Juan Penelas

I started my Italian lessons with Carlos four years ago and to this day I look forward to my 90-minute lesson every Monday evening. We started from scratch, with “Ciao!”, and here we are today reading full novels, watching movies, and discussing all things from recipes to political affairs from Italy. Carlos’ lessons will take you beyond the necessary mechanics of a new language and they will become a full cultural immersion into all things Italian.

One year after I started, my then high-school-aged daughter got going with her classes (now she is taking advanced Italian in college). A few months back, my wife jumped in as well. The method Carlos has used to teach each one of us has been different and it has adapted to our personal pace and interests. This bespoke approach is key to keep the student interest going strong, which is of the essence in the long journey that can be becoming proficient with a language.

This past summer while vacationing in northern Italy, we had a blast communicating in Italian with the locals, reading the paper or watching the local TV stations. Carlos had even some restaurant recommendations for us. I must admit I feel a bit unashamed as I write such a positive review about someone that has now become a friend. But that friendship is something you are likely going to find along the way with him.

Bruce Burleson, J.D.

Carlos has been teaching me Italian for a little over a year now, and it has been a pure joy!  I had lived in Italy when I was younger but had forgotten much of what I knew about the language because no one speaks it where I live. Carlos began to patiently bring me back to my former level of fluency and beyond. I have learned things about the language that I never understood before.  We have very interesting conversations in Italian about a variety of subjects: philosophy, theology, cinema, music, contemporary culture, science, and, most importantly, food and wine!  My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting him for dinner one evening, and he brought us one bottle each of homemade limoncello and coffee liqueur! He is a man of many talents. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study under him, and I look forward to many years of his continued linguistic guidance and friendship.

Laura & Frank, Lakeway TX

Carlos is a unique language teacher and it is hard to put into words why it is a desired quality. So we will share our experience.

When we started, we wanted to be fluent Italian speakers. We started in April and that fall we took a trip to Italy. It changed our experience of Italy 100%. We have been to Italy many times, this time we were engaged with Italy! We could read more, hear more and most of all experience more of being in Italy.

This motivated us to sign up for an immersion class in Italy. Due to CoVid, we were delayed for 2 years, however we continued our work with Carlos. At immersion school, we realized we knew more than what was being taught in the advanced class for people studying for more than 10 years.

In the 3 plus years of working with Carlos, we learned it is not about being fluent speakers. What good is it if you can speak, however you can’t understand what is being said to you. It isn’t a matter of hearing, which is difficult as the language has many dialects, it is understanding the construct of the language. We were struck when our immersion teacher said “I don’t hear every word that is said, I hear certain words and I can tell from my understanding of Italian what was said.” Learning phrases may give you immediate gratification, it will not help you learn the language! If you want to learn Italian, invest in working with Carlos. You will not regret the decision, we haven’t! We look forward to continuing our journey with Carlos.

Emma Pennisi

I started taking classes with Carlos to prepare for a trip to Italy for a friend’s wedding – and I convinced the bride to join me! It would be my second time in Italy and I knew that having language skills would make the trip even more special. After 8 months of weekly classes with Carlos, I had enough of a foundation that I felt very comfortable conversing with taxi drivers, hotel and restaurant staff, and others we encountered on our trip – and that made the experience infinitely more enjoyable and special than if I didn’t have those language skills. Carlos worked with us to tailor our classes to our trip, and spent time talking about cultural norms around weddings that we both enjoyed and came in handy (I left my purple outfit at home!). Carlos is a fantastic teacher but also a wonderful person, so although the wedding has come and gone I’ve continued taking Lezione d’Italiano with him because I so enjoy learning Italian with him.

J. Ajluni

In 2021, my friend and I reached out to Carlos about taking Italian lessons prior to my wedding in Positano. In just a year, we were able to have essential conversations leading up to and during the event and communicate throughout the trip in Italian.  We wouldn’t have been able to do this without Carlos’ skilled and patient instruction. He is a wonderful teacher and friend. We’ve learned so much already and  look forward to continuing our lessons.

Deborah Hasselmark

My sister, mother and I have been taking Italian lessons from Carlos for almost a year and still enthusiastically look forward to every class. In addition to his passion for languages and genuine, personable nature, Carlos’s skill as an instructor lets us progress as a group while also focusing on our individual learning aptitudes. He gladly shares his knowledge of Italian history and culture and provides valuable links to great Italian food, music and theater. In less than a year, the three of us can communicate with each other in Italian. We look forward to bringing our new skill on our next visit to Italy.  Thank you Carlos.

Ceci McWilliams, 17

Carlos is a wonderful teacher and person. Starting with useful phrases and advancing to technical grammar, Carlos organized our lessons in a way that got me talking immediately. With time, my responses to his drills became more and more automatic and with each lesson I grew more and more comfortable speaking in Italian.

Not only were our lessons technically challenging and productive, but they were also a blast. Carlos and I routinely went off on tangents and told stories, all in Italian. It was a joy to chat with Carlos, who has no shortage of interesting things to say, and improve my language skills at the same time.

If you are looking for an Italian teacher who will get you speaking immediately and share Italian culture with you with each lesson, Carlos is your man. With consistent practice, you will see your language skills improve rapidly, you will have a great time learning, and you will make a lifelong friend.

Audra Kubelka

I am a homeschooling mother of seven beautiful sons. I reached out to Carlos in 2013, when seeking an Italian instructor for my (at the time) 7th grade homeschooler.  I had contacted numerous other teachers of both French and Italian and no one would agree to work with a 7th grader.  Carlos, joyfully accepted my oldest as a student and tutored him for 6 years.  He worked with my second son, as well and we will continue to turn to Carlos for our other children’s learning.  Carlos is a kind, intelligent and “simpatico” teacher who tailors his lessons to his learner — often creating his own materials — with quite astonishing results. He includes so many topics that would never be covered in a traditional setting. Every lesson is a joy and a leap forward!  I have been telling Carlos for many years that some day, it will be my turn to be his student!

Audra Kubelka

Cassie Stinson, JD

Carlos is a wonderful tutor who loves teaching the beautiful Italian language to non-Italians.  I have worked with Carlos for three months to prepare for further language studies in Italy, and I learned so much!  He boils down Italian grammar into simple, straightforward rules that are easy to remember.  He is very positive, patient and encouraging with your progress, he customizes his lesson plans for the individual student’s needs and goals, and he is very diplomatic and non-intimidating when correcting your homework.  He teaches not only the language but also the customs, culture and colloquial expressions of Italy. 

Carlos is very well-educated, cultured, and a warm and kindly person:  molto intelligente, gentile e simpatico!  I recommend him without reservation as your tutor of the Italian language.  I think his private lessons are excellent value for the money.  I hired Carlos to get the lessons, and I also got a friend!

Annie Farnsworth

This summer I will be working as an au pair in Turin, Italy. When I initially took the job, I knew almost no Italian, and thought it would be a good idea to learn at least a bit before I went. I was worried that I would have barely any time to make headway, but after taking three weeks of lessons with Carlos almost daily, I feel able to have entire conversations quite comfortably! Carlos is an exceptional teacher. He is able to break down and explain the parts of the language clearly and concisely, and was able to quickly understand my particular leaning style and ability and adapt his lessons to maximize our time. His knowledge of the nuances of language is deep and his enthusiasm is infectious; I enjoyed every minute of our work together! I am endlessly grateful for all of the effort he put in to make it possible for me to learn everything I did. Patient, dedicated, and a lovely person – my only regret is that I couldn’t stay for longer!