2019 summer course group pic

2021 Summer Italian Intensive Program for Early College Credit (July 12-29)

Interested in improving your knowledge of Italian language and culture to advance your studies at both the high school and university levels? Eager to catch up in person after a year of discontinuous hybrid learning?

See MAIN PAGE for info about current edition

The 2021 edition of the Italian Intensive Program takes place this year in an “al fresco” version, leveraging the beautiful outdoor spaces of the Montclair State University campus in accordance with current COVID-related guidelines.


This one-of-a-kind program designed for high school students on a university campus is available at Montclair State in an intensive summer format, including guest speakers and off-campus tours. In just three weeks, it prepares students to move with confidence from Italian 3 to an AP or advanced Italian class, while granting 3 college credits at a very affordable price. The program has been offered for three years (20172018 and 2019) and, after a hiatus due to COVID, it returns in 2021 to serve high school students as well as recent graduates of New Jersey and the Tri-State Area as they consolidate their learning from the past year and prepare for their future university experience. FLYER

“The Italian Early College Summer program for high school students was an eye-opening experience not just as an opportunity to immerse myself in contemporary Italian language and culture with a focus on business, art, food and race relations, but mostly as an exciting first-hand encounter with a university to which I now want to apply for my teaching degree in Italian. Montclair State is at the top on my list of most desirable universities!” (Madeline Sandler, John Jay HS, Hopewell, NY; 2021 Summer program participant)

Dates: July 12-29 Monday through Thursday for three weeks: 9am-1:30pm including lunch (students bring their own lunch)
ITAL 240 (permit required)
Schmitt Hall 125
$855 (tuition, registration, and activity fees – note that lunches are not included)
Residential option: $600 (single room with bathroom) or $528 (double room with bathroom) for 4 nights a week (Sun through Wed nights) for 3 weeks.
Note that students must be 16 and above to be able to reside in the dorm. This option may be subject to cancellation depending on revised NJ State COVID-related regulations.
Scholarships available (supported by Mr. Inserra): The course is fully sponsored for a large number of students, including for the residential option (indicate your need in the pre-registration form or inquire at inserra@montclair.edu).
Parking: Not applicable for 2021
Dining: See available options for the summer (Mon-Thur) here.


Do you have any questions? Please visit our FAQ PAGE, and for further inquiries contact the program coordinator, Patti Grunther (inserra@montclair.edu).

Conducted in the target language by an experienced mother-tongue teacher, the program immerses students in the language and culture with an emphasis on verbal skills which allows students to break the communication barrier. Students will be empowered to express emotions and personal opinions more comfortably while preparing for upper-level Italian courses, including the Italian AP exam. The course ITAL 240 (Intensive Italian Bridge Course) includes thematically-structured units on such topics as: immigration and Italian identity; Made in Italy (food, fashion) and sustainability, and draws from authentic materials including films, advertising, YouTube videos, music, news, etc. Overall, students benefit from an engaging college experience on a campus that boasts a dynamic Italian program and proximity to New York City for enriching cultural activities and tours. Upon completion they earn college credits that are valid at Montclair and cooperating universities.


Guided tours

  • Thur. July 15: Tour of Italian Montclair (architecture, immigration, and food businesses) led by Frank Gerard Godlewski.
  • Mon. July 19th: Visit to Magazzino Italian Art, a museum devoted to postwar and contemporary Italian art and based in Cold Spring, NY. Current exhibit focuses on Costantino Nivola. The tour will be guided by artist and curator Pietro Costa.
  • Tue. July 27: Visit and tasting at Greene Grape Catering, Brooklyn led by Emilia D’Albero (Professional Cheesemonger).

Lunch speakers (The “Prendiamoci un caffè insieme” series of talks is an integral part of the summer program and attendance is required.)PRESENTATIONS ARE IN ITALIAN

  • Mon. July 12 – Ice-breaker activity with summer program director (Teresa Fiore), program coordinator (Patti Grunther) and course instructor (Tiziana Rinaldi).
  • Tue. July 13 – Enza Antenos (Assistant Professor of Italian, MSU): “The Cultural Role of Made in Italy in the MSU BA Program “Language, Business and Culture.”
  • Wed. July 14 – Enzo Barracco (Emmy-nominated photographer): “An Eye on Climate Change: Observing  Antartica and Representing Sustainable Fashion.” See Vanity Fair article about the Antartica project in Italian.
  • Tue. July 20 – Cristina Latino (MSU alumna, Language, Business and Culture, BA): “The Summer Intensive Italian Program Leading to a BA and an internship in the Made in Italy sector.”
  • Wed. July 21 – Eden Ghebresellassie (sports event manager, FIFA Master 2009): “An Italian-Eritrean Living in Harlem and Promoting Sports and Culture through Diversity.” and Valentino Agunu (Us Navy Vet/political activist): “Citizenship Denied/Citizenship Acquired between Nigeria, Italy and the US.” – see article in La Voce di New York.
  • Thur. July 22 – Roberto Scarcella Perino (musical artist): “Images of Sicily in the Words of Famous Writers and Artists.”
  • Mon. July 26 – Emilia D’Albero (MSU alumna clas 2015, Italian BA): “From Studying in the Italian Program to Working in the Established Italian Food Sector of New York City (Eataly and Greene Grape Catering) as a Certified Expert.”
  • Wed. July 28 – Maurita Cardone (journalist): “Italian Journalism and Culture in the U.S.”
  • Thur. July 29 – Farewell Party: lunch catered by Rosario’s Butcher Shop and Deli

Afternoon activities – designed for residential students (open to non-residential students upon request – contact inserra@montclair.edu) 

  • Mon. July 12 – Campus tour (including Cali School of Music for opera)
  • Tue. July 13 – Pizza making lab at Aquila Pizza al Forno (Little Falls, NJ)
  • Wed. July 14/21/28 – Screening of Zero (Netflix series TV in Italian) followed by a debate
  • Tue. July 20 – Visit to Yogi Berra Museum – MSU campus
  • Mon. July 26- Visit to Restaurant/Bakery Corso 98 (Montclair) for handmade ravioli lesson with “Mamma Lucia” + visit to TEGLIO PIZZA BAR (Montclair) for focaccia and Sicilian pizza tasting with Palermitano Chef Giuseppe Catalano

The program is offered by the Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies and the Italian Program (Department of Modern Languages and Literatures) at Montclair State U, in association with the Early College Program and Summer Sessions, with the kind collaboration of IACE (Italian American Committee on Education), and the support of a generous donation by Mr. Inserra, which made a large number of full scholarships available. Additional funding was provided by COMITES NY (Comitato degli italiani all’ estero/Committee for Italians Abroad) linked to the Consular district of NY, NY and CT (President Cav. Paolo Ribaudo and VP Maria Abate).

The program is the only one of this type in Italian in the U.S. It has been recognized as a Best Practice in Italian teaching in the Tri-State Area at the 2018 national meeting of the U.S. “enti gestori” (managing units), which are in charge of the promotion of Italian language in connection with the Italian Consulates.

Over time, the summer program has produced a consortium of local high schools, which is bound to expand given the great benefits to both the HS and the university systems created by initiatives such as this program.


Original developer and coordinator: Patti Grunther

Patti Grunther lived in Italy for more than 20 years and has been teaching Italian at Watchung Hills Regional High School since she moved back to the U.S. with her family. She has taught Italian at all levels of the high school system as well as English as a Second Language and Linguistics at local colleges, including Montclair State University, Kean University and Bloomfield College. She serves on the AATI (Association of American Teachers of Italian) board as National Co-Chair of Advocacy and is the recipient of the 2019 AATI Distinguished Service Award in the K-12 category for her achievements in bridging high school, university and pre-professional experiences through Italian.

Instructor and Academic Leader for residential students for 2021 edition: Tiziana Rinaldi Castro

Tiziana Rinaldi Castro was born in Italy in 1965 and has lived in New York since 1984. She has earned degrees in Film and Anthropology from NYU.  She has regularly taught Ancient Greek Literature at Montclair State University and Italian language at NYU, Fordham U, St. Francis College, and Montclair State University, as well as at the high school level in Colorado. She is the Creative Director/Director of Literary Programming of BACAS– a center for Arts and Culture that operates between Brooklyn, Upstate New York and the south of Italy. The author of three novels, a book of poetry, and several short stories in Italian, she has also published essays in English. She is a frequent op-ed writer for the Italian newspapers Il Venerdì di Repubblica, Alias, Il Manifesto, and Il Reportage. Her more recent work Guida alla New York ribelle, a historical guide of revolutionary New York, is forthcoming in Fall 2021.

Program director at Montclair State University: Teresa Fiore 

Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies and Professor of Italian) is a widely published scholar; coordinator of interdisciplinary cultural programming; and the recipient of awards and grants. As a faculty member, she is strongly committed to curriculum innovation and pedagogical experimentation in dialogue with the high school system. Since 2017, for the summer program she has served as the supervisor for content and activities, the active liaison with a variety of offices on campus as well as with supporting institutions and individuals off campus. To learn about the projects she has spearheaded and coordinated over the years (and continues to support via the Inserra Endowed Chair) in order to strengthen the relationships between the HS and university systems, see here.

Intern for 2021 edition: Kenneth Browne

Kenneth Browne is pursuing the post-BA Certification in Italian at Montclair State U through the Adult Learning Program. He holds a MA in Italian from Yale University. As a non-traditional student interested in starting a new career in teaching, Kenneth contributes to the summer program in a variety of ways. He is an assistant in the classroom and during guided tours, and a presenter of another project he is involved in with the Inserra Chair at MSU, where he is in charge of video-making: Food, Hunger, Migration and the American Myth in Sicily at the Time of the WWII Allied Landing

Note: Dr. Marisa Trubiano served as faculty co-developer with Dr. Fiore for the period 2017 through 2019. See her bio on the main page of the summer program.

Quick link to this page: tinyurl.com/MSUmmer2021
See also 2018 video


ID Card Office webpage (for inquiries, contact Joseph Rodak: rodakj@montclair.edu)


* Note that the application form asks for information about the class rank, which is not required. That line can be left blank.