History of La Casa Italiana
La Casa Italiana is the only residence at Stanford dedicated to the study and celebration of Italian culture and language. It opened in the fall of 1976, but the original idea dates back to 1975. After recognizing that there was support on campus for an Italian language theme house, the late Annamaria Napolitano (a senior lecturer in the French and Italian Dept.) brainstormed the details with a group of interested students and Casa was born.
Residents of Casa attend a seminar on Italian culture that includes lectures on history, religion, regional differences, gender relations, film, music, art, and sport. In addition, there are house outings to the opera, to Italian restaurants and to Napa Valley. The house also stages a number of pizzerias (usually one a quarter) when the kitchen and dining area is transformed into a pizza restaurant for an evening.
Finishing the entire first-year Italian series qualifies a potential resident for priority in the house, and as a result, the majority of the house has a background in the Italian language. This is in evidence at dinner once a week, when Casa has Tavola Italiana. At Tavola, Italian is the only language spoken and lecturers in the Italian Department often dine with us. A member of the Italian Department lives in the house as a Graduate Theme Affiliate and, in cooperation with the Academic Theme Associate and the house staff, is responsible for most of the activities mentioned above.