ItaLingua is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with locations in San Francisco and Berkeley.
San Francisco has long enjoyed a thriving Italian community. Originally composed of immigrants who settled here, bringing their culture and language, the population has grown to include Americans of Italian descent and Italophiles of all nationalities.
Founded in 1991, ItaLingua gives San Francisco’s Italy-loving community a school of language and culture. A large number of Italian scholars and professionals living in the Bay Area ensured a strong pool of teachers, presenters, and seminar leaders that could share their knowledge and passion. One of the founding directors, Prof. Rosabianca Lo Verso, took advantage of this expertise, expanding the initial offerings of four beginning grammar classes to include advanced grammar studies, conversation, literature, history, and Italian civilization. She organized seminars on Italian cinema and cooking, and created a vibrant program with a loyal following.
In 1996, current director Francesca Gaspari joined the school as a teacher and quickly became a favorite with students. Her enthusiasm for teaching has carried over to her leadership of the school. Describing her goals, she says, “I want to create a piece of Italy in San Francisco, a cultural center where people can get a sense of Italy, read Italian books, watch Italian television. I want to build a community that is more than just a school.”
To that end, ItaLingua now brings Italophiles together with grammar and conversation classes taught by university-educated native speakers who undertake ongoing professional training, as well as seminars on Italian opera, Renaissance art, cinema and theater, wine and food, politics, regional traditions and folklore from throughout the country.