Melissa Muldoon

Owner and Creative Director Studentessa Matta Melissa Muldoon
Melissa Muldoon is la studentessa matta the crazy linguist! She promotes the study of Italian language and culture through the blog: Studentessa Matta and the podcast Tutti Matti per l’Italiano. She began the blog to improve her language skills and to connect with other language learners. Through the blog she explores language and culture in a fun and light way, as well as shares language learning tips. The podcast is presented in Italian and features stories, clips and conversations with native Italian speakers. Melissa also now partners with Italian Schools in Italy and co-leads small group language immersions, as well as organizes individualized Homestay Language Vacations with Italian teachers in Italy.
Jul 13, 2018
Retired Certified Public Accountant and Chief Financial Officer
I found the perfect homestay and Italian immersion experience in Bergamo, Italy through Melissa's website. My instructor was excellent and when she described the process she went through to be recommended by Studentessa Matta, it was clear that Melissa had done a thorough job.

Grazie mille, Melissa!

Roger Squier
Jul 8, 2018
VP of Marketing, Houston Grand Opera Guild
Montepulciano Il Sasso Program 2018 has been the best trip of my life! and this is despite the fact, that my flight was substantially delayed and i arrived 24 hours later, and my luggage has been lost for 5 days!
From the moment i heard Melissa's podcast, i felt i found my kindred sprit. An incredible woman with infinite love to Italy and Italian language.
This program was worth every cent i spent and even more. Everything was so thoughtful, not only we had interesting excursions but also trips to bio farm, cooking lessons and wine tasting. The excursions, views and dinners were fabulous!
Il Sasso school deserves separate recognition - teachers, program, studies - all significantly exceeded my expectations. It was a great balance of speaking, grammar, listening and writing. School is located in the center and was only 10 mins walk through beautiful Montepulciano.
Our apartments were like rooms in Palazzo. Decorated beautifully and stylishly, with fantastic garden accessible from all rooms. we had kitchen, washing appliances, dishes, library with albums about Italy and Tuscany.
Melissa is warm, welcoming, attentive, caring, with fantastic sense if humor, light-hearted. She created wonderful atmosphere in the group and i've been enjoying every second of interacting with each of them!
Even though i've been to Italy 8 times before that trip, it was a completely new experience of immersing in language and culture. The best thing was definitely - that we were treated almost like locals and that we have met wonderful, open and friendly people!!!
I recommend this program to EVERYBODY who is in love with Italy.
Thank you Melissa, this was a dream come true!!
Mar 15, 2018
Following my return from Italy, my heart remains full of bliss. I am profoundly grateful to Melissa for suggesting that I spend my sabbatical time with Elena in Bergamo. My time in Italy surpassed my expectations and hopes in every way imaginable. Elena is the loveliest of hosts and an exceptional teacher...patient, enthusiastic, and encouraging. As Melissa promised, Elena is extremely knowledgeable about the history and art of northern Italy. I felt so wonderfully blessed every single day...blessed with delicious food, lovely and comfortable accommodations, excellent instruction, outstanding art and architecture, extraordinary vistas, and generous friendship. When people ask me about my experience, I find myself almost speechless, unable to articulate in a way that fully captures the beautiful days I spent exploring Bergamo, Brescia, Monza, Lake Como, and Milan with Elena. Every day she surprised me with something wonderful!! I cannot wait to go back!
Dec 26, 2017
Financial Manager, State of Montana
I have participated in three of melissa‘s programs in Italy. They have all been fascinating and fun. Melissa took great care to find activities that appealed to all the different ages and personalities of the people who participated in the programs. Every day is filled with opportunity to learn about Italy’s beautiful art, architecture, language and culture. Melissa makes you feel like you were a part of Italy and not just tourist. I hope to join Melissa on many more of her language and culture programs.
Oct 3, 2017
Melissa organized a wonderful trip to Arezzo. The accommodations were great! Our B&B was well located and Barbara and her father were lovely hosts who really went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. The language school was also wonderful. Paula the director has an excellent staff . I very much enjoyed our daily classes that were well taught by fun and engaging teachers. Melissa planed interesting daily activites as well as fantastic meals. We were certainly never hungry! Bravo Melissa e mille graze for an unforgettable trip!
Oct 3, 2017
Student
I had an absolutely fantastic time in Arezzo! Everyday was special. The 4 hour classes were fun and never boring. Paola is a great teacher who knows how to keep beginners rolling and interacting with the language. And every afternoon we had something to look forward to-- a stroll in the market place, a visit with a local jewelry maker, a cooking class and dinner, a visit to the local cathedral, the famous Jousting Ceremony. In addition we had instructors giving us details that were always interesting and enriching. The group of 8 was perfect as we got to know each other and have lots of fun together, especially eating greet Italian food and drinking wine together! This is the experience for anyone who loves ITALY and wants to learn more about its language, culture, food and art history!
Sep 30, 2017
retired teacher
I enjoyed and got a lot out of my two weeks in Melissa's program in Arezzo. It was a good mix of planned activities, classroom learning, and free time. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced there is a lot here for you. Enjoy!
Jul 1, 2017
My husband Art and I were 2 of the lucky participants. If I had to pick a highlight from this adventure it would most certainly be the people! Our group, our teachers , our guides…Of course the venues were wonderful, hotel could not be more comfortable, Inviting, beautiful and perfectly located. The school is in a nutshell , engaging, enthralling, the location, building, teachers and teaching methods were a delightful surprise. And then there’s Lucca. A hidden gem. An unexpected taste of Tuscany ( literally and figuratively) without the overwhelming tourist onslaught expected in summer. The food is exquisite, the streets, the history, the locals, the WALL! The wall people! A medieval bulwark disguised as a park surrounding the entire city helped us work off the amazing food, cooked for, and, by us in amazing restaurants and organic wineries. But Melissa is the central force behind this success. The perfect hostess with boundless energy, bubbling enthusiasm, and attention to detail is the key to success. Thank you Melissa, for an amazing experience.
Nov 6, 2016
This is a wonderful trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Lots of activities and immersion into the culture of Bella Italia. After returning home, I vowed to continue Italian lessons. Thanks Melissa and Lucca Italian School!!🇮🇹🇮🇹
Oct 29, 2016
The Arezzo trip this past September was a thoroughly delightful time! In addition to the stellar school we attended in Arezzo, Melissa organized a multitude of cultural events in the area: visits to a goldsmith, cooking class, a trip to a centuries-old abbey, wine-tasting several times, an excursion to a small town nearby with its famed textile factory, Cortona and Siena, as well as many churches and museums in the town of Arezzo. Perhaps the best experience was being there for the giostra and the festivities surrounding that, and being made to feel part of the Italian community with all its celebrations of life. Melissa's knowledge of Italian, art and history all combine to make this a richly rewarding experience. I returned with a deep appreciation of this lovely and thriving Tuscan region, and can't wait to go back next September. Highly recommended!
Oct 9, 2016
Melissa did a wonderful job leading our recent experience in Arezzo. The company was great and the food delicious. The Cultura Italiana Arezzo Scuola welcomed us with open arms - we learned about the language and culture and made several interesting local tours.
Sep 30, 2016
A lover of things Italian who enjoys learning and never met a cat she didn't like.
Having just returned from a learning adventure in the Maremma (Tuscany), I can only say "grazie mille" to you, Melissa, for arranging for homestays on your site and most especially for the one I've experienced with Virginia Villani. It was far more than I'd hoped for: I've started to dream in Italian, thanks to two weeks of language immersion; I've seen a part of Italy into which I would not usually venture; and I've had the chance to go beyond more usual tourist experience, to share in daily family life. My thanks to you both for making this possible.
Jul 23, 2016
I loved how Melissa and the Lucca Italian School melded together Italian lessons with fun cooking classes, wine tastings and multi-course, delicious meals. This trip to Lucca created wonderful memories for me—great people, passionate teachers and beautiful sites.
Jun 21, 2016
Retired
My wife and i spent a week in Torre Anunziata, close to Naples, with Antonella and Francesco and Mara. We had a great time and spoke and learned a lot of Italian. We felt a part of the neapolitan culture and felt like we experienced this part of Italy in a ideal manner.
May 5, 2016
I have just returned from a fabulous short stay in Bergamo with Elena. She was so patient and kind and gave me lots of encouragement to speak Italian. I feel I am becoming more confident and really making progress.
We had a wonderful time visiting the town and learning about its Medieval history. I loved the beautiful views, beautiful countryside and especially speaking Italian with Elena. I can't wait to go back!
Thank you Melissa! Thank you Elena!
Dec 9, 2015
Good morning Melissa, Thank you so much for posting the drone video of Florence. It brought tears to my eyes. Mi manca Firenze, Benedetta e Giovanni! The memories of that wonderful month I spent with them will be with me always. They are expert teachers and sharing their daily lives (along with their cats Susie and Elio) was a once in a lifetime experience. The daily lessons, the trips to the market, the rides into the countryside, the wine festival in Chianti, I could go on and on. Their generosity and sincere caring completed the experience for me. I don’t know if I will return again one day, but I do know, these memories have found a place in my heart forever!
Oct 16, 2015
Designer
I spent ten days in Rome with Melissa and artist Kelly Medford for the Italian language and sketching workshop during the summer of 2105. Melissa and Kelly coordinated a trip filled with Italian culture, art, food and and history resulting in a truly immersive Roman experience.

Melissa found great housing in a quiet neighborhood close to the Colosseum. Weekday mornings were spent in language classes at the Scud’it Scuola d’Italiano Roma. Teachers were excellent and encouraging at every level of ability. Afternoons were spent sketching in many of Rome's hidden parks, as well as history lessons and other excursions, including a walk on the old Roman wall. Unique evenings included dinners by the Tiber River, a trip to Frascati outside of Rome and a picnic in the Borghese gardens. Melissa also coordinated optional tours of the Vatican Museum, a DaVinci Code tour and Shakespeare at the Globe Theater. Melissa has an infectious enthusiasm for all things italian - We lived like Romans and it was a once in a lifetime experience!
Oct 5, 2015
I've Just returned from an amazing adventure in Lucca coordinated by Melissa Muldoon and Studentessa Matta. Her blog educated and inspired me to join her and an awesome group of people in Lucca this past September.
While there I attended Lucca Italian School and began to learn how to speak Italian. The teachers were so kind and giving of there talents. Whether it was Angelo singing and playing songs on his guitar and accordian or Ava and her crew teaching us how to make amazing Italian fare. Stephanie our language instructor was patient as she guided us through classes with grace and humor. They also served as hospitality guides. They escorted us through many guided journeys educating us on culture, music and teaching us culinary skills.
Through theses events Melissa and her blog have gifted me with new friends and a passion for all things Italian.
I cannot be more grateful and excited for my next journey with her.
Oct 4, 2015
Registered Nurse
I have been following Melissa's blog, for approximately five years. Every time she came back from a Lucca tour, she would post the most fascinating pictures. I knew I had to go! Melissa, along with the teachers from the Lucca Italian School had planned the most exciting tour! While we had Italian language classes in the morning, after lunch, meant, tours, cooking classes, wine tasting, etc. The teachers from the Lucca school were always with us. It was TOTAL IMMERSION! In addition to the Italian language, the teachers provided very interesting cultural information regarding various towns, buildings, and Italian history. The group we were with was awesome! We had so much fun on the tour----I hated to see it end! My compliments for a job well done, Melissa!
Oct 2, 2015
Teacher, retired
My husband and I participated in the wonderful Lucca 2015 trip. Normally, we travel on our own, but we found traveling with Studentessa Matta well worth it. Melissa puts together an imaginative, informative, and fun package around the language learning experience. Cultural tours, wine tasting and cooking lessons, biking, a concert: there was lots to do but also free time for a nap or independent exploration. We can highly recommend the Lucca Italian School, the third such school in Italy we have attended. The teachers are welcoming, and they provide a terrific mix of language fundamentals, cultural information, and engaging activities. Through the Studentessa Matta Blog we made connections with another language teacher so we could continue our language learning experience beyond Lucca. Melissa provides great opportunities to read and listen to Italian on her blog and has assembled a whole network of learning opportunities on-line and in Italy.
Grazie, Melissa, e complimenti!
Oct 1, 2015
Accountant, State of Montana
Melissa took great care to find very interesting and fun activities that appealed to all of the different ages and personalities of the people who attended The Lucca School of Italian and Studessa Matta Language program. She is very bright and fun. She was attentive to each of us. All of this and still highly professional. I recommend!
Oct 1, 2015
Italophile
About 5 years ago, I decided to audit Italian language classes at the University of Kansas. Not long after that, a friend told me about Melissa Muldoon's blog, the Studentessa Matta, which I have followed since then. Thanks to Melissa and her love of the Italian language and culture, I have just returned from a fantastic experience in Lucca as a participant in Melissa's most recent group adventure in Italy. The staff and teachers at the Lucca Italian School gave us a warm welcome, quickly sorted us into appropriate levels for instruction, and then the fun began! The teachers provided plenty of challenging exercises, games, worksheets, and listening experiences for four hours each week day. Fellow students were from all over the world, so the Italian language was the common denominator. It was just the kind of language immersion I needed to gain confidence and improve my ability to communicate! Best of all, Melissa and the folks at the Lucca Italian School treated us like family and provided many additional experiences including dinners, cooking classes, Italian movie night, and trips to Pisa and the Cinque Terre.
Oct 1, 2015
Retired Assistant City Manager
Melissa,

I just wanted to let you know that I am having an absolutely FABULOUS experience here in Maremma with Virginia Villani. I am so grateful to have found your website and to have, in turn, received the recommendation for Virginia.

She is a wonderful teacher (excellent lesson plans, the right level for me, judicious correction of my mistakes, and fun!) and also a terrific hostess. Each day we have gone on incredible excursions to this magical part of Tuscany. I keep pinching myself thinking, "How did I find this fabulous opportunity!"

Also, her family is very warm and welcoming and their home is terrific. I am really enjoying my room with a view to the lovely Tuscan countryside.

Thanks very much for your website and for arranging my homestay with Virginia. I am deeply grateful.

With best regards,

Barbara Powell

p.s. Did I mention the FABULOUS homecooked food?
Aug 23, 2015
Italian student for over 5 years, living in California
I have been stydying Italian for over 5 years and find the the blog by Studentessa Matta to be a great learning and review tool while being interesting and covering many topics. I think the blog is of a very high quality.

In 2015 I arranged for a two week Homestay with Elena Arezio and I had an extremely positive and memorable experience. I found the information for Elena on the Studentessa Matta website. Melissa answered my inital questions and then put me in contact with Elena in order to make final arrangements. The planning and the trip were problem free and I had confidence in my arrangements because they were based on Melissa's website information.

I spent two weeks in Italy with Elena, with time split between Bergamo and Lake Como. Elena is a very talented and detailed teacher, who helped me focus in on areas in which I would repeat mistakes. I found the lessons extemely helpful and they prepared me to raise my Italian to the next level. I enjoyed living with her family and going on outings to Brescia, Bergamo Alta, Varenna and Belagio.

I defnitely recommend the Studentessa Matta Blog by Melissa for students of Italian.

I also highly recommend an Italian Homestay with Elena Arezio.
Aug 16, 2015
Traveling with Melissa on our recent trip to Rome was enlightening, fascinating and most of all, FUN! Melissa's command of Italian helped us all to enjoy the myriad of activities and situations we enjoyed, from school and art classes to dinners, tours, traveling around Rome, meeting her many friends and having a chance to practice Italian with them. It was all extremely well organized and appropriate to our mixed level of appreciating the language and culture, and Melissa's expertise allowed us all to relax and have the best trip I can remember taking. Every single day was an adventure, and our small group enjoyed each other and discovering Rome together. Our language school, Scud'It, was great and I think my Italian improved during the 12 days we were there. Kelly, our art teacher, is extraordinary, both as artist and teacher, and I can't wait to go back and do more art with her. It's been a month since I've returned, but I still think fondly of the trip and the wonderful people I met and spent time with. If you are considering traveling with Melissa, I strongly encourage you to do it! You'll have a trip to remember, filled with experiences that you would not have had otherwise.

Partner Network