Italian opportunites at Elon

Italian Club (IC)

The Italian Club organizes a variety of activities, both social and cultural for its members and for the greater Elon community. For example, during the Spring 2011 semester, the IC invited Professor Anthony Fragola, an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker, to give a lecture based on his anti-Mafia documentaries. In previous years, the IC co-sponsored a series of lectures on Italian-American Studies that brought Professors Thomas J. Ferraro (Duke University), Werner Sollors (Harvard University) and Fred L. Gardaphe’ (Queen’s College/CUNY), to Elon’s campus. In 2008, the IC co-sponsored a lecture on Neorealist Cinema, given by noted film critic Antonio Vitti.

The members of the Italian Club play an important role in Elon’s Italian Festival Week. In the inaugural year of the festival, the IC organized a pasta sauce creation contest, coupled with a pasta eating competition. Both were well attended and especially enjoyed by the Elon community. In addition to organizing special events, the IC is crucial to and much involved in the promotion of Italian language and Italian culture on campus, taking part in many campus-wide events, as well as well interdisciplinary activities.

For more information or to become a member of the Italian Club, contact Dr. Samuele Pardini:

Italian Language Table / La Tavola italiana

Each week, a member of the Italian campus community, usually an IC officer,  leads the tavola italiana. This weekly conversation hour is open to students, faculty, and members of the local community to practice spoken Italian. The tavola italiana meets in the El Centro kitchen. Time and day of 2012-2013 tavola italiana is still to be confirmed as of this writing. Please contact either Dr. Pardini at or an Italian Club officer for more information. A schedule will be posted as soon as it is confirmed.

Italian Learning Community (ILC): La Casa italiana

The Italian Living Learning Community, which is housed in the Colonnades, offers the possibility to speak Italian on a daily basis. Residents of the Casa italiana commit to using Italian in their day to day activities with each other and with other Italian speakers on campus. In the 2012-2013 academic year, this has become even easier with the addition of a native Italian speaker living full time in the Casa italiana!

Often, ILC members have spent a semester abroad at the Elon in Florence Program or passed a summer or winter term touring Italian or studying in Sicily with some of Study Abroad’s shorte-term programs. Study abroad before or after residency in the Casa italiana is encouraged, but not required for admission to the learning community.

Like the Italian Club, the ILC promotes Italian-themed cultural events. For example, during each of the last four years the ILC has invited Mebanesville, a local band, to perform a concert of traditional Italian and Italian-American songs.

In the 2012-13 academic year, La Casa italiana will host Italian movie nights, learn to cook authentic Italian dinners from native Italians, attend a workshop on Commedia dell’Arte, receive a private presentation on and performance of opera, and participate in progressive dinners with the other language houses. In addition, the residents of the Casa italiana will take part in service activities in the greater Elon-Greensboro community.  La Casa italiana also works together closely with the Maison Francaise, the French language learning community with whom they share the floor.

In the Casa italiana, we share the same philosophy as that of the other Learning Communities: to promote “an atmosphere of academic reflection” which helps all residents work towards the goals of “engaged learning, intentional and intimate community and seamless in-and-out of class learning. The Casa italiana was created in order to foster community between Italian learners, as well as their counterparts in other language houses.  Residents share a desire to communicate in Italian, and they work together to create, maintain, and grow a unique cultural and educational atmosphere in the Italian House, on campus and in the community.

An application is required to live in the Casa italiana and is available through Residence Life, in January of each year. Applications must be submitted online within the required time frame for the following year. For more information on Learning Communities online, please visit their website.

For more information on the Casa italiana, please contact Prof. Marina Melita at: or (336)278-5893. To take a look at current events at the Casa italiana, visit our Facebook page.

Elon’s Italian Festival Week

The Italian Festival Week is a new and exciting endeavor for the Italian Studies program.  During this week, several events showcasing the Italian language and culture are offered. Last year’s inaugural festival took place in March and featured: guest speaker, Dr. Dino Cervigni; a pasta eating contest accompanied with a sauce creating contest; a study abroad photo contest; an Italian movie night and a special finale with Natalie Morrone and the Dance Cure followed by Larry Vellani’s Mebansville. Ms. Morrone and Mr. Vellani were on hand to teach our students how to sing and dance in traditional Italian styles, something most of the audience had never been exposed to in the past.

The Italian Festival Week showcases the Italian studies program and invites the Elon community to share in our love and passion for the Italian language and culture.

Greensboro's Festival Italiano

Every fall the City of Greensboro organizes a Festival Italiano. The festival began in 2009 as a small block event with an expected turnout of 1,000-1,500 people. Instead, organizers were faced with and excited crowd that reached over 5,000. As the Festival continues to grow, it offers students a look at various aspects of the presence of Italian culture and economy in the United States.  Note:The festival may not take place in 2012-2013, but information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Off-Campus Excursions

Once or twice a year, the faculty organizes trips to local Italian-owned businesses as well as businesses that trade with Italy in the local area and universities events that feature some aspect of Italian language and/or culture.  In 2010, for example, some of Elon’s students took a trip to nearby UNC-Chapel Hill to see an Italian-only production of Carlo Goldoni’s comedy, La Locandiera.

Other Classroom Experiences

In addition to the Foreign Languages Dept. various departments on the campus, such as International Studies, Art History, History and Geography, Religious Studies, Performing Arts, and Music offer classes that deal with various aspects of Italian culture and history.

Study Abroad

No foreign language minor would be complete without a summer/winter term or semester abroad in Italy. Currently, Italian studies has three interdisciplinary programs running in Italy. The semester abroad in Florence program runs every semester, while our programs in Assisi (summer) and greater Italy (winter term) run in alternating years. In the future the Italian Studies Program along with our colleagues in other departments and the Italian Studies Advisory Board, hope to offer at least two new exciting programs in other parts of Italy! For more information on Study Abroad in Italy, please visit their website.