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Meet the ITAL instructors Fall 2018!

Updated: Sep 10, 2018

Dr. Moira Di Mauro-Jackson

Texas State University in San Marcos Where are you from? Santa Margherita Ligure in Italy What's your favorite place in Italy and why? Roma, Firenze, Sorrento

(I can not pick ONE!) What's your favorite Texan Italian restaurant (place or person) and why? Mascalzone's in Houston (authenticity) & Andiamo's in Austin Tell us something cool about you that most people do not know? I play the piano (shhhhhhhhh) Why should anyone learn Italian language?

(1) it's fun, it's easy and everyone loves our culture!

(2) it is the base of all romance languages (closest to Latin) Why does it make sense to major in Italian? It opens many many possibilities globally! What is the best tip you can give to those studying Italian culture?

Immersion & Study Abroad!




Robert Bucci

University of Texas at Austin

Where are you from?

I am from Cranston, Rhode Island. What's your favorite place in Italy and why? This is a difficult question!  My absolute favorite place in Italy is Rome.  I’ve spent a considerable amount of time living in Rome when I was studying and working there.  For that reason, it has come to be another home for me.  The not so subtle way in which Rome subsists as an amalgamation of old and new is amazing and never ceases to fascinate me.  Also: amatriciana and carciofi.  But I would be remiss not to say that a very close second to Rome is Naples and the nearby coastal areas. What's your favorite Texan Italian restaurant (place or person) and why? My favorite Texan Italian restaurant is Numero 28 not only for the delicious pizza, but also for the staff’s welcoming attitude that creates an atmosphere reminiscent of some familial establishments in Italy. Tell us something cool about you that most people do not know? It isn’t that big of a secret, but I really love spending time on beaches and in the sun.  Since I’ve moved to Austin, I’ve come to enjoy paddleboarding quite much.  When I am back in Rhode Island in the summers, I now like to go paddleboarding around the ocean and our beaches, which are undoubtedly the best in the Northeast! Why should anyone learn Italian language? Learning any language also opens the door to learning a different culture.  When you learn Italian, you do not just learn a beautiful language, but you also encounter an unbelievably rich cultural landscape and an equally incredible people.  The experiences that you will have in this culture and with this people are invaluable. Why does it make sense to major in Italian? Italian is a useful language in many sectors of life – fashion, cuisine, the arts, and even business, just to name a few.  Additionally, majoring in Italian (or in any foreign language, for that matter) helps to shape a well-rounded person who is open to and capable of engaging with diverse individuals in wider cultural frameworks. What is the best tip you can give to those studying Italian culture? Immerse yourself in it!  With the Internet, Italy can be quite literally at your fingertips.  Today it is so easy to find out about and keep up-to-date with the latest songs, cultural trends, and current events even from afar.  Don’t let opportunities in your local communities – film screenings, conversation groups, and food tastings – slip by either.  The key is to be active!


Amanda Bush

University of Texas at Austin

Where are you from? Yellow Springs, Ohio. What's your favorite place in Italy and why? This question is too hard! Rome for its musicality, the chaos, ancient history, and modern history, too! Puglia (and especially Salento, where I was lucky enough to travel to for the first time this summer) for the sense of suspension in time, the vast olive groves, trulli... there are no words for the beauty of the seas that surround the peninsula within a peninsula-- pure magic! Sicily, again for the beaches, but also for the dramatic baroque architecture, the amazing food, the persisting dialects, and the many kind people who have welcomed me into their homes there. What's your favorite Texan Italian restaurant (place or person) and why? Since I can't say my own kitchen (I love to cook!), I'd have to say Bufalina-- I dream about their pizza, even though I don't get there often. Tell us something cool about you that most people do not know? I love "old school" hip hop, rap, and R&B. I am a total "word nerd" and love the creativity of the lyrics (I've learned a lot of new vocabulary in both English and Italian through music) but also the beats and samples! Why should anyone learn Italian language? Opening yourself up to another language and culture is invaluable; it allows you to connect with both a people and a place in meaningful ways that a less informed tourist would not be able to. Why does it make sense to major in Italian? It's the most beautiful language in the world, duh! But apart from that, learning and mastering another language challenges you cognitively like few things can. It opens doors for you to work in state service, international companies, tourism, cinema... the list is endless as the possibilities. What is the best tip you can give to those studying Italian culture? Persist and explore! It's not an easy language to grasp, but the more you immerse yourself in the culture through music, movies, books, TV, ITAL (!), the more rewarding it becomes. There's a huge presence of Italian culture outside of Italy-- connect with your local community, listen, learn, and interact as much as possible. Break out of your comfort zone.


Antonella D. Olson Distinguished Senior Lecturer

ITL 611 Supervisor, Language Program Coordinator

University of Texas at Austin

Where are you from?

I am from Rome

What's your favorite place in Italy and why?

I have many, but Rome is certainly on top of the list :) Rome’s beauty is unbelievable and every time I go back, I feel as I am discovering its beauty for the first time. I also love Matera, Florence, Naples and Venice; just to mention a few.

What's your favorite Texan Italian restaurant (place or person) and why?

Trattoria Asti. I like its atmosphere.

Tell us something cool about you that most people do not know?

I love gardening and potting beautiful colorful plants like geraniums.

Why should anyone learn Italian language?

If you love art, history, architecture, cinema, theater, music, nature, cooking, diversity, sense of community, traditions, sports, and yes even technology, you should study Italian!

Why does it make sense to major in Italian?

It does because it’s important to connect the past to the present and learning Italian teaches you how to do it. Italian offers great opportunities to become a global citizen and find new working alternatives.

What is the best tip you can give to those studying Italian culture? Think outside the box! Be creative! Be open-minded!



Guido Capaccioli

University of Texas at Austin

Where are you from?

I’m from Florence.

What's your favorite place in Italy and why?

I grew up in Le Selve, a tiny hamlet on the hills around Florence, in the Chianti area. That’s my favorite place and the one where I really feel at home.

What's your favorite Texan Italian restaurant (place or person) and why? It is the Italian truck Cannone, close to Barton Springs. The cook is Italian and his pasta alla carbonara is pure bliss! Tell us something cool about you that most people do not know?

I love cats, playing guitar, and I probably watched the whole YouTube Why should anyone learn Italian language?

Because Italian is your passe-partout for centuries of amazing art, history, culture, music. And because you want to be cool, don’t you? Why does it make sense to major in Italian?

Everybody loves Italy, but how many speak the language and know the culture for real? A master in Italian means to enrich yourself, boost your CV, and take the opportunities on the job market. Choose to be exclusive! What is the best tip you can give to those studying Italian culture? 

Enjoy the sound, the melody, the flow, how Italian reflects a mentality that is different from the one shaped by the English language. Be creative, and also...move your hands!