Notiziario September 2017

Dante Alighieri Society of Denver

"...for the tutelage and diffusion of the Italian Language and culture in the world."

Dante Alighieri Notiziario - Denver


Professor Roberta Waldbaum of the University of Denver will introduce the historical film The Italian Secret, the Forgotten Heroes of the Holocaust.  After the showing, Professor Waldbaum will answer any questions concerning the role of the Italians in aiding Jews during WWII.

Would you risk your life to save a stranger

My Italian Secret tells us the story of cycling idol Gino Bartali.  Dr.Giovanni Borromeo and other courageous Italians who carried out ingenious schemes to rescue Jews, partisans, and refugees from Nazi-occupied Italy.

Celebrated as a Tour de France champion, Gino Bartali’s most daring triumph came when he risked his life to save Italian Jews by smuggling fake identification documents in the frame of his bicycle.  Dr. Borromeo invented a fictitious disease to scare the SS away from the hospital where he was hiding Jews.

These men, and the networks in which they worked, reflect the efforts of thousands of Italians who risked their lives to save others.  As an entire continent was engulfed in genocide, more than 80 percent of Italy’s Jews survived.  In My Italian Secret, nominated director Oren Jacoby reveals the dramatic stories of a secret underground that has remained largely unknown, until now.

 The program will take place on Friday, September 8, at Mount Carmel Parish Hall at 7:30 p.m. 3549 Navajo Street, Denver.



The Dante Alighieri Society will offer a 10-week fall session of Italian language classes, beginning the week of September 18.  The schedule for fall classes will be posted on the Dante Alighieri website by August 18.  Students must register for classes through the website.  The classes are taught by experienced and talented bi-lingual teachers, and include beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes.  Each class meets for 90 minutes, once a week, at 3549 Navajo Street, Denver, in the parish office 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.  Please register early because classes do fill up.  For more information, please contact the Education Chair Suzanne Fasing at or call 303-810-9042.  

To register for classes, visit the web site:


 Beginner 1.  Mondays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning September 18 through November 20 (DiMaggio).  In this class students with little or no knowledge of Italian will learn to communicate in simple everyday situations. Students will study the basic building blocks of the Italian language, including the alphabet, rules of pronunciation, basic syntax, and grammatical structures. Topics include subject pronouns, definite and indefinite articles, regular verbs in the present tense, and noun-adjective agreement. Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.


Beginner 2. Tuesdays, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, beginning September 19 through November 21 (Jensen).  In this class students will build upon their existing knowledge while incorporating new vocabulary and grammatical structures through conversation, role plays, listening, reading and writing activities. Topics include irregular and modal verbs in the present tense, articulated prepositions, and possessive adjectives. Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.


Beginner 3.  Tuesdays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning September 19 through November 21 (Jensen).  In this class, students will cover the topics in Unit 4 of the textbook, including speaking about the past, the adverb “ci,” and ordering in a restaurant.   Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.       


Intermediate and other Advanced classes will be offered in 2018.


Advanced 5/Review.  Thursdays, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, beginning September 21 through November 30 (no class Nov. 23) (Brunetti).  This class will be predominantly in Italian, and will introduce more advanced vocabulary, subjunctive tenses, and courtesy forms of speaking.  Students will continue to develop their reading, listening, writing and speaking abilities.  Part of each class will be devoted to a review of material from the Italian Project 1a and 1b textbooks.  Required Texts: The Italian Project 1a, 1b, and 2a.


Advanced 7.  Thursdays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning September 21 through November 30 (no class Nov. 23) (Brunetti).  This class will be predominantly in Italian, and will introduce more advanced vocabulary and grammar.  Students will continue to develop their reading, listening, writing and speaking abilities.    Required Text: The Italian Project 2b.





La Storia, Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience by Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale, who wrote the book which narrates five centuries of the Italian American experience: “As early as 1753, a course in the study of Italian was offered at the Philadelphia College, founded by Benjamin Franklin, which eventually became the University of Pennsylvania.  In Virginia twenty-five years later, at the recommendation of Thomas Jefferson, Carlo Bellini  was appointed professor of Romance languages at the College of William & Mary, where he taught for more than two decades.  But not until the arrival of Lorenzo Da Ponte, the celebrated librettist of Mozart, in 1802 did the teaching of Italian begin to flourish.  Da Ponte launched a one-man educational campaign which, combined tutorial teaching of Italian, culminated in his appointment as Columbia University’s first professor of Italian literature.  Harvard, Yale, and Princeton soon after added Italian studies to their curricula.”


GRAZIE   A big thank you to Susan Gurule for organizing our evening at the theater.  We were pleased to have a good response and to support a local cultural event.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU   Charter member Professor Roberta Waldbaum

  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 heritage is White Russian and Polish. I feel a very close affinity to Italy and Italians.  My passion for Italy and Italian language, literature, and culture began at an early age, I was raised in a musical family and my mother was an opera singer with the Denver Lyric Opera who often sang in Italian (I Pagliacci, for example). I also studied voice and sang in Italian. My first formal language study was at North High School in Denver. I went on to earn my BA, MA, and Ph.D degrees in Italian and second language acquisition. In 1984, we bought a home in the Umbrian countryside, and I have returned to Italy, either with students, for research, or for vacation, every year since then.


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

My grandparents all arrived in America in the early 1900s. My maternal grandparents came directly to Denver as they had family living here. My paternal grandparents lived for a short time in New York State and came to Denver because my grandfather suffered from tuberculosis and was treated at the JCRS in Denver.


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



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

My maternal grandfather was the most influential person in my life growing up. A Russian immigrant and the father of 11 children, he lived with us after his wife passed away from the time I was born until I got married.  He was the kindest, wisest, most loving person in the world whom everyone called “Papa.”


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

Teaching is my passion and I’ve been teaching Italian since my early 20’s to language learners at all levels - children, high school, university and adult learners. I’ve been a professor of Italian at the University of Denver since 1984 where I specialize in 20th century Italian literature, culture, and cinema. During my long career at DU, I’ve taken numerous groups of students to study abroad in Italy and developed an international center at the University of Bologna.

My husband, Leonard and I, have 3 sons and two grandsons.


  1. How would you most like to be remembered?

As an informed, caring, contributing member of society, be that in the family, at an educational institution, in the community, as an American citizen, and as a citizen of our interconnected world.


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

 I joined and have been a member of the Dante Alighieri Society since its inception and have many good friends in the organization. I support the Dante in its mission to serve as a cultural and educational liaison between Italy and the U.S., the State of Colorado, and the Denver-Metro area. In particular, I applaud the Dante’s support of college and university students in Colorado with the awarding of competitive scholarships for study abroad and music grants to Italy.




Expatriamo: crescono gli italiani in fuga per lavoro.  Sono moltissimi gli italiani che dal 2008 al 2016 hanno scelto di espatriare verso Paesi in grado di offrire loro maggiori opportunità lavorative: in questi 9 anni ben 509.000 cittadini del Belpaese si sono cancellati dalle liste dell’anagrafe nazionale per spostare la propria residenza all’estero. Questo è il dato emerso dal rapporto “Il lavoro dove c’è”, presentato a Roma lo scorso 21 giugno 2017 dall’osservatorio statistico dei Consulenti del lavoro.  Negli ultimi anni molti dei nostri connazionali, giovani e meno giovani, fuggono dalla Penisola per ricercare luoghi dove è più facile trovare lavoro. Le destinazioni più attrattive sono state Germania (20 mila trasferimenti di residenza nel solo 2015), Gran Bretagna e Francia.  Il flusso degli espatriati ha subito un significativo incremento proprio a partire dal 2008. In quell’anno si registravano circa 61 mila partenze, che nel 2012 divennero circa 100 mila e nel 2015 circa 147 mila.  In questo dinamismo migratorio, tra il 2008 e il 2016, circa 300 mila cittadini dell’Est dell’Europa residenti in Italia, decidono di rientrare nella patria di origine (principalmente Romania, Polonia, Ucraina e Moldavia), in quanto la loro permanenza in Italia non era più giustificata dai redditi percepiti. Particolare è la situazione in Inghilterra nel post Brexit. Un sondaggio condotto dall’Ufficio Scientifico dell’Ambasciata Italiana a Londra mostra come l’82% dei nostri connazionali operanti nel settore accademico britannico (rappresentando la seconda comunità straniera più numerosa) stiano valutando di lasciare il Regno Unito come effetto della decisione del Paese di lasciare l’Unione Europea e che circa un terzo di loro ha in mente di tornare in Italia. Le motivazioni sono le più varie: fine dei finanziamenti dell’Unione Europea alla ricerca, calo di studenti dal continente, diminuzione degli scambi scientifici e crescente dissenso verso la politica del governo britannico nei confronti inter-università.

I flussi migratori interni  Tra il 2008 e il 2016 anche il flusso di trasferimenti interno all’Italia ha registrato un ampio tasso di crescita: più di 380 mila persone, residenti nel Mezzogiorno, si sono trasferite nelle regioni del Centro-Nord. Gli spostamenti più intensi sono partiti da Campania (160 mila disiscritti all’anagrafe dei comuni), Puglia e Sicilia (73mila).  Le regioni che hanno accolto maggiormente i cittadini sono state Lombardia (+102mila), Emilia Romagna (+82mila), Lazio (+51mila) e Toscana (+54mila).  “L’Italia è un Paese con opportunità molto diverse ed una situazione di disomogeneità interna che non ha pari in Europa. Per questo motivo i cambi di residenza da una regione ad un’altra sono notevoli e frequenti”, si legge nel rapporto citato.  Continua quindi a crescere il divario tra il Nord e il Sud del Paese, che costringe ancora oggi molti italiani ad ampliare la ricerca del lavoro oltre i confini regionali.

Trovare lavoro all’interno dei confini del comune di residenza risulta sempre più complicato. Questo “privilegio” riguarda principalmente gli occupati tra i 15 ed i 64 anni residenti in 13 grandi comuni con oltre 250 mila abitanti, come ad esempio Genova, Roma e Palermo, dove si registrano, nel 2016, oltre il 90% di occupati residenti.  Altro dato messo in evidenza dal rapporto, mostra come negli ultimi anni il lavoro presso le città di residenza sia diminuito notevolmente, mentre le opportunità sarebbero distribuite in modo disomogeneo lungo il territorio.

Come è facile immaginare, Milano è l’epicentro degli spostamenti interprovinciali del Paese, soprattutto grazie alle brevi distanze a all’intensità delle occasioni di lavoro ed ai trasporti efficienti. Le provincie maggiormente coinvolte nel discorso sono Monza e Brianza, seguite da Varese, Bergamo e Pavia.  (ItalPlanet)


The Great Pompeii Project nears the finish line: 30 domuses reopened, new lights to illuminate the ruins

The Great Pompeii Project, which began in 2012, is nearing its conclusion. “€65.4 million has been spent,” stated General Manager Luigi Curatoli, “and nine restoration sites have been opened, three more have yet to begin. By 2018, the entire €105 million plan allocated by the European Union will be completed. The new plan, with work lasting two and a half years, is definite,” Curatoli added, “the management committee will approve it in July.” In the auditorium of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, in the presence of (among others) Minister of Cultural Heritage Dario Franceschini, Minister of the South Claudio De Vincenti, and European Commission Representative Rudolf Niessler, the point was made. “All of the 2007-2013 plan’s resources have been used,” assured Niessler. The plan’s strategic focus is dedicated to Pompeii. “Currently, Pompeii is secured,” states Superintendent Massimo Osanna, “at least in all of the restored domuses.”



The real Italian gelato is breaking records in the USA

Wherever in the world you go you can see the brand of Made in Italy: the shops and the street advertising in the central streets of the biggest world’s cities promote and admire the Italian refined taste. They say, fashion is the queen. If it is, the kind is with no doubt the food! Stefano Versace, an Italian entrepreneur that has actually based his business on the world’s passion for the Italian culture and food. Despite the name, he has nothing to do with the famous stylist, but definitely knows everything about the real Italian gelato. In 4 years Stefano has opened 21 gelato bars in Florida, their number is going to reach 30 Italian gelato shops until the end of this year. Gelateria Versace, traditional places serving real Italian gelato are opening in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey and Virginia. And what is the key to success? “Our unique selling proposition is the pure Italian taste which guarantees the highest quality.” – Says Stefano Versace – “Italian gelato remains actually the only food strongly associated to Italy as pizza and coffee are perceived as international products in America. Besides, “gelato” is not at all the translation for “ice-cream”.  (We The Italians)



Heading to Venice?  Don’t forget your pollution mask.  Venetians regularly protest against the huge cruise ships docking in the city, but mass tourism is not the only problem they bring – the toxic air they pump out is harmful to locals and visitors alike.

If you’re heading to Venice on holiday this summer, don’t forget to pack your pollution mask. Worrying about toxic air might seem strange in a city with few roads and cars, but Venice’s air carries hidden risks.  Every day five or six of the world’s largest cruise ships chug into the heart of the ancient city, which hosts the Mediterranean’s largest cruise terminal. These ships advertise luxurious restaurants, vast swimming pools and exotic entertainment – but keep quiet about the hidden fumes they pump into the city’s air.  It’s one reason locals are so enraged over the impact of tourism on their famous city. Protests against cruise ships are commonplace. In May nearly 20,000 Venetians voted in an unofficial referendum, with 99% backing a motion to keep cruise ships away.

They are right to be angry.  Ship operators claim they use low-emission fuel when they are near big cities, but measurements I have taken near the port of Venice tell a different story. The fuel they burn while at berth contains more than 100 times as much sulphur as truck diesel.  (The Guardian)

LATEST NEWS FROM ITALY   Deadly earthquake hits isola d’Ischia on Monday August 21.

An earthquake rattled the Italian resort island of Ischia at the peak of tourist season Monday night, killing at least two persons and trapping a half dozen others under collapsed homes.  Police said all but one of the people known to be trapped were responding to rescuers and were expected to be extracted alive, including three children.

One person, however, wasn't responding, raising worries the death toll could rise, said Giovanni Salerno of the financial police. Italy's national volcanology institute said the temblor struck a few minutes before 9 p.m., just as many people were having dinner. The hardest-hit area was Casamicciola, on the northern part of the island. (The Guardian)


The agreement between the Vatican and the Dante has been renewed once again for the year 2017.   It allows us to visit the museums at a lower price and get in front of the long lines simply by presenting the Dante Society membership card.  The cost to visit the Museums is 16 euros per person, and 1 euro if you decide to purchase the Art and Faith DVD on the Treasures of the Vatican.

The Dante membership card may be obtained by contacting Rhonda Hopkins at 720-596-4169,, or Gianfranco Marcantonio at 303-494-3080 .

For additional privileges for Dante members while in Italy, please visit the following site: