The faculty body at Florence University of the Arts represents diverse and dynamic academic and professional backgrounds. Full-time, part-time, and adjunct professors gather every academic session at FUA to share their knowledge and an experiential approach to learning. The following profiles are a cross-section of the overall faculty body at FUA.


Francesca Bocci Benucci: Francesca Bocci Benucci has collaborated with sQuola Center for Italian and Cultural Studies since 2010. She is currently a full-time professor Bocci Benucci completed her undergraduate and master-level studies in Foreign Languages at the University of Florence. She is qualified to teach Italian to foreigners through the DITALS certification program through the University of Siena. From 2009-2012, Bocci Benucci managed the organization and production of FUA’s yearly academic conferences in collaboration with SUNY Stony Brook. She is a member of ILSA - Insegnanti Italiano Lingua Seconda Associati, a professional association for Italian language instructors.


Federico Cagnucci: Federico Cagnucci: Federico Cagnucci is a part-time instructor at the J School for Journalism, Communications, and Publishing and at the School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts. He completed his undergraduate and graduate-level studies in History of Art and Visual Communication (DAMS) at the University of Bologna. His areas of specialty focus on design for the publishing industry and graphic design. As a design professional, he has worked on projects for high-profile clients such as the Florentine publisher Giunti, fashion companies Ferragamo and Ermanno Scervino, the municipality of Florence, and the Tenute dell’Ornellaia wine producer. He oversees the design processes of FUA’s campus press projects including book and conference publications and special projects such as FUA literature presented at the James Beard Foundation in NYC.


Silvia Mancini: Silvia Mancini is a full-time faculty member at the School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts. She graduated from the University of Florence with studies completed in Economy and Commerce at the undergraduate and master level. Upon completion of studies, Mancini combined her business background with the creative sectors of graphic design, photography, videography, and web design. After collaborating with several companies (1999-2010) as a web designer and graphic and videomaker for high-profile media clients, Mancini joined the DIVA graphic design and video faculty in 2010. She provides the technical support for academic courses with video projects involving the local community/economy.


Simonetta Ferrini: Simonetta Ferrini is a full-time professor for the School of Arts and Sciences. She completed her undergraduate and master-level studies in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Florence. She also attended a three-year master-level program in Oriental and Comparative Philosophy at the Scuola Superiore di Filosofia Orientale e Comparativa (Rimini) organized by the University of Urbino. In 2000, she obtained qualification to teach English language and literature within the Italian state system of middle and high schools. Ferrini is specialized in US and Grand Tour literature, and contemporary Italian writers such as Italo Calvino, and world religions with a focus on Eastern religions and philosophy. She participated in a teaching exchange programme of Italian language at UNC Chapel Hill (2001), presented a collaborative literary-visual project with photography colleague David Weiss at the NeMLA conference at Rutgers University (2011), and is currently conducting research at Florence University of the Arts.


Lucia Giardino: Lucia Giardino is a full-time professor at the School of Arts and Sciences since 2011. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Art History from the University of Florence, a master degree in Management and Administration of Museums and Cultural Institutions from the University of Florence, and a postgraduate degree in Contemporary Art from the University of Siena. She is a Art History PhD candidate at the Gabriele D’Annunzio University of Chieti. Giardino was awarded the Harlem Studio Fellowship (Montrasioarte, NYC) in 2010 and has curated many exhibitions and art residencies at locations such as the EX3 (Florence) and Centro Arti Visive Peschiera (Pesaro), as well as the exhibitions of FUA-supported residence program F_AIR undertaken by several international artists. She is the co-founder of the GAP Guilmi Art Project residence program based in Abruzzo, Italy. Her areas of instruction range from medieval and Renaissance art history to contemporary art and gallery management; from 2011-2013 she assisted with the management and coordination of fine arts studies. Giardino is a fervent supporter of critical thinking and of artistic practices as tools to decode the panorama of today’s world. Her method consists of deconstructing the myth of Florence as the “Renaissance cradle” in order to start a constructive process of re-reading the art of the past as well as understanding the art of today.


Tiziana Landra: Tiziana Landra joined the FUA faculty in 2007 and is currently a full-time faculty member at sQuola Center for Cultural and Italian Studies. She obtained her undergraduate, master-level, and a post-graduate specialisation in Art History from the University of Pisa. Her areas of teaching expertise address art history and contemporary Italian language, culture, history, and society. She has presented at academic conferences organized by the University of Pisa and FUA-SUNY Stony Brook. Landra also curated a special conference dedicated to art and dance (Rauschenberg, Cunningham, Brown) sponsored by the University of Pisa and Associazione Movimentoinactor. She currently collaborates with Lo Schermo dell’Arte Film Festival (Florence).


Ivka Markovic: Ivka Markovic is an adjunct lecturer at the School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts. Her BA in Graphic Design and Studio Art was completed at the University of Saint Francis (USA) and her master-level studies were fulfilled in Graphic Design from the Florence Design Academy. She joined the FUA faculty in 2012 to teach in the areas of graphic design, digital illustration, and visual communication. She has worked as a graphic designer in the US and Italy. In addition to her course commitments she also works with company clients in Italy for promotional and brand presence strategies.


Isabella Martini: Isabella Martini is a part-time faculty member at FUA’s J School for Journalism, Communications, and Publishing studies. She completed her undergraduate and graduate-level studies in Literary and Translation Studies at the University of Pisa, where she also obtained a PhD in Modern Foreign Languages. She is professionally active as a translator, editor, and literary agent, and collaborates on an on-going basis with the University of Cagliari as Professor of English translation, and with publishing companies including Giunti Editore, Felici Editore, and Edizioni Mnemosyne, while she has collaborated at various levels with the publishing companies Thèsis Contents, and ETS Edizioni. She also is involved in the translation areas for TED. She is a member of the Italian Association for the Studies of Literatures in English (AISLI) and the Italian Association of Canadian Studies (AISC) where she has presented academic papers, and the The Italian Association of English Studies (AIA) and the European Society for the Study ofEnglish (ESSE). At FUA she holds courses in the areas of publishing and communication studies.


Cecilia Ricci: Cecilia Ricci has been teaching full-time at Apicius Int’l School of Hospitality since 2001. She completed her undergraduate and master-level studies in Architecture at the University of Florence. Ricci comes from a longtime experience in the areas of Italian regional cuisine and culture including specialized topics such as the mediterranean diet and Renaissance cuisine. She has lectured at Eastern Illinois University as a visiting professor from 2004 to 2012.


Marta Russo: Marta Russo joined the FUA faculty in 2010 and is a full-time faculty member at sQuola Center for Cultural and Italian Studies. She completed her undergraduate and master-level studies in Translation from the University of Bologna in Forlì, and also fulfilled a 1-year post-graduate program in Editorial Translation through the tuttoEUROPA Education Agency in Turin. Russo is a professional freelance translator (English and Spanish to Italian) and has completed several book translations for Italian publishers such as Barbès Editore, Edizioni Clichy, and ilSaggiatore. She was a founding member of the former editorial services group Aula 10 Traduzioni. Russo participated as a key member of the FUA editorial team who produced innovative course material regarding experiential methods to communication in Italian. She also collaborates on an on-going basis with Toscana&Chianti news, a tourism-based periodical in Tuscany.


Nicoletta Salomon: Nicoletta Salomon is an adjunct lecturer for the School of Fine Arts (Arts and Sciences) and the School of Journalism, Communication, and Publishing. She completed her undergraduate studies in Classics, with a specialization in Ancient Greek History, at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa where she also completed a Ph.D. and post-doc program in Greek Antiquities. Contemporaneously, she completed undergraduate studies in Classical Literature at the University of Pisa. She subsequently carried out research in Ancient History and Culture and in Aesthetics in various European and American universities (Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, Geneva, Tübingen, Leiden, Princeton University Graduate School), in addition to Italy at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, the Universities of Pisa and Venice, and for the Italian National Research Council. Salomon has translated Hermann Hesse, Paul Ricoeur, Roger Fry and Göran Therborn; she has also published several essays on the ancient world and aesthetic philosophy. Amongst her published books, her novel Questa non è una storia d’amore was a finalist at the 2005 Premio Calvino, La zattera di mimesis: I greci, la creazione, l'arte (Venice 2007) won the Castiglioncello philosophy prize in 2002, and in 2012 she published the novel Non chiedermi niente. Salomon has studied drawing and painting at the Zeicheninstitut of the University of Tübingen with the painter Frido Hohberger. At present, she collaborates as an artist with the Immaginaria Arti Visive Gallery (Florence-Berlin).


Jacopo Santini: Jacopo Santini has taught at the School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts since 2010. He completed his undergraduate and master-level studies in Law at the University of Florence. As a professional photographer, he works in the fields of reportage, landscape, cultural, restoration, and socially-minded photographic coverage. From 1999-2001 he served as a photographer for the archeological headquarters of Tuscany. Notable projects involving archeology and restoration include coverage of Etruscan finds for a Palazzo Grassi (Venice, 2000) exhibition and for the Minerva di Arezzo restoration project (2001). Other projects include la Via Volterrana (Tuscany), the homeless community in the San Frediano Quarter of Florence, the Pergola theater in Florence, and the Christian diaspora in the Middle East. He is currently concentrating on the Middle East through coverage of Christian minorities in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine; a Ukraine-based project, as well as a joint project with Romeo Di Loreto on immigrants from Abruzzo in Canada. He is also involved in a video project concerning neighborhoods constructed during Fascism in collaboration with Nic Wynia. His full-time teaching at FUA covers diverse areas including both the digital and classic forms of photography.


Andrea Trapani: Andrea Trapani serves as the Executive Chef and full-time culinary faculty member since 2006. He oversees the culinary and baking departments at Apicius International School of Hospitality. Molecular cuisine and scientifically-inclined gastronomy are a personal and professional passion for Trapani. He has produced several international events that include 8 appearances at the James Beard Foundation, the International Celebrity Guest Chef event held in Anchorage 2006, and 5 gastronomic events held in Washington State University. Trapani has been invited twice by the University of Missouri for seminars and special events and he was invited by Johnson County Community College to contribute his culinary expertise for the institution’s faculty development. He has received the Star Diamond award in 2007-2008 at the five-star Hotel Santa Croce in Florence and has participated in the festival of sciences in Genova, supported by chemist Peter Barham, with a demonstration of cutting-edge techniques in molecular cooking. Andrea is also the official Chef of the A.C.F Fiorentina A-series soccer team, and is responsible for the compilation of the menu in agreement with D. Paolo Manetti (A.C.F Fiorentina physician) and for the organization of the national and international kitchen brigade for the A.C.F Fiorentina soccer club in Italy and abroad. He makes occasional appearances yearly for a cooking show on the Italian cable network SKY. Andrea is the Gastronomical Consultant of recipes and video development for the well-known wine brand Santa Cristina of the Marchesi Antinori group.


Giulio Vinci: Giulio Vinci is a certified architect and Chair of the School of Interior Design, Environmental Architecture and Sustainability and the School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts. Vinci completed his undergraduate and master-level studies in Architecture from the University of Florence and was officially registered as a professionally qualified architect by the Albo Professionale dell’Ordine degli Architetti in 1992. Prior to joining FUA in 2006, he served as a teaching assistant at the architecture department at the University of Florence, collaborated with various architecture studios active in the Italian territory, and completed freelance design and architecture projects in both residential and commercial settings. He has contributed his design efforts to building projects for the European Parliament (Bruxelles), San Silvestro Archeological Park (Campiglia Marittima), the Mayer pediatric hospital (Florence), and the surgery department of the Careggi hospital (Florence). He teaches on a part-time basis architecture and interior design courses at FUA.


David Weiss: David Weiss has taught as a photography faculty member at FUA since 2006. He currently oversees digital photography studies at the School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts, serves as the Curator of the Corridoio Fiorentino gallery at the DIVA campus, and teaches as a full-time faculty member. Weiss completed his undergraduate studies in History at the University of Chicago and continued his studies in Photojournalism at the International Center of Photography in NYC. During his studies he assisted with projects of the studios of Mary Ellen Mark and Irving Penn. Post-studies he has worked in diverse photography fields including corporate, architectural (comprehensive photographic survey of NYC buildings in construction, 1988), city government (Mayors Koch and Dinkins, NYC), and NGOs (UN FAO, Habitat for Humanity NYC, CARE). He has worked with Orenda Films, River One Films in NYC, Fandango, Cinecittà, and Cattleya. Weiss has shown his work at solo and collective exhibitions in the US and Italy. An interdisciplinary academic project based on Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities with FUA colleague Simonetta Ferrini was presented at the NeMLA conference at Rutgers University in 2011. He is currently involved in on-going projects on boxing with a focus on women fighters and a close study of Italian and European welter-weight champion Leonard Bundu, and a photographic case study of the working poor in the US.



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