, focusing on discussion and using the city of Bologna as a guide. Dr. Donahue brings her own writing and translating practice to her teaching, as well. She is author of Body to Mineral (Publication Studio Vancouver 2016) and On Endings (Delere Press 2019) and translator from the Italian of Blown Away by vito m. bonito (Fomite 2021) and Self-portrait by Carla Lonzi (Divided 2021). Her writing and translations have appeared in Another Gaze, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Brooklyn Rail, BOMB, FlashArt, Nero and other magazines.

Philosophy & Theology

Giulia Mingucci (Philosophy)

GiuliaGiulia Mingucci teaches Ancient Philosophy at the University of Bologna. After having received her BA and MA degrees in Philosophy from the University of Bologna, she obtained her PhD in “History of Ideas: Philosophy and Sciences” from the Italian Institute of Human Sciences (SUM) of Florence. During her PhD course, she conducted research at the University of Oxford as a visiting member of the “Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity” and eventually obtained an award for her doctoral dissertation. Dr. Mingucci is mainly interested in the dialogue between ancient and contemporary thinkers in the research fields of Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Biology, and published several articles in Italian and English on these topics. She is member of the European Society of Ancient Philosophy (ESAP) and author of two books: 

Può il Computer Emozionarsi? Macchine & Intelligenza Emotiva (EAI 2015), and La fisiologia del pensiero in Aristotele (Il Mulino 2015; English translation forthcoming).

Irene Valsangiacomo (Guest Theology) 

IreneIrene Valsangiacomo was born in Switzerland and she studied drama at the Theater School of Bologna A. G. Garrone. After the graduation she did a volunteer experience in Sao Paulo (Brasil) in the context of a project of evangelization through social media. She studied theology at the Theology Faculty of Bologna and got a master degree in “Science, Philosophy and Theology of Religions” at the Theology Faculty of Lugano (Switzerland). She has been active within the “Rete Loyola”, the Jesuits of Bologna’s program for students, from 2008 to 2016. She is currently a religion professor in public school.


Science & Mathematics

Marco Giuliani (Biology)

Marco Giuliani is a doctor agronomist who has experienced both the world of research at UniBo, in the faculty of agriculture, working in the biggest greenhouse of tomatoes in the province of Ferrara, and working as a freelance consultant for the planning of high-tech greenhouses and vertical farming for future realizations in the entire Italian mainland. He has a strict connection with his environment, due to the fact that he was born and raised in Bologna. He has collaborated with entrepreneurs and researchers In Emilia-Romagna who deal with social agriculture, production of plants for pharmaceuticals, revaluation of salty soils, and desing acquaponic cultures.

Social Sciences

Lucrezia Ranieri (History)

Lucrezia Ranieri, is a PhD Candidate at the University of Tuscia (Viterbo) and the Goethe University of Frankfurt in contemporary history. She graduated with honors in International and Diplomatic Sciences from the University of Bologna. She works as an adjunct professor at the University of Bologna, Ravenna Campus, where she teaches European Integration and Mediterranean Society and Cultures. She also holds a professional position at the Europe Direct of Romagna. She deals with issues concerning the political and economic history of contemporary Europe, the process of European integration and Italian-German relations, on which she has published essays and articles in scientific journals and books.


Administrative Staff

Mobile, Alabama

Clintisha Sellers (Associate Director & Recruiter)

Clintisha grew up in Moss Point, Mississippi. In 2017 she attended our program for the Fall and Spring Semesters and returned to our Mobile location as a student intern. She obtained a degree in International Studies and a Masters in Business Administration from Spring Hill College. As the Associate Director and Recruiter, she assists in collaboration with partner institutions to prepare future cohorts attending the Italy Center. When she isn’t traveling around the U.S. promoting the Italy Center, she is assisting international students with maintaining their F-1 visa status while studying in the United States as a Designated School Official (DSO). She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Education in Global Training and Development.