Francesca Barbini holds a law degree from the University of Florence; the focus of her thesis work was in labor law. In 2017 she passed the bar but chose not to be an attorney.
Francesca has been working at the Accademia dell’Arte since 2015. She started as administrative assistant to the then Managing Director. Since 2021, Francesca is the Compliance and Operations Manager. She is best known among the Accademia dell’Arte students as the Visa Queen.
Compliance and Operations Manager
Monica Capacci received a Master of Arts in American Literature, Summa cum Laude, and an under graduate degree in Art History, both from the University of Siena. After graduation she worked for several research project sponsored by the University. She also worked as professional translator for publishing companies, magazines and websites.
Monica was visiting professor at Colorado College, Colorado Springs CO, where she taught Italian language for two years. She then moved to the University of Rochester, Rochester NY, where she taught the Italian culture course.
Going back to Italy, Monica taught the English language course ‘Translation Techniques from English into Italian, and Italian as a foreign language course for the University of Siena, Italy. 2000-2004 and again 2020-2021. While teaching for the University of Siena she was serving as Assistant Director of the University of Rochester Italian Studies in Tuscany and taught Italian classes, cultural compendium courses and art history courses. She also taught Italian classes, led Italian independent studies and gave a series of lectures on art history, Italian culture, history and literature for Texas A&M university Santa Chiara study center in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy.
Monica has worked as Director of Admissions & Student Services, and as Coordinator of the Italian Language Courses at the Accademia dell’Arte since September 2008.
Director of Admissions & Student Services
Maria Cerbasi was born in Torre del Greco, Naples. She graduated in Economics from the Università Tor Vergata in Rome.
She volunteered for the Servizio Civile Nazionale taking part in a fair trade project with Oxfam. She also collaborated with an independent online newspaper, Die Brüche, for which she wrote several political and economic articles.
Maria has worked at the Accademia since 2012. She started as an Administrative Assistant. Over the years she has deepened her expertise of US Finance and Banking. Since 2021 Maria is Finance and Accounting Manager. She acts as secretary for the Board of Directors. Since 2022 Maria is also in charge of the Marketing & Social Media for the Accademia dell’Arte. She is an amateur photographer and out of her deep love for the environment, Maria develops ways to implement recycling and energy saving programs at the Accademia. She was also a member of the CrisisART Festival Collective.
Finance & Accounting Manager
Riccardo, originally from the Philippines moved to Italy with his mother in 1990. He lived in Rome working as a jack-of-all-trades until he moved to Arezzo in 2013 where he worked as a Suez Chef. In 2014 in joined the Accademia dell’Arte in the capacity of cook, electrician and inventor. He quickly became one of the main pillars of the school. Riccardo remembers vividly seeing the very first students arrive at villa Godiola.
Dr. Peter Gess has served on the Accademia dell’Arte Board of Trustees since 2012, and as Chair of the
Board since 2019. He has had a long career in education abroad, including serving as Director of
International Programs at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, for fifteen years. Peter also serves as
Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee for the Board of Directors of International Student
Exchange Programs (ISEP), a non-profit, study-abroad provider with more than 300 university and
college partners in over 50 countries.
Peter is professor of politics and environmental students at Hendrix where he teaches courses in public
administration and policy. In addition to international programs director, he has also served as Associate
Provost for Engaged Learning, Director of the Odyssey Program (the College’s distinctive engaged
learning program), and Chair of the Department of Politics.
Before coming to Hendrix, Peter helped launch the International Center for Democratic Governance at
the University of Georgia, a public service unit providing training and technical assistance to subnational
governments in developing nations. In that role, Peter managed training programs in China for almost a
decade. He also earned his doctorate in public administration from the University of Georgia.
Peter began his international career through US Peace Corps service. In the mid-1990s, he was an
environmental awareness advisor with the Polish national park system.
Peter and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Gess, live in Little Rock, Arkansas, and are dedicated supporters of the
arts. They have two children in college, one in Louisiana and the other in Ohio.
Interim Executive Director, Professor of Politics, Hendrix College
Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Scott McGehee moved to Italy as a Fulbright Fellow in 1995 and has lived in Italy since. He received his Doctorate in European Intellectual History from Boston College in 1996 and is the President and Founding Director of the Accademia dell’Arte.
Scott’s research interest centers on the convergence of radical social thought with the organization of aesthetics perception and artistic expression. He has been active in the formation of the CrisisArt Festival and contemporary social movements including Occupy Wall Street. He continues to work on projects that explore the potential for collective and collaborative creation and has written on the subversive character of the Commedia dell’Arte. (Link Essay: the-pre-eminence-of-the-actor-in-renaissance-context-2.)
Scott gives lectures and seminars throughout the year at the Accademia on various topics including the history of cabaret, understanding Commedia politically, the commodification of artistic experience and related topics.
Hobbies are many, none of which are well developed, but he does have a knack for writing bad pop-songs.
Benedetta holds a Master degree International Relations and Human Rights Defense from the University of Siena.
She worked at the Immigration Office of the Arezzo Police Station as liaison with refugees being relocated in Arezzo.
She also volunteered at the ‘Casa Thevenin’ institution (women shelter’s) in Arezzo.
Benedetta has worked at the Accademia since May, 2023. She is an administrative and student service assistant.