Team

Team – stories, background and qualifications

VALERIO GRUESSNER

As a child I was fascinated by Peter Pan and his “Neverland”. I believe that this is because I was born into a bilingual family (with a German father and an Italian mother). During my undergraduate studies I lived and visited many places around the world – Bologna, Berlin and Sydney have all been my home. I realized during this time that to travel and get a real feel for a country and a foreign culture, you have to know the language. It is for this reason that I strongly believe in the mission of Solemar Academy. A young school, curious and open-minded. A little bit like Sicily, which is, of course, our own beautiful “Neverland”!

GIULIA CINQUEGRANI

Ciao, I’m Julia. I have taught Italian to foreigners for many years at Solemar. Although my hair and my eyes might confuse you about my origins, I swear they are 100% Sicilian. My children claim to have a very young mother, and I think it is really true. I attended high school in Cefalu and studied at the Department of Humanities in Palermo. Teaching Italian to foreigners is wonderful because it gives me the opportunity to travel the world while staying on firm ground.

ELIANA DOMINA

I am Eliana, born and raised in Cefalu. I love the sights, the sea, and the pizza. I majored in modern literature because I really love literature. Working at Solemar Academy I learned that transmitting the linguistic and cultural experience of a country goes both ways. It’s wonderful to see how one can grow with one’s students.

SIMONA FEDERICO

I was born and grew up in Palermo where I graduated with a degree in Modern Languages. I have always had many interests: reading, cooking (I’am a complete foodie and love cooking!), traveling but I also enjoy visiting places on my own doorstep. In 2008, during one of the many European experiences, I came across the wonderful world of teaching Italian to foreigners: it was love at first sight!
I like the cultural “tandem” that you can create during the lessons, it is a continuous discovery, sometimes even of oneself!

MARCO IACONO

I was born and grew up between Cefalù and Palermo, where I qualified in Performing Arts. I have always cultivated my greatest passions, like cinema, music and literature. Since working at Solemar I have realized how rewarding and stimulating it is to teach Italian to foreigners, both on a cultural and personal level. Teaching Italian is not simply the presentation of grammar and syntax, but it is also an opportunity to present students with a different perspective, an alternative “frame of mind”.

GIUSEPPE ZAFFIRO

Growing up in this unique country has taught me the beauty and importance of dealing with different cultures and made me curious. As a result of this, I see teaching Italian as a great opportunity to learn something new every day. Literature, cinema and music are my lifelong passions. That’s why I’m alway keen to incorporate songs, literature in my lessons, and to make use of the wonderful films that have made Sicily and Italy so great worldwide. When you come to visit us, please recommend me a book or an artist you love so much and you will make me happy!