Italian Piredda gets a taste of life at Placer

By: Dave Krizman Journal Sports Columnist
-A +A

“There is nothing like Italian pizza. It is the best in the world. It is simpler and has less ingredients than American pizza,” laughed foreign exchange student Ilaria Piredda. “All the food in Italy is more simpler. It is the best food in the world.”
Piredda should know. Her home is in Sardinia, a large island off the western coast of Italy. Since arriving in the United States on August 14, 2010, she has had the opportunity to sample the culture and lifestyle of America. Lest one thinks Piredda is bragging about her native cooking, one need only remember Julia Roberts’ summer movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” The “eat” part of the film took place in Italy.
Piredda, however, did not come to America just to sample the food.
“I want to be a pilot and I must learn better English,” she said. “My dream was to go to another country and learn the language and culture.”
Part of learning the culture of our country has included immersing herself in the sports programs at Placer High. She is currently a member of the school’s downhill ski team.
“When I don’t crash, it is kind of fun. When I was little, I skied in the Italian Alps, and as I got older, I would ski for one week in the Dolomites with my family,” she said. “It is not easy to get to the mountains from Sardinia.”
In addition to her downhill skiing adventures, she is also on the girls’ tennis team. Piredda modestly stated, “I am probably the No. 1 tennis player on the team. I started playing when I was 4. In Italy there are no school sports, only club sports.”
Tony Camilucci and his wife Cindy are hosting this young Italian. Cindy is a teacher at Granite Oaks Middle School and Tony is a teacher at Placer and well known in the community as the girls’ head basketball coach.
To put to rest any possible recruiting accusations, a careful study of Camillucci’s summer travels showed no trips to Italy. Ironically, Piredda does not play for Camilucci’s team.
Cindy Camilucci has enjoyed hosting this young lady.
“We feel lucky to have Ilaria because she fits well into our family as a big sister to our children, and she is well liked by everyone she meets,” she said. “She is highly motivated as both a student and athlete.”
Like any teenager relocating to a foreign country, it took a while for Piredda to adjust.
“At the start of my stay, with tears in my eyes, I would have said, ‘yes’ I miss my family,” Piredda said. “Now I don’t miss them so much.”
She loves California for its climate and how friendly its people are. At Placer, she likes how everyone is always smiling and saying “good morning.” According to Piredda, in Italy everyone is sad. She commented how at Placer she can choose her classes, which is not possible in her Italian school. And, of course, she “loves the open campus.”
When not practicing with the ski and tennis teams, Piredda has chores to do at home. She feeds the dog, washes dishes, washes her clothes, and cooks occasionally. She feels, “I cannot cook.” But, according to Julia Camilucci, daughter of Tony and Cindy, “she has a really good Italian dish.”
One can only wonder if that dish is Italian pizza, the world’s best.
Dave Krizman’s column runs Wednesdays in the Journal. Comment online at