Mar 2022 Notiziario

Dante Alighieri of Denver header


The Dante Alighieri Board at work

The Dante Alighieri Board at work

On February 5, 2022, under the guidance of a trained facilitator, the Board of Directors participated in a retreat to discuss the history, current status and the future of the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver. First order of business was the creation of a mission statement particular to our Denver society. The balance of our time was spent on a S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. From that discussion it was determined that there are three priorities that need to be addressed by the Society -1. A Succession Plan 2. Communications, and 3. Programs. In the months ahead, the Board, with critical input from members and others, will be hashing out details to address these priorities. Please be prepared to share your ideas, concerns, or suggestions honestly and openly, utilizing whatever means is developed to gather input from current, past, and potential members. We, as your Board of Directors, have undertaken this task to ensure that the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver remains timely and relevant to everyone who wants to experience and celebrate the Italian culture and language. We’ll keep you informed of our progress.  Grazie a tutti! John Giardino


“Rome as Seen Through the Eyes of Students”

Dr. Roberta Waldbaum is Teaching Professor of Italian, the Anna Maglione-Sie Endowed Chair in Italian Culture, and Associate Chair in the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Denver (DU) where she teaches Italian language, literature, film and culture in the Italian Program and in the common curriculum. One of Dr. Waldbaum’s classes in her undergraduate course is “Roman Images in Literature and Film.”  Think about the movies you’ve watched: Ben Hur, Gladiator, the Passion of the Christ, Roman Holiday, La Dolce Vita, not to mention the numerous movies featuring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni and so many more. Additionally, there is a plethora of books featuring Rome.

So, with that much fodder for creativity, Dr. Waldbaum asked her students to unlock their creative imaginations and complete Cultural Projects that sparked their interest and imaginations. For example, they wrote original short stories or poems, created scientific, engineering, and digital inventions, produced art projects like sketches or paintings, and created musical videos. Join us on Friday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Hall to have your memory refreshed and enhanced as you watch an entertaining presentation and see one-of-a-kind art objects from the students’ favorite Italian cities. The event will take place at Mount Carmel Parish Hall at 7:30 p.m., 3549 Navajo St., Denver.  In case of inclement weather, you will be notified via email prior to the presentation.

Public Health Guidelines will be followed at all events.


As part of our March cultural program, we will welcome back our two 2021 scholarship winners, Claire Steffek and Isabella Rizzo, who will talk about their experiences in Italy last fall.  Both young women are students at the University of Denver.  Claire spent the semester in Torino and Bella studied in Perugia.  Below is a preview of what they will share with us.

I had a wonderful three months in Torino, full of culture, wine, and great food! I lived in a large, old apartment with three other American girls in the same program as me. I had a great time meeting other students my age and learning how to cook traditional foods in our cooking class together. I also spent a lot of time traveling around Northern Italy, including trips to Milan, Siena, and my personal favorite, Le Cinque Terre. Le Cinque Terre has a special place in my heart because I spent a whole year as an exchange student in a small town just outside of it called Sarzana. I had the opportunity to make four separate trips back to my “home” town and got to catch up with my old host families and close friends. I even got to take two trips to Spain, one to Majorca and another to Barcelona, to meet up with my two roommates from the University of Denver who were also studying abroad! I had an amazing couple of months there that I will cherish forever. 

--Claire Steffek

My time abroad is hard to put into words. So many different parts of my life changed for the better. If I had to put it simply, when I was in Perugia I knew I was right where I needed to be, both for my education and self-development. Living abroad was more than a vacation; transiting to studying, living and learning in a culture different from my own challenged my self-reliance and independence. I am so privileged to have had the opportunity to study and live in a country that means so much to my identity. It is because of the generosity of the Dante Alighieri society that I was able to have such a significant life experience. It is hard to choose, but the Food and Sustainability Studies Program with the Umbra Institute had a great impact on me and my educational career. I experienced parts of the cultural cuisine I could have never imagined. Thank you to the society for welcoming me and sharing a collective passion for the Italian language and culture. 

--Isabella Rizzo



It’s that time of year again.  Membership renewal cards will be going out at the end of the month.  I hope you will join us for another year of interesting lectures and activities as permitted.  Please review the information on the card and make any corrections before mailing it back to me with your payment.

Attention students:  If you plan to continue taking language classes in 2022, it will be necessary for you to renew your membership regardless of when you joined the DAS.  Please pay for your class and membership at the same time.  If I receive payment prior to mailing the renewal cards, I will not send a card to you.  Instead, I will check your current information from your registration and fill the card out for you.  Grazie, Rhonda

NOTICE   Memberships not renewed by March 31 will be deleted from roster in April.


On Sunday, May 1, 2022, our Society will hold its annual spring awards luncheon at the Mount Vernon Canyon Club.  We will recognize the 2022 recipients of the Donne di Merito Awards and award scholarships to this year’s winners.  The event will begin at noon with a cash bar followed by a plated lunch.  Details will be included on the reservation form to be sent out soon and in the April Notiziario so please plan to join us that day.




, the Dante Alighieri Society held a Carnevale themed cooking class in the Parish Hall of Mt. Carmel Church. Chef Adam Giardino once again dazzled us with his original menu and culinary skills.  We started with potato medallions in a wonderful cream sauce that were surrounded by cured meats and after two more delectable courses we ended with a wonderful ricotta cake. A good time was had by all as we worked together to create this fabulous lunch.



The Spring 2022 session of Italian language classes offered by the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver will be in-person language classes at 3549 Navajo Street, Denver 80211 in the parish office of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.  Each class meets for 90 minutes, once a week, for 10 weeks, beginning the week of March 28, 2022.  The class schedule is listed below, and it is also posted on the Society website.  Classes are taught by talented bi-lingual instructors who have significant experience teaching Italian.  Cost is $115 for members and $145 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  To register and pay for classes, visit the web site:

COVID policies for classes:

The health of our students and teachers is very important to the Dante Alighieri Society and for this reason, all students registering for in-person Italian language classes must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  Masks will be required in the classroom whenever required or recommended by the City of Denver, or the State of Colorado, or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The registration and payment deadline for the spring session is March 21, 2022.


Beginner 1. Thursdays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning June 23, 2022 through September 1, 2022 (no class on July 14) (Brunetti).   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 New Italian Project 1a 

Beginner 2.  Wednesdays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning June 22, 2022 through August 31, 2022 (no class on July 13) (Brunetti). 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 New Italian Project 1a

Beginner 3.  Mondays, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, beginning June 20, 2022 through August 29, 2022 (no class on July 4) (Brunetti).  In this class, students will build upon their prior studies through listening, reading and writing activities. Topics include past and future verb tenses, and the required text will be covered in its entirety.  Emphasis will be placed on everyday conversational situations using grammar and vocabulary from the textbook. Required Text: The New Italian Project 1a

Beginner 4.  Wednesdays, 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm, beginning June 22, 2022 through August 31, 2022 (no class on July 13) (Brunetti).  In this class, students will build upon their prior studies through role plays, listening, reading and writing activities. Topics include future verb tenses and learning about holidays and train travel in Italy.  Intermediate level material will also be introduced.   Required Text: The New Italian Project 1a And The New Italian Project 1b


Intermediate 4.  Thursdays, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, beginning June 23, 2022 through September 1, 2022 (no class on July 14) (Brunetti).  In this class students will continue to expand their vocabulary and understanding of more advanced grammatical concepts through listening activities, role play, readings, videos, conversation and written assignments.  Topics include the present and past conditional tenses and review of Italian Project 1a and 1b.  Required Text: Italian Project 1b




The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver gives a warm welcome to the following new members:
Laurie Saccomanno and Philip Fiore.



We wish our members a Buon Compleanno during their birthday month.


Kristi Amann                  March 9
Gianfranco Marcantonio   March 9
Mary Beth Bonacci        March 14
Tom Treloar                    March 16
Carleigh Maloney          March 18
Lee Matranga                March 18
Ali Clerkin                      March 22
Wendy Anderson          March 25
Luz Rossi-Jones             March 26
Erin Lyman                     March 29


We want to include more members in this column, so please send a quick email, with your birthday month and day, to Dante Society board member, Suzanne Fasing, at      Grazie!                                                                  


Mese del cuore

Son matto, son folle e Marzo mi chiamo

ma ho sempre qualcosa per quelli che amo:

giacinti, narcisi, primule e viole

mi spuntano intorno nel tiepido sole,

io faccio col vento dei tiri mancini

e arruffo I capelli  a grandi e piccini.

Month of the heart

I am crazy, I am mad and March is my name

but I always have something for those I love:

hyacinths, narcissus, primroses and violets

bloom all around in the mild sun,

I do sinister tricks with the wind

and rufflle hair of the young and old.

INDOVINELLO  ( RiddleQual e’ la citta’che alza il bicchiere e dispensa auguri?  (Which Italian city lifts the glass and makes a toast?)

La risposta a pagina sei - (answer on page six)



For those members who know how to play scopa, the Society has arranged the first gathering for Friday, March 11 at 5:00 p.m. before the cultural meeting, at Mount Carmel Parish Hall (3549 Navajo St., Denver).  This is a trial and we will then decide if there is a more opportune date and time.  It is IMPORTANT that you sign up by contacting Gianfranco at or 303-494-3080 at least 2 days prior to the event.

There will also be future opportunities for those of you who don’t yet know how to play the game but want to learn.  We will keep you posted.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU:   Joanne Velotta Flynn

  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 name is Joannie Flynn (née Velotta). I’m a second-generation Italian American. Our family migrated from Southern Italy.  I traveled to Italy several times and fell in love with the people and the country. On one of my trips, I visited Campo Basso where I met a distant cousin Antonio.

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

I was raised in Denver, graduated from Mt. Carmel High School class of 1955.  My father was a professional musician, with a music studio in our home, mother worked at Samsonite. We had the traditional Sunday family dinner every week, all were invited.  I had 2 sisters and 1 brother. My husband and I have 3 children, 9 grandchildren and 2 greats.

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

I like to think of myself as a happy, helpful person.

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

In 1962 my husband Ron and I purchased a franchise in Tupperware Home Parties. We built a very successful business covering 4 states. Our sales ranked in the Top in the Nation. This awarded us the opportunity to travel the world as guest of Tupperware. I am an active member of the Tupperware Alumni.  I love to read and belong to two book clubs. I’m a big puzzle worker. I love to collect many things. One of my favorites collections is village houses and nativities to display at Christmas time. I teach Microwave cooking classes in my spare time.

  1. How would you most like to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered for my integrity and my smile and as a person who loves my family, loves to travel, and loves my friends.

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

I enjoy being active in the Italian Community here in Denver.  I am a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church where I serve on the Pastoral Council and am a member of the Altar and Rosary Society. I am also an active member of The Sons of Italy Lodge, Potenza Lodge, Secretary for the Italian American Business Assoc., Italian heritage research group, and new member of Dante Alighieri. As a new member I’m enjoying the cultural events and cooking classes.

TIPS ON ITALY   By Tonya Clement.

As members of the Dante Alighieri Society, you understand how much pride the organization shares in furthering the study of the Italian language through scholarship and classes.  As a new member and beginner student, I have grown immensely fond of the language.  As I grapple with basic pronunciation and spelling, I see the many areas where Americans are just saying Italian words flat out WRONG.  It is due in part to having no formal role models or in some cases to mixing the rules of the English language with the rules of the Italian language.  Let’s face it, we cannot all go back and study Latin so we just have to practice.  I was told early on by my instructor that the most common mistake a beginner can make is trying to do literal translations from English to Italian.  For example, in the US when asked our age we say, “I am 58” but Italians say, “I have 58 years.”  Italians are not their age, but they have accumulated a certain number of years.

It is inevitable that mistakes will happen when studying a new language.  Here I will share a few reminders of some common mistakes to avoid. In the US to make a word plural, we add an “s” to the end of the word where in Italy, to make a word plural the vowel on the end is changed to another vowel.  Look around and you will commonly see signs that say “Paninis $7.95 each.”  Do you see the confusion?  It is wrong to go to Italy and order, Un panini per favore.”.  The proper request would be, “Un panino per favore.”

The one that really drives me crazy is the way many people pronounce the word espresso.  It often is stated as eXpresso.  In the US we associate the word Express with anything fast. Take express shipping as with FedEx.  This one is a bit of a mystery, but I think it is due in part because Italians often stand at the counter and order an espresso which typically is served and consumed quickly and we are used to saying EXPRESS for anything happening fast.

I will close with perhaps what is the most common word you will use when speaking Italian – Grazie.  Anyone new to the Italian language will often notice there are so many syllables with the Italian language.  Italian is indeed a phonetic language and therefore to truly speak it properly, it is very important that to sound out every syllable. Most often I witness people cutting off the final syllable and simply saying, grah-tzi omitting the “eh” on the end.  To really sound Italian you must put your all into this word and say grah-tsee-eh.  With a little practice it sounds so lovely.

2022 Calendar


June 10


May 1 – Scholarships and awards Luncheon

May 15 – Operatic recital 





Summer session June 2022                                                 


  • Searching For Italy Season 2! Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy Season 2 is all set to hit your television screens after its full-packed performance in the first season.
  • Rome is the best destination in the world for food lovers at least according to the Travellers' Choice Awards 2022 of the famous online review portal.  On the podium there are London and Paris.
  • Vittorio Gasman centennial Late great Italian actor Vittorio Gassman will be celebrated by the Los Angeles-Italia Film Fashion and Art Festival, which will run March 20-26 at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theater.
  • Mount Etna erupts again  A volcanic thunderstorm over Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy, generates volcanic lightning during an eruption, early Friday, Feb. 11, 2022.
  • Gianluigi Aponte, a captain by training, entered the shipping industry in 1970 with his wife Rafaela. Their company MSC has become the second-largest shipping line in the world by vessel capacity.
  • 'Queen of Italian cinema' Monica Vitti dies. The actress starred in a string of landmark 1960s films made by director Michelangelo Antonioni.
  • Rome villa with Caravaggio mural fails to sell. The starting price of €471m for the Villa Aurora and its unique art proved too high.
  • Famed Italian cliffs streaked red by vandals. Sicily's Scala dei Turchi are visited by thousands of tourists every year.
  • At 80, Italy president stays on amid successor row. Sergio Mattarella agreed to stay on after ruling parties failed to find a compromise candidate.
  • Italian Genealogy. Several tools are available bothonline and through the mail. As long as you have some basic information with regards to your Italian ancestors, you should be able to find a wealth of information.
  • Package to help economy.  Italy's government approved measures worth around 6 billion euros ($6.81 billion) to help consumers and firms hit by a rise in energy bills, as part of an 8 billion euro package to support the economy.
  • Construction rise in EU in 2021. Italy showed the second highest construction production rise in the EU in 2021, 19.3%, according to Eurostat.  The highest rise, 29%, was in Hungary,