1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Italian Program

Italian has been taught at the University without interruption since its founding. In 1986 the Virginia Council for Higher Education approved the reinstatement of a B.A. degree and the establishment of a graduate course of studies leading to the M. A. degree in Italian. Since 1986, enrollment in Italian basic language courses has increased severalfold, as has the number of majors and minors.

Today, the Department offers three kinds of specialization in Italian Studies: A minor concentration of courses; a major program leading to the B.A. or B.A. with distinction; and a graduate course of studies leading to the M.A. in Italian language and literature.


Our Faculty

The Italian faculty’s expertise encompasses a broad range spanning literary and cultural studies from the medieval to the modern periods, Italian cinema, comparative and interdisciplinary studies, women’s studies, and the use of technology in the humanities.

Italian Tutoring

The Italian tutor list is maintained by the Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese. The department does not offer free tutoring services. Individuals from this list are contracted independent of any participation by the department. They establish their own scheduling and fee rates for tutoring services. If you are interested in tutoring, you may contact one of the tutors in our department.

Click here for the list of tutors who are currently available.

Student Life

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese is one of the more active departments within the University, and we encourage students to strengthen their knowledge and love of Italian culture by participating in our many activities. These activities are meant to facilitate interaction between faculty and students, and to promote appreciation and understanding of Italian culture, art, and lifestyle. To receive updated information on Italian activities please join our e-mail list.

Shea House

The Italian section in the new, state of the art Shea House provides a small, strictly selected number of students of Italian at UVA the unique opportunity to live for an academic year in an environment of total language and culture immersion. The Language House, together with the UVA Italian Department is the epicenter of Italian culture on campus. In close collaboration with the Department and the reorganizing ‘Circolo italiano’, it hosts and plans a variety of events and activities conceived by the students and supervised by the resident graduate language assistant and by the Italian faculty: an Italian film series, guest lectures, a weekly conversation table, food fests, and Italian prizes. These prizes reflect special achievements in Italian and are awarded every Spring semester at the Festa in Giardino, hosted in the beautiful garden of Pavilion VIII.


All University of Virginia undergraduate and graduate students and members of the Charlottesville community interested in Italian culture are welcome to participate in these events; Fall 2013 Italian Studies Events.


Grants & Awards


Lola Pelliccia Prize:

This prize is awarded once every year during the Spring Semester. A diploma and a monetary award are offered to the winner at the Prizes ceremony held during the annual Garden Party. The Lola Pelliccia prize is awarded to the best essay, written in Italian, in a higher-level Italian course (Ital. 3010-5000).

Marie M. Giuliano Award:

This award is given to a fourth-year graduating student on the basis of demonstrated academic excellence in Spanish or Italian language study and a contribution to the growth and nurturing of Spanish or Italian at the University.


Tibor Wlassics Dante Research Fellowship:

Funded by Luciana Wlassics, the Tibor Wlassics Dante Research Fellowship is awarded annually to a Graduate Student pursuing research on Dante. All Graduate Students in the humanities are eligible to apply. The award is approximately $5000. For more information, please contact Deborah Parker.

Annual Lola Pelliccia Graduate Student Prize in Italian:

The annual Lola Pelliccia Graduate Student Prize in Italian consists of a diploma and cash award conferred annually at the Italian Program’s Spring Semester Garden Reception. This prize has been made possible by the generous contributions of the Pelliccia Family and their friends.

The Lola Pelliccia Graduate Student Prize recognizes and rewards excellence in all aspects of the Master’s Degree program, including academic performance (course essays, class participation, M.A. thesis, and performance in MA exams), teaching, and collaboration with the Italian program’s academic and cultural initiatives.

A four-member faculty committee will select the winner. The membership of the committee will consist of two faculty members from the Italian program, the director of the Language Teaching program, and one representative from the Spanish section of the department. Membership in this committee will rotate from year to year.

The Lola Pelliccia Graduate Prize may be conferred upon one student, split between two students, or may not be awarded at all in any given year if no student is deemed qualified.