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Our Teachers

Meet our teachers: a professional, fun and interesting group of people leading all Italian events around town. 

Viviana Luison

Viviana, originally from the small town of Azzano Decimo (near Venice, Italy), moved to Nashville, TN in 2003 and lived with a local family as their au-pair (a fancy word for nanny) for two years. Her initial thought was to stay in the States for 1 year and than move somewhere else but instead, as she likes to say, “life happened”. She then graduated in 2009 from Tennessee State University with a BBA in consumer marketing and has since held positions in completely different industries. Her need to keep in touch with her roots and a curiosity for wines brought her to 100% Italiano in 2009, a newly founded wine distribution in Nashville, TN.  At the same time, she met Patti Franklin Nelson, founder of Italian for Fun and now is one of the teachers and promoters of “everything Italian in Nashville”. Passionate about learning and educating people, you might bump into Viviana leading an Italian conversation group or Italian Wine 101 class across town. Since January 2023 Viviana is the new leader and director of Italian for Fun. You can contact her at

Cristina Lanfranco 

Cristina Lanfranco is originally from Genova (Genoa), a coastal city in northern Italy. She moved to the U.S. in 1998, after marrying her American husband who she met while he was traveling around Europe. Since then, she has lived in Glendale, California, Boise, Idaho and now in Franklin, Tennessee. Cristina has a passion for languages and for teaching. She is back in college at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, where she is majoring in Spanish with a teaching licensure, and minoring in Art and Psychology. She is also in the process of taking her Italian Praxis exam.  In her spare time, she is a substitute teacher for Williamson County Schools.

Cristina is married to Paul Hooghkirk and they have four children: Martino, Michelangelo, Valentina, and Francesco. She lives in Franklin with her husband and their youngest child, while their three older children live in Knoxville, Tennessee where they study and work. 

Patti Franklin Nelson

Founder of Italian For Fun, Patti Franklin Nelson has been speaking and singing professionally in Italian since the age of 19.  Born in an Italian neighborhood of upstate New York, it was destiny for Patti to be connected with Italy.  She studied in Europe and then served with a Christian organization for ten years, both in Italy and India.  She then lived and worked in the music business for another ten years while living in Torino, Northern Italy. Patti decided in 2023 to retire from Italian For Fun! but remains our honorary matriarch and honorary funding director 


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