Our Instructors

Silvia Giabardo

Teaching Coordinator, Instructor, PLIDA Examiner

I was born in Italy, in the Veneto region, and studied in Venice at Ca’ Foscari University majoring in Foreign Languages and Literatures. I have taught Italian as a second language for over 20 years. At present, I am an Instructor of Italian language and Teaching Coordinator at the Dante Italian Language School. I am also an Examiner for the PLIDA Certification tests. With the Dante  Society I help to organize cultural events and coordinate the Italian Book Club.

So many students, stories and unforgettable experiences have come to me through my teaching. My aim has always been to promote understanding of the current aspects of life, culture, and travel in Italy, sharing direct experiences (what it is to be Italian and be amongst Italians).

Teaching Italian is my passion.

Let us take up this unique adventure together!

Sonia Del Torto


I was born in the small region of Molise and then moved to Emilia Romagna at the age of 19. There I obtained my Master's degree in International Cooperation and Protection of Human Rights. I worked as Assistant Grant Writer in an NGO in Greece, where I started teaching Italian to young refugees and holding seminars about human rights in high schools and other non-formal educational settings.

Back in Italy, I continued teaching Italian to migrants and started studying at Università per Stranieri di Siena.

Teaching is turning into success every student’s potential; it is understanding our communities to build better ones;

it is a life-learning process engaging with students

from different backgrounds; it is falling in love every time

with the Italian culture”.  

Francesca Brambilla


I was born in a very small village in the countryside

by Como Lake, in Northern Italy.
I studied in Milan at Milan State University and I hold a Master's Degree in Speech Language Pathology

from Tor Vergata University in Rome.
My passion for languages and travels brought me to move to Barcelona (Spain) first and eventually

to Vancouver in September 2018.
I love teaching Italian because I can share my infinite passion for Italian culture and language, while learning about other cultures as well.

Alex Valente


Half Tuscan, half Yorkshire, I was born and raised in Prato, Italy, and moved to the UK for my higher education (BA; MA; PhD) in literature, translation, and comics studies.

I started formal language teaching and training when I returned to Italy in 2016, and have taught in public and private schools since, to students of all ages. 

I am a literary translator, working with Italian, English and French, and have several publications to my name in both Italian and English.

Serena Bonomi


I was born and raised in the Italian part of Switzerland (Ticino). I studied interlinguistic and intercultural mediation in Northern Italy (Como) and then I worked almost 6 years as a journalist for the Italian staff of the Swiss news agency.
Born in a multilingual country, I developed a passion for languages. I speak four languages in addition to Italian, my mother tongue. I have the certificate FILIS (Intercultural Trainer of the Italian language for foreign people) and when I moved to Vancouver I started to work as an Italian teacher.
I love to help people to reach their language goals and at the same time to raise awareness of the rich Italian culture. Teaching is a rewarding job and

I am happy to be part of the Italian community

in Vancouver, promoting my language and culture.

Monica Liscio Gordon

PLIDA Coordinator

Monica Liscio Gordon is a sessional lecturer of Italian at the University of British Columbia, and

director of the PLIDA tests in Vancouver for the

Dante Alighieri Society of British Columbia. 

She majored in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Turin, and moved to Israel, where she started to teach Italian in Tel-Aviv, at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura 

and The Open University.

After obtaining her DITALS certificate in teaching Italian as a foreign language at the University of Siena, Monica completed her Masters in Education at UBC, specializing in Modern Languages Education. 

Her professional interests are language identity, 

student-centered pedagogical practices, and

educational technology.

Cinzia Candela

Instructor and Book Club Coordinator

I was born in Varese, in Northern Italy. For many years, I lived in Verona, in the middle of the Po Valley. My family is from Trapani, Sicily.  As you can see,

I am Italian through and through!

In Milan, I studied Broadcasting and Journalism; 

thereafter I designed and conducted various

radio and television programs. 

For over 20 years I have been learning Phonetics, the study of making and enriching the sounds of our wonderful Lingua italiana. Hence, I created "Modulavoce", a method to better develop people’s voice potential. 

In Vancouver I found a great interest in

the Italian language and its culture.

At present I teach phonetics and pronunciation.

I have a passion for writing and write short stories that sometimes become theatrical pieces. 

Since 2019 I have been one of the coordinators

for the Italian Book Club.

Cecilia Foglia

Instructor and Book Club Coordinator

Cecilia was born and raised in the Marche Region of Italy where she studied Modern and Euro-American Literature and Language at the University of Macerata.

After serving as a Language Tutor and Teacher in both private and public schools, she obtained a PhD in

Translation Studies at the University of Montreal.

Life then took Cecilia to Denver (Colorado, USA) for

one year and there, she kept on teaching Italian. 

Since 2018 she lived in Vancouver and recently

she moved back to Montreal.

When I teach Italian, I feel I can travel back to my home country, share its hidden treasures and unfold its cultural

and linguistic mysteries. I like to think about my students

as ‘close travelers’ I share this journey with.”

Ludovica Soleri


I was born and raised in Milan where I studied International Law and took a Fundraising and Cooperation course at ISPI (Institute for Studies of International Policy).

For a few years I worked in Milan in different NGOs helping overcome cultural diversity conflicts and volunteered as a social and legal assistant for inmates.

My first passion is theatre and I have worked for several years in the field. In 2018 I moved to Vancouver

where I discovered my love for teaching while sharing

the wonderful Italian culture and language.

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