Benvenuti! Welcome to our website. Our expert and dedicated instructors, academically-motivated student body, passionate and experienced student services staff, and the welcoming community of Perugia are all cornerstones of our Institute’s success. We are extremely proud of the safe and rewarding experience we offer our students and welcome you to explore our many outstanding learning activities in the classroom, with the local community, and throughout Italy. Please feel free to call, e-mail, or stop in and visit if you have any questions regarding our programs.
Zachary Nowak has worked for The Umbra Institute since 2005. Nowak received his PhD from Harvard University in 2018 and is a food and environmental historian with an interest in how place and taste go together (or don’t). He has written about the history of pizzerias in Naples, Chianti in California, unsalted bread in Perugia, polenta in Italy, terroir nowhere, and truffles all over the world.
Laura FrondutiAssociate Director Administrative and Financial Affairs
Laura is a one of the Associate Director (along with Jacopo Bernardini) for Umbra programs. A native of nearby Assisi, Laura joined the Umbra Institute in 2013 after completing her Laurea in interpreting and Translation from the University of Perugia and having studied abroad at the University of Leeds (UK). She visits the US regularly, particularly to Boston where part of her family resides.
Associate Director Administrative and Financial Affairs
Jacopo BernardiniAssociate DirectorProgram Management & Institutional Development
Jacopo Bernardini is one of the Umbra Associate Directors (along with Laura Fronduti). Jacopo worked for six years as a Postdoctoral Researcher of Sociology and Methodology of Social Research at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Perugia before joining the Umbra team in 2018.
He has published several academic articles and books on Age and Life Cycle, Transition to Adulthood, Generational Conflicts, and the Information Age.
Always ready to lend a helping hand, or contribute to the latest video project, Jacopo is a jack-of-all-trades dedicated to developing quality study abroad programming in and out of the classroom.
Associate DirectorProgram Management & Institutional Development
Clelia Viecelli GiannottiFSE Program Faculty Coordinator
Clelia Viecelli Giannotti
Clelia Viecelli is the faculty coordinator for Umbra’s Food, Sustainability and Environment program. She is a social anthropologist with an interest in wine, food, gender, and human – nonhuman relationships. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Southampton (UK) where she conducted ethnographic fieldwork among female natural winegrowers in Italy. Viecelli has published on the globalization of wine through an anthropological perspective. She is also an accredited wine taster.
FSE Program Faculty Coordinator
Alessandro VaraziCoordinator for Student Housing
Alessandro Varazi is the Housing Coordinator of the Umbra Institute, where he has been working since 2017. Alessandro is a professional real estate agent, Perugia native, he graduated from the Liceo classico, and studied philosophy at The Università degli Studi di Perugia. Having been an athlete for many years, in his free time he is a Judo teacher.
Alessandro is always available to assist the students with their apartments and daily life to ensure students have a safe and rewarding study abroad experience.
Coordinator for Student Housing
Manuel BarbatoCoordinator for Community Engagement
Manuel Barbato has been working since 2018 at the Umbra Institute, where he is responsible of the Community Engagement Coordination and Food & Sustainability & The Environment Program. In addition to working with Umbra faculty and staff, he is involved in the management and development of all of the Institute’s projects run in cooperation with the Perugian community.
Coordinator for Community Engagement
Stefano ConsoleRegistrar & Coordinator for Direct Enrollment Programs
Stefano Console has been working at Umbra since 2018. He is the registrar, but his main duties also include Student Services, Italian Language Programs, and the coordination of the Direct-Enrollment Programs. He has lived and worked abroad (Belgium, Republic of Korea, Germany) for nine years, and gained experience in international institutions and NGOs. He is a certified sommelier since 2016.
Registrar & Coordinator for Direct Enrollment Programs
Arianna BastianiniActivities Coordinator & Student Services Advisor
Arianna was born and raised in Assisi, a small but well-known town (home to St. Francis) located just a few kilometers from Perugia. She received her B.A. in Translation Studies from the University of Perugia, and has always been passionate about foreign languages, cultures, nature and hiking. She has been at the Umbra Institute since 2017.
Activities Coordinator & Student Services Advisor
Eleonora BranchesiCoordinator for Health and Safety; Student Services Advisor
Eleonora Branchesi is a Student Services Advisor. She started working at Umbra in the fall of 2019. She studied TISL (Teaching Italian as a Second Language) at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages at the University of Perugia, Department of English Linguistics and Literature. She studied abroad in Tübingen (Germany) and Seattle (USA).
Coordinator for Health and Safety; Student Services Advisor
Alexandra AmarieiStudent Services & Housing Assistant
Alexandra started working at Umbra in the spring of 2022 as a Student Services Advisor and Housing Assistant. She has studied Cultural Heritage at the University of Perugia and later in 2022 she has also graduated in Linguistic Mediation at SSML in Perugia, with a major in Translation and Interpretation. Some of her passions include singing, reading, gaming and occasionally visiting abandoned places around Italy.
Student Services & Housing Assistant
Caterina AssuntiHousing Assistant
Caterina was born in Assisi. She studied Art History at the University of Perugia with a major in Restoration of Mural Painting in Florence. Her main passion is travelling and discovering new places and cultures.
Margherita TiriduzziStudent Services Assistant
Margherita was born in the Umbria region. She graduated in Foreign Languages at Université Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle and continued her Master studies in Toulouse (France). She started working at Umbra Institute in December 2022.
Margherita enjoys walking in nature and discovering new places. She is passionate about facilitating processes and design thinking.
Student Services Assistant
Elvira PompiliStudent Services Assistant
Elvira was born in Assisi. A former scholarship recepient at Collegio dei Cavalieri del Lavoro “Lamaro Pozzani”, she earned an MA in Philosophy at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. She studied abroad both in Germany and the USA, where she worked as TA and cultural liaison. She started working at Umbra Institute in December 2022.
Elvira is passionate about education, social innovation, and politics.
Student Services Assistant
Ashley IpakchiUS OfficeDirector of University Relations & Enrollment Management
US OfficeDirector of University Relations & Enrollment Management
Gianna PintoUS Office StaffEnrollment Management & University Relations
Gianna is the Enrollment Management and Institutional Relations Assistant in the ISI Abroad US Office. She is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with degrees in Global & International Studies and Spanish. She is native to the Philadelphia area and loves dogs, Penn State football and food festivals!
US Office StaffEnrollment Management & University Relations
Tatum MarinoUS Office Staff Custom Programs and Marketing
Tatum is a graduate of Arcadia University with a double major in Graphic Design and Media & Communications. She loves dogs, traveling, and finding new spots to hike.
US Office Staff Custom Programs and Marketing