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May Notiziario 2019

APRIL CULTURAL MEETING   Due to a conflict with Mt. Carmel Parish Hall, the April Cultural meeting has been rescheduled for this coming Friday, April 26, 2019, 7:30 p.m.


Professor Wayne Ambler from the University of Colorado in Boulder will present “The Disunited Unification of Italy”.  Wayne will introduce the fascinating cast of characters at the forefront of the Risorgimento, the movement that led to the birth of modern Italy in March of 1861. He will note not only their critique of Italy as it was before unification but also the main disagreements among those who did the most to bring about the new nation. These disagreements remain important today, for they bear some responsibility for divisions that still exist in Italian politics.

As always, the presentation will take place at Mt. Carmel Parish Hall, 3549 Navajo St., Denver.

SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE   I am pleased to report that we are awarding 4 Academic Scholarships and 3 music scholarships this year.  We look forward to a fine program at noon on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at the Arvada Center. This has been a wonderful tradition and expectation of the Dante Society of Denver all these years.  I hope everyone will come to support these well deserving winners, and I wish to thank the members of the committee for all the hard work that goes into these evaluations.

Attached you will find the reservation form for the event.  According to past attendees, the excitement, the entertainment, the food and the camaraderie are well worth the price of admission! Please submit your reservation, here enclosed, by April 30 so we can inform the caterer of the number of people who will be attending.  If you have any questions, please contact me at johnsadlermd@aol.com.   Grazie, Giovanni (John) Sadler, Scholarship Chair.


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE   May is always a special month for me and, I hope, for all Dante members. On the first Sunday of every May we celebrate and reward local college students whom we have deemed as exceptional in their academic or musical pursuit of the Italian culture. One of the most important functions in carrying out the mission of the Dante Alighieri Society is rewarding these students who will be the keepers and purveyors of our Italian heritage and its relevance to not only history but today’s world. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supports the scholarship program. Please plan to attend the luncheon celebration on May 5 at the Arvada Center. The reservation form is attached so please RSVP ASAP so we can count you among the celebrants.  Grazie, John Giardino

UPCOMING MEMBERS QUESTIONNAIRE Sometime in May, you will be receiving a questionnaire intended to increase activities attendance by part of you, our members.  Kindly participate in this effort to improve and/or provide your interest in our Society.  Grazie.


BENVENUTA   The Dante Society of Denver gives a warm welcome to our latest member:  Christine Adducci Maher.



The Dante Alighieri Society is currently offering the 10-week spring session of Italian language classes, which began the week of March 25.  The summer session of classes will begin the week of June 17, 2019.  The summer class schedule will be posted on the Dante website by May 13, and on-line registration will begin then.  The registration deadline for summer classes is June 10, 2019.  The classes are taught by experienced and talented bi-lingual teachers, and include beginner, intermediate, advanced, and conversation classes.  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 suzannefasing@yahoo.com or call 303-810-9042.   Information about the classes is also available on the web site:  http://dantealighieriofdenver.com/classes/language-classes/


ITALIAN HERITAGE MONTH   Yeah, I know it isn't until October, but the Dante Alighieri Society is gearing up to celebrate Italian Heritage month in a big way. And we need your help.​

Italians began migrating to the United States, many to Colorado, in the 1880's and have left there mark every step of the way. In fact it was Amerigo Vespucci, who gave his name to the New World, America. Help us put together an assortment of events and activities, both educational and fun, to highlight the many facets of the Italian culture. Please contact Susan Gurule at 720-484-1014 or susangurule@msn.com to participate in orchestrating these activities or to offer your suggestions of aspects of the Italian heritage you believe should be included. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Museums across the world are planning shows for the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death this year and the are racing to secure loans for the 500th anniversary. Many cities having exhibitions and Denver, among them, has entitled it “Leonardo da Vinci 500 Years of Genius”.  The exhibition is currently at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard.

Italian artist, engineer, and scientist.  (By Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich).

Leonardo da Vinci, born April 15, 1452, near Vinci, died May 2, 1519, in Cloux, France. Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. His Last Supper (1495–98) and Mona Lisa (c. 1503–19) are among the most widely popular and influential paintings of the Renaissance. His notebooks reveal a spirit of scientific inquiry and a mechanical inventiveness that were centuries ahead of their time.

The unique fame that Leonardo enjoyed in his lifetime and that, filtered by historical criticism, has remained undimmed to the present day rests largely on his unlimited desire for knowledge, which guided all his thinking and behavior.                   Monument in Milano

An artist by disposition and endowment, he considered his eyes to be his main avenue to knowledge; to Leonardo, sight was man’s highest sense because it alone conveyed the facts of experience immediately, correctly, and with certainty.

Hence, every phenomenon perceived became an object of knowledge, and saper vedere (“knowing how to see”) became the great theme of his studies. He applied his creativity to every realm in which graphic representation is used: he was a painter, sculptor, architect, and engineer. But he went even beyond that. He used his superb intellect, unusual powers of observation, and mastery of the art of drawing to study nature itself, a line of inquiry that allowed his dual pursuits of art and science to flourish.

Ultimate Renaissance Man: 5 Fascinating Facts about Leonardo da Vinci.

To celebrate the Renaissance man, here are five facts about his remarkable life and legacy.

Leonardo managed to be so many things in one lifetime—painter, engineer, architect and scientist. His painting, Mona Lisa, is one of the world’s most famous artworks. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. With his intensive studies of nature and anatomy, da Vinci used science as a way to revolutionize his art.

This man of vision also imagined many of our modern-day marvels. He sketched ideas for an underwater diving suit, a self-propelled vehicle and a flying machine that was a precursor to the helicopter. To celebrate da Vinci’s special day, let’s delve into some tantalizing tidbits about this remarkable man.

Da Vinci had a complicated family life.

He was the illegitimate son of Ser Piero da Vinci and a local woman named Caterina. While Leonardo was their only child together, his parents ended up having 17 other children between them. His mother married someone else and his father, a lawyer and notary, wed four times in his lifetime. He himself grew up in his paternal grandfather’s household, according to David Alan Brown’s Leonardo da Vinci: Origins of a Genius. Da Vinci also developed a close bond with his uncle Francesco da Vinci.

Still da Vinci’s father looked out for him, placing him as an apprentice with artist Andrea Verrocchio in Florence when he was 15 years old. Later his father also likely assisted him in landing a few commissions. When his father died, however, da Vinci inherited nothing, thanks to his half-siblings.

Da Vinci didn’t always like to finish what he started. He had a habit of accepting commissions without actually finishing them. A 25-year-old da Vinci was hired to create the altarpiece for a chapel in the Palazzo della Signoria, a government building. After taking some money for the job, however, he never produced the work. His next big commission came in 1481 for another altarpiece for the monks of San Donato at Scopeto. In this case, da Vinci did actually make some progress. This painting, which would become known as The Adoration of the Magi, depicts a moment between the Christ child and Mary and the three kings. Instead of completing the work, however, da Vinci decided to pursue better opportunities in Milan. Despite being unfinished, this artwork shows his talents and hangs in the famed Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

His most drawn-out, troubled project, however, was The Virgin of the Rocks. The Milanese Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception commissioned da Vinci and brothers Evangelista and Giovanni Ambrogio da Predis to produce work for their chapel in San Francesco Grande in Milan in 1483. Squabbling between both sides over payment and art depicting the Virgin Mary stretched out over two decades, with da Vinci finally submitting his painting in 1508. In the end, there are two existing versions of The Virgin of the Rocks—one housed in London’s National Gallery and the other hanging in Paris’s Louvre Museum.

For much of his career, da Vinci depended on the kindness of patrons. He spent years being attached to one royal court or another. Around 1482, da Vinci went to work for Ludovico Sforza, the ruler of Milan. He had marketed himself mostly as a military engineer to Sforza, promising to craft him all sorts of weapons. Sforza acted as his patron for many years, and he had da Vinci work on numerous projects for him, including painting portraits of two of his mistresses. One of those women is believed to be the subject of Lady with an Ermine. Da Vinci also created architectural plans for churches and designed a mechanical theatrical set for a festival in honor of a family wedding.

In the final years of his life, da Vinci enjoyed the support of French king, Francis I. He moved to France in 1516 to become “Premier Painter and Engineer and Architect of the King” and lived in a manor house called Château de Cloux in Amboise.

For a man known to be a pacifist, da Vinci worked on several military projects. He made sketches of weapons, including a giant crossbow for the ruler of Milan. But, as Stefan Klein pointed out in Leonardo’s Legacy, these designs were more an effort “to impress his patron” than to create “serviceable weapons.”

In 1502, da Vinci got mixed up with Cesare Borgia, a ruthless nobleman and the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, who commanded the papal army. Borgia wanted to create an empire through conquest, and he asked da Vinci to devise ways to protect his newly acquired lands. Da Vinci made sketches and maps, suggesting different defensive approaches. After spending the winter with Borgia and his army, however, da Vinci took off in February 1503. He may have left even before collecting payment for his work. Fritjof Capra speculates in The Science of Leonardo that da Vinci “must have heard firsthand accounts of Cesare’s many massacres and murders” and “so repelled by them” that he had to flee.

Da Vinci left behind thousands of pages of writings. 

Leonardo biographer Martin Kemp estimates that there are roughly 6,000 pages known to be da Vinci’s work, and these may only be a fraction of what he produced in his lifetime. He wrote in mirror script, which means he started on the right side of the page and moved to the left. It’s not known for certain why he did this, but some theories include he was trying to prevent others from discovering and possibly taking his ideas or that it was easier for him to write this way because he was left handed. In any case, depth and breadth of his work is outstanding.

Many of these notes and observations are collected in books called codices or codexes and make for compelling reading. The largest one of these is the Codex Atlanticus, which features some of his early mechanical drawings in its more than 1,100 pages. Owned by the British royal family, the Codex Windsor includes an array of anatomical studies undertaken by da Vinci. The Codex Leicester made headlines in 1994 when Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates snapped it up from the estate of businessman Armand Hammer for $31 million in 1994. The work highlights da Vinci’s fascination with water—its properties as well as different ideas as for its use and management.  (HistoryMore and Culture Facts by Wendy Mead)

28 More Interesting Facts About Leonardo da Vinci

  1. Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Hammer was purchased for $30,802,500 in 1994 by Bill Gates; 3 years later he released a digital version of the historic diary for all the world to enjoy.
  2. Leonardo da Vinci’s last words were: “I have offended God and Mankind, by doing so little with my life.”
  3. Over 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci made an interesting observation about trees. He concluded that the total thickness of a tree’s branches is equal to the total thickness of the tree trunk. Trees across many species obey this rule.
  4. Leonardo da Vinci used to buy caged animals at the market just to set them free.
  5. Leonardo da Vinci created plans for a “mechanized knight,” a robot-like creation reliant on a system of pulleys. When these plans were found almost 500 years later and built according to Leonardo’s specifications, the design worked perfectly.
  6. Despite being one of the most famous painters in history, only 15 paintings of Leonardo da Vinci are known to exist. The small number of surviving paintings is due in part to Leonardo’s frequently disastrous experimentation with new techniques and his chronic procrastination.
  7. Leonardo da Vinci may have written backward not for secrecy, but because he is left-handed and it was easier for him to do.
  8.  Leonardo da Vinci recommended gazing at stains on a wall or similar random marks as a stimulus to creative fantasy.
  9. Leonardo da Vinci invented the earliest known machine for producing coins.
  10. Leonardo da Vinci invented the Miter Lock in 1497, which is still in use today including in the Panama and Suez Canals.
  11. Leonardo da Vinci claimed to have dissected more than 30 people in his pursuit to further understand human anatomy, and his more than 240 detailed drawings and over 13,000 words of observations revealed many then unknown characteristics of our bodies. However, all this remain unpublished.
  12. Leonardo da Vinci could draw forward with one hand while writing backward with the other.
  13. Leonardo da Vinci designed a scuba suit.
  14. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with inventing the résumé.
  15. Leonardo da Vinci deliberately left errors in the designs of his inventions, in order to prevent it from being put to practice by unauthorized people.
  16. Leonardo da Vinci invented scissors, played the viola, and spent twelve years painting the Mona Lisa’s lips.
  17. Leonardo da Vinci had a pupil who painted a nude version of Mona Lisa, called Monna Vanna.
  18. Leonardo da Vinci and Machiavelli devised a plan together to change the direction/flow of the River Arno in Pisa, they failed.
  19. Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was among the first celebrities from the European Renaissance era who supported vegetarianism.
  20. Leonardo da Vinci’s signature is considered “ineligible for copyright because it falls below the required level of originality” and therefore is in the public domain.
  21. “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci has a mistake: Oranges weren’t introduced to the Middle East until several hundred years after Christ.
  22. Leonardo da Vinci dressed lizards up as dragons to freak people out. He would “fasten scales to a lizard, dip it in quicksilver so it trembled as it moved, add larger eyes, a horn, and a beard, and after taming it, show it to his friends to terrify them”.
  23. Leonardo da Vinci predicted the mass use of solar energy as long ago as 1447.
  24.  Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo once had a painting contest.
  25. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 and Pablo Picasso was initially arrested as the thief.
  26. Leonardo da Vinci was arrested, along with several young companions, on the charge of sodomy. When no witnesses came forward, the charges were dropped.
  27. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with inventing the sniper rifle and becoming the first sniper.
  28. Leonardo da Vinci believed the moon had an atmosphere and oceans. The Moon was a fine reflector of light, Leonardo believed because it was covered with so much water.

(KickassFacts – Fact Encyclopedia.  Featured image credit: commons.wikimedia.org)


Just a reminder to all members – this is an easy way to help the Dante. If you shop at King Sooper and have their reward card, be sure you set up an account with Kings Soopers by going to their Community reward page and register your card number. You then can do a search on the charities listen and click on the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver. Now every time you swipe your card, the Dante will receive credit for your purchase.  It costs you nothing but the Dante gets a charitable contribution after certain goals are met.

If you have questions, or need help enrolling, contact Veronica Goodrich at 303-421-1547 or Carol Marsala at 303-237-0688.  

2019 Calendar

Cultural Meetings

 April 26                                   


May 5 – Scholarship Banquet


Language – Summer begins June 17

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.

Dante Alighieri Society of Denver