May 2018



Rosalie Galasso Caputo, member of the Dante and teacher of Italian at the Montessori Middle School in Evergreen, will present a program about the Cultural Video Exchange that she has established between her students and those in a Middle School in Lurate Caccivio, Italy. The audience will see her students and those in Italy speaking Italian and English about various cultural aspects of their respective countries. She will share with us how this exchange developed and what the goals are for young people in both countries.
The program will be on Friday, May 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m., as always, at Mount Carmel Church Parish Hall, 3549 Navajo Street in Denver.


Our own member, Rosanna Patrona-Aurand and Judy Bridewell-Biondini will perform in a duo piano recital in the month of June. They will be performing music of Gershwin, Dvorak, Barber, and Piazzolla. The first of two concerts is scheduled for June 1, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ascension Lutheran Church, 2505 N. Circle Drive in Colorado Springs 80909.

The second performance will be on Sunday, June 3, 2018, 3:00 p.m. at the Rockley Foundation Recital Hall, 8591 W. Colfax Avenue, Lakewood 80215. A reception with refreshments will follow the performance. There is no charge but all donations will go toward the Dante Alighieri Society Music Scholarship Fund.


The Society is in dire need of a member able to advertise our goals and events to our community. We thank you in advance if willing to help, if so kindly contact our president Veronica Goodrich at 303-421-1547 or e-mail to .


The Dante Society is planning a gelato social on Saturday, July 21. It will be fun!


Next time you head out to King Soopers, be sure to take a Dante Society King Soopers gift card with you. King Soopers offers organizations a simple way to raise money by returning 5% of grocery sales made on the card to the organization. The cards initially cost $25 but can be reloaded for any amount at checkout. By continuing to use the cards for purchases, Dante members will provide an on-going source of income for scholarships. If you give gift cards to friends, family or charitable organizations, consider giving a Dante Society King Soopers gift card. The Dante Society cards cannot be purchased at King Soopers. The Dante Society cards must be purchased through Dante by calling Veronica Goodrich at 303-421-1547.


The Dante Alighieri Society expresses sincere condolences to Corrine Bush and family.  Ray, a charter member, passed away on April 6.  The Society will miss him.



The deadline has passed for applications for the 2018 round of Dante Scholarships.  It was an unusual year in that we only had two students apply for academic scholarships and two for music scholarships.  In years past we have had as many as twenty academic and four for music scholarships.  The Committee will spend some time looking at what might be the cause of the low turnout and see what we can do to insure we attract the most qualified, worthy students to whom we award our financial resources.  As always, we will be celebrating the bestowing of scholarships at the annual Scholarship Luncheon on May 6 at the Arvada Center.  If you haven’t already sent in your reservation, please do so ASAP by submitting your reservation, here enclosed, by May 2.   Also, now would be the perfect time to support the Scholarship Fund so we can continue to provide financial assistance to students who are enhancing their studies of the Italian culture through study-abroad programs.  Grazie,  John Giardino



The Dante Alighieri Society will offer a 10-week summer session of Italian language classes, beginning the week of June 18.  The schedule for summer classes will be posted on the Dante Alighieri website by May 18.  Students must register and pay for classes through the website.  Several levels of classes will be taught by experienced and talented bi-lingual teachers.  Each class meets for 90 minutes, once a week, at 3549 Navajo Street, Denver, in the parish offices of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.  Cost is $100 for members and $130 for non-members.  New members are welcome to join the Dante Alighieri Society when they register for classes.  For more information, please contact the Education Chair Suzanne Fasing at or call 303-810-9042.   To register for classes, visit the web site:


Rotaie (Rails), made in 1928, is one of very few Italian films of the Fascist era to confront the social upheaval then gripping the country. Rotaie describes the plight of an impoverished, despairing young couple who embark on a train journey after finding a wallet filled with money.  The film explores a society thrown into disarray by a postwar economic crisis, the compression of time and space enabled by rapid train travel, and the rise of Fascism.  In the 1920s, a decade of social and political turbulence in Italy, most Italian films consisted of spectacular historical dramas, light comedies, and action-packed historical epics. Rotaie stands out as a notable exception. Rotaie’s director was one of very few at the time who was willing to acknowledge that Italy, despite Mussolini’s claims, was far from achieving a glorious second Roman Empire.


Rotaie will be shown on Sunday, April 29, at 12:30 pm at the Alamo Draft House Cinema, 4255 West Colfax.  Tickets are $13 each at the box office or can be purchased through the Denver Silent Film Festival website:



thank you team

phyllisGETTING TO KNOW YOU   Phyllis Kommert.

  1. What region in Italy were your ancestors from? If you do not have Italian ancestors, what is the ethnic background of your family? Have you ever been there and what was your experience?

My father was from Pagliarone (now Villa San Michele). His mother was from a nearby village Cerreto, his father was from Pagliarone, province of Campobasso, in the region of Molise. My grandfather Michele Angelo Lombardi came to America with his father Antonio Lombardi. My grandmother, nee Carolina Iannacito, was sent for later along with my Dad who was about 3 years old when they arrived, about 1903. They first went to Louisville and worked in the coal mines. My grandmother’s brother Raphael, was killed in the mines, and she did not want to stay in Louisville, so they came to Denver. My mother’s mother and father were from Chieti. The ancient name for Chieti was Teate. My grandfather’s name (Mauro Tieti) in America was Tate, and my mother said the spelling was Tieti, which I think was changed on entry to the US. My mother was born in Denver in 1901. Her family had lived in Philadelphia first, I believe, because they had cousins there, but grandmother didn’t like it and relatives were in Denver, hence they came to Denver.  My husband Hans planned a wonderful trip to Italy to visit Villa San Michele and Chieti. Maria Lombardi invited us to dinner and to tour the old town of Pagliarone. Another family invited us for dessert and home-made wine, we attended mass and the yearly celebration, with fireworks, a bazaar. It was a wonderful and joyful trip.

  1. When did your ancestors arrive in America, and where did they settle originally? Did they come right to Colorado?

Answers above.


  1. If you had to describe yourself in one word, what word would that be, and why?

Independent. My father who was born in 1899, had a very forward mindset. Of course he wanted his son to go to college, (Michael was a noted architect in the Denver area, died in 2017, 90 years old.) But he also wanted his daughters to have an education and not be dependent on a man and marriage. My oldest sister Evelyn is an artist, has her Doctorate and is successful. I had taken sewing and design for six years in school and was going to continue but ended up getting married. My father was upset about that.


  1. Who was most influential to you growing up, and why?

My parents. They taught us to be honest, work hard, not give up and succeed.  A teacher in high school who wanted me to continue with fashion and design was also influential to me.


  1. Tell us a little about you, employment, family, interests and so on.

Well, I started working in my Dad’s grocery store (M. Lombardi Grocery and Meats at the corner of 38th and Osage). His father and sons opened the store in 1921, and my Dad and his brother Dominic continued until 1963. After graduation I was employed by a large wholesale clothing business as a secretary in the Accounting Dept. I was married, then started having children, so I was a “stay at home mother”. My aunt was a well-known seamstress in north Denver and she needed help. She asked if I would be interested in tailoring and alterations. I really like to design and make originals, but I thought it would be beneficial to work at home. I worked with my aunt for some years. I ended up having my own business and making originals for shops in Cherry Creek. Then I began to look for something else to do. Since we skied a lot and my son was on the Winter Park Ski Team, we decided to buy a place in Winter Park. Throughout the years I had become quite a cook, having learned so much from my parents. The realtor from whom we bought the house from kept telling me, “You need to open a restaurant”. I said no way but that I would like to do an Italian Deli. He wanted me to meet a couple who was building the first strip mall in Winter Park. To make a long story short, I opened Lombardi’s Old World Deli. It was very successful but after about 5 years I was having strange symptoms. After many tests, etc. I was diagnosed with MS. The doctors told me to sell the deli and not work. I did that and regretted it later. I again got bored but was very interested in health food and alternative cooking methods. I started some on-line classes, got involved with people in the industry, and decided to open a health food store. Things went well but I was having marital problems. I decided to move back to Wheatridge. I was divorced and went back to work as an Office Manager. I also started my tailoring and alternation business on the side. I met my second husband Hans, in 1997, who was a wonderful man. We traveled extensively in Europe; he was from Germany, enjoyed the same activities, operas, travel family, etc. I started enjoying sewing for myself and quilting. Hans passed away in October of 2015. I enjoy spending time with my family, I have one son and three daughters, five grandchildren, and three grandchildren-in-law. Still have a busy life.

  1. How would you most like to be remembered?

As a person who helps others and is truthful, honest and a good parent, grandmother, sister, and citizen.


  1. What attracted you about joining the Dante Alighieri Society?

I am proud of my heritage and enjoy all the aspects of the Dante Society. I don’t remember the year I joined but it was in the late 1990s.  I enjoy meeting people with the same interests and participating in the activities. Love it!!


Rome's Piazza del Popolo to be turned into tennis court for Italian Open.

ROMEPart of the Italian Open will be played on the streets of Rome, organizers announced recently, unveiling plans to turn the Piazza del Popolo into an open-air tennis court.

The historic square, one of the ancient gateways to the city, will host pre-qualifying matches before the tournament begins in May, said the head of the Italian Tennis Federation, Angelo Binaghi.  The rest of the competition, which takes place this year from May 7th-20th, will be played as usual on the clay courts of the Foro Italico, by the Olympic Stadium.  Speaking at a press conference alongside the Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi, Binaghi said that organizers are counting on full days of play "right in the square that perhaps more than any other symbolizes the heart of our capital”.


Tourist hotspot taskforces meet in Venice to tackle overcrowding.  Representatives of Venice and five other Mediterranean tourist hotspots met on Friday to discuss tactics for coping with high numbers of tourists, a day after the Italian lagoon city announced record visitor numbers in 2017.  The meeting was described as an "unprecedented initiative" by the Gruppo 25 Aprile which has long protested against Venice's overcrowding and organized the first meeting of the Mediterranean network.

Representatives from similar organizations from Rhodes, Santorini, Dubrovnik, Corfu, and Paphos arrived in Venice to share their experiences and tactics for coping with the impact of mass tourism on local populations. Talks and debates at the inaugural meeting will help the cities "compare experiences and priorities", with a long-term goal of working together to combat excessive tourism, the Gruppo 25 Aprile said.

(continued from prev column)

Over 9.5 million people visited Venice itself during 2017, an increase of eight percent on the visitor numbers the previous year, according to newly published figures. Meanwhile, tourist figures for the entire Veneto region were 19 million, a similar increase on the year before.  "When it comes to tourism in the Veneto region, it has become normal to talk about records," said regional councilor for tourism Federico Caner at the presentation of the soaring figures on Thursday. He added that initial figures for the first three months of 2018 suggested the trend would continue throughout this year.



Award-winning Italian filmmaker Vittorio Taviani dies.

Italian filmmaker and Cannes Film Festival winner Vittorio Taviani has died aged 88, according to media reports on Sunday citing family sources.  Taviani and his brother Paolo formed one of Italian cinema's most famous duos and together they made more than 15 films.  One of their best-known was the gritty biopic "Padre Padrone", set in Sardinia, which won the top Palme d'Or prize at Cannes in 1977.

Born in San Miniato, Tuscany, on September 20, 1929, Taviani died in Rome after suffering from a long-term illness. "It's a sad day for culture, we have lost one of the greatest masters of our cinema," said Italy's culture minister Dario Franceschini.  Another of the brothers' critically acclaimed films is 2012's "Caesar Must Die", for which they won the Golden Bear prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. The pair's father was an anti-fascist lawyer and they had an early interest in social issues, which they later translated onto the screen. Their work is known for its mix of history, psychological analysis and lyricism.

"Cinema is my life, because without it I would be only a ghost and the relationships I have with other people would dissolve in the mist," Taviani once said.    (The Local)


Spilling olive oil.  Thought there was no point crying over spilled olive oil? Think again; in Italy, this is very bad luck indeed. And it's not just because Italians don't want to see their top quality oil wasted (though the tradition likely has its roots in a time when olive oil was a luxury), but it's considered to bring ill fortune.

Toasting.  In Italy, it is believed that you should never toast with a glass of water - the thinking behind that is that it suggests bad luck because water is less expensive and flavorful than wine.

In fact, the whole tradition of toasting is a minefield: it's also bad luck to cross arms with anyone as you clink glasses, to avoid eye contact while toasting or to set down your glass before having a first sip.

The Evil Eye.  The malocchio is the Italian belief that a look of jealousy can bring harm to those it is aimed at, usually in the form of physical pain, such as a headache.  Having birds or birds' feathers in your house is also a big no-no because their patterns are supposedly similar to the evil eye.

To ward off the evil eye you must make a gesture similar to horns and point it downwards behind your back - some Italians take things a step further and wear a lucky amulet shaped like a horn.

Touch Iron.  If you're from the UK or US, you might be used to saying 'touch wood' or 'knock on wood' after saying something that might tempt misfortune. In Italy, look for some iron - 'toccare ferro' is an abbreviation from 'toccare ferro di cavallo'

(touch horseshoe) which dates back to when horseshoes were thought to ward off devils, witches and evil spirits. These days, superstitious Italians might still carry a horseshoe charm or a simple piece of iron around with them, just in case.

Lampposts.  When walking arm in arm with a friend, make sure to pass on the same side of a lamppost rather than splitting to go around it.  Italian folklore warns that straying from this rule could spell the end of the friendship.

Black cats.  In some cultures, black cats are thought to bring good luck, but it's quite the opposite in Italy, where they are considered unlucky due to associations with witchcraft. In fact, thousands of black felines are killed every year by superstitious Italians, leading animal rights' organizations to declare November 17th Black Cats Day, in order to raise awareness of the pets' plight and combat superstition.  Hearing a cat sneeze, on the other hand, brings good luck.

Sharp objects.  If you receive, for example, a penknife as a gift, prick the person who gave it to you, or give them a coin in return. If you fail to do this, you risk ruining the friendship forever.

Beds.  It is believed that if you put a photo of a loved one on a bed - for example while tidying, packing or doing housework - this will bring them bad luck. Meanwhile, placing a hat on a bed is unlucky too.

These beliefs date back to a time when beds were associated with illness and death, and priests would remove their hats when arriving to visit someone in their sickbed.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Local students avoid the monument - and not just because it's overrun with tourists. Tradition states that if you go to the top of the famous leaning tower while you are at university, then you will never be able to graduate.  Several cities and towns around the country have their own version of this superstition: in Bologna for example, climbing the local tower before graduating is thought to mean you will never do so.

Touch your nose.  Saying the same word at the same time as somebody else is thought to be an omen that you will never get married - but there's a way to reverse your fortune. Touch your nose immediately and the bad luck will be undone.

Thirteen’s a crowd.  Although in general the number 13 isn't as spooky as in other countries, at a dinner table it is meant to be very bad luck indeed. The superstition stems from the Last Supper and the fact that Jesus’ traitor, Judas Iscariot, was the 13th and final person to be seated, so if you find yourself at a table of 13, watch your back.

Seeing an empty hearse.  Spotting a hearse with no coffin inside is thought to be an omen that your own death is approaching. To ward off this ill fate, men must touch their groin and women their breast as a gesture of good luck and fertility.  (The Local)

Unlucky for some: Thirteen strange Italian superstitions.

Particularly in the older generation, you'll discover that Italians tend to take superstitions seriously, often doing things 'per scaramanzia' - to ward off bad luck.  So if you want to ensure good luck comes your way, here are some of the things to watch out for, according to traditional Italian beliefs.

Friday the 17th.  First, the good news. Friday the 13th isn't a bad omen as it is in some countries, but Italy has its own date that you should be wary of: Friday the 17th. Just as some Western airlines avoid including the 13th row on planes, you might find number 17 omitted in Italian planes, street numbering, hotel levels and so on - so even if you're not the superstitious type, it's handy to be aware of this.

The reason for this is because in Roman numerals, the number 17 (XVII) is an anagram of the Roman word VIXI, meaning “I have lived” - the use of the past tense suggesting death, and therefore bad luck. It's less clear what's so inauspicious about Friday.

So don't be surprised if, next time Friday 17th rolls around, you notice some shops and offices closed 'per scaramanzia'...

(more superstitions below:)


Cultural Meetings

May 11


Scholarship banquet – May 6

Concert – June 3

Gelato Social – July 21


Language –  Summer begin June 28

NOTE: Cultural meetings, movies, and cooking classes take place at Mt. Carmel Church Parish Hall, 3549 Navajo St., Denver.

Language classes are taught at Mt. Carmel Church Office.