Students see their study of Italian come to life beyond the classroom through regular co-curricular programming. Study abroad offers the best opportunity to learn the language and experience the culture, and it is strongly encouraged.

Awards and Scholarships

All students of Italian Studies are eligible to be nominated for these awards and to apply for the following scholarships.


Holy Cross

The Edna Grzebien Prize is awarded for excellence and commitment in the study of world languages.

Maurizio Vannicelli Prize in Italian Studies is awarded for the best essay on a theme of Italian literature or culture.


AATI Essay Contest: The American Association of Teachers of Italian annually awards two outstanding undergraduate college students for an outstanding essay in Italian language, culture, literature, and cinema.


National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Scholarships

Agnes E. Vaghi Scholarship isawarded to an outstanding female Italian American undergraduate student majoring in Italian, English, literature or journalism.

Angela Gajarsa Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Italian American student who is an incoming freshman. This student must demonstrate financial need.

Caroline Guarini Memorial Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Italian American student (undergraduate or graduate) majoring in music or a music-related field. This student must originally be from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.

Emanuele Gianturco Memorial Scholarship is awarded to outstanding Italian American students (undergraduate and graduate). The student must be a first-generation college student and demonstrate financial need.

Frank D. Stella Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Italian American undergraduate student majoring in business or a business-related field.

Frank J. Corsaro Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Italian American student who is majoring in political science, law (either in law school or declared prelaw in undergraduate school) or medicine (either in medical school or majoring in a medical related field in undergraduate school). This student must demonstrate financial need.

Giargiari Medical Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Italian American medical student (either in medical school or declared premed in undergraduate school) with a GPA of 3.5 (or the equivalent) or higher.


Pescosolido Family Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships for study at accredited and acceptable educational institutions in Italy.

Italian Honor Society

Gamma Kappa Alpha, the Italian National Honor Society, recognizes the academic achievements of student majors and minors who have devoted much of their undergraduate career to the study of Italian language, literature, and culture.

Community Resources

The Worcester and Boston areas offer several community resources, including museums, educational institutions, and cultural societies, which provide opportunities to learn more about Italian language and culture.

Worcester Area

Boston Area


woman in a chair with a migrphone in front of a screen

Dacia Maraini, a celebrated Italian writer, has visited Holy Cross several times. 

The Italian Studies Program offers a range of co-curricular programming designed to engage students more deeply in their study of Italian language, literature and culture beyond the classroom. 

Throughout the year, students may attend regular events, such as the coffee hour and Italian table, along with occasional special events, such as film festivals, lectures, and dinners. 

studnets serving pasta

Students help themselves to pasta during the annual Pasta Olympics event. 

Our most popular event is the Pasta Olympics, a pasta-cooking competition among students that takes place every spring. 

Radio Libera

Founded in 2007 by Giovanni Spani, Radio Liberabroadcasts once a week, usually on Tuesday nights (FM 88.1); students actively participate in the radio show, along with our Foreign Language Assistants. While playing music, reciting a poem, or conversing with others, they practice and improve their Italian language skills and broaden their knowledge of Italian culture. 

Study Abroad

study abroad

Florence and Bologna, Italy

Students of Italian are strongly encouraged to study abroad. Holy Cross offers rigorous programs at two prestigious Italian universities, one in Florence and the other in Bologna, where students enroll in a variety of academic courses. Students significantly improve their proficiency in the Italian language and deepen their understanding of Italian culture through firsthand experiences. 

Learn more about studying abroad in Bologna and Florence.