Dante ALighieri Society Denver

FEBRUARY CULTURAL MEETING   Friday, February 14, at 7:30 p.m.

The Dante Alighieri Society is having a Night at the Movies.  We will be showing an Italian film with English subtitles by Carlo Verdone, Io, loro e Lara (They, Lara and I).  Here is a brief summary:  Father Carlo is a missionary in a village in the heart of Africa, but for some time he has been experiencing symptoms of a spiritual crisis which is causing him a great deal of anxiety.  Therefore, he decides to return to Rome to discuss it with his superiors.  His spiritual father calms him down and encourages him to spend some time with his family in order to find peace of mind through the love of those dear to him.  Thus, he arrives at his father’s house and here he is met with the first of many surprises.  Members of his family are unexpectedly entangled with the mysterious Lara, who brings upheaval to family life and especially to Carlo.

As always, the showing will take place at Mount Carmel Church Parish Hall, 3549 Navajo St., Denver.


It’s that time of year again.  Membership renewal cards went out last month.  I hope you will join us for another year of interesting lectures, movies and fun.  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 2020, 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.


It’s hard to believe I’m halfway through my term as president of the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver. I feel that I’ve made some progress in fulfilling my “campaign promises” which were, and continue to be, a renewed outreach effort to our Italian language students and to other Italian organizations. I’ve regularly visited Italian classes and I’ve met with other Italian organization’s leadership. In addition, I worked with the committee which brought you October’s Italian Heritage Month. As a result we have seen an increase in memberships to the Society and opened new lines of communication with other Italian organizations. This could only have been accoomplished with the dedicated support of all of our Board and committee members. I will continue my efforts and anticipate that the next year will bring even better results!
Grazie,  John Giardino


The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver gives a warm welcome to the following new members: James Bammert, Kelsey and Justin Bannister, Sarah Burton, Melissa and Louis DiBiase, Colton Digby, Jana Durbin, Patricio Gonzales, Cathy Isaac, Maurissa Moore, Philip Mennona, Christine Tanner, Hannah Toole, Julia Viegas, and Anna Wright.

Italian American Member of the Year


On December 11, 2019, the Italian American Business Association (IABA) celebrated its annual Christmas party with a presentation of the “Bravo! Awards;” awards meant to recognize outstanding Italian Americans for their contribution to the community and promotion of Italian culture. Dante Society member Susan Gurule won the Bravo! Award for the Italian American of the Year Award. Nominated by Dante Society president John Giardino and member Rich Sabell for her coordination of the events hosted by the Dante Society during the Italian Heritage Month throughout the month of October. Other contributions cited were Gurule’s having served as the Dante Society president for one term as well as serving as the Fundraising Committee chairperson for two terms. Accepting the award Gurule thanked the individuals who nominated her, the Dante Alighieri Society Board of Directors and the Italian Heritage Month committee members.

Save the Date!


Please mark your calendars for May 3, 2020, when we will award this year's Dante Alighieri Society of Denver Scholarships.  The luncheon and ceremony will again be held at the Arvada Center, and more information will be available in the March and April editions of the Notiziario.  We hope you will all come to this signature event of our society and help us congratulate our winners.  Scholarship applications are available online at the Dante website https://dantealighieriofdenver.com, and announcements have been sent to local colleges and universities.


GRAZIE to Professor Stephen Hughes for his informative and entertaining presentation on the history of dueling in Italy and the rest of Europe.  We hope to be able to hear more from Professor Hughes in the future.

2019 Scholarship Recipients
2019 Scholarship Winners


The Dante Alighieri Society will offer a 10-week spring session of Italian language classes, beginning the week of March 23, 2020.  The schedule for spring classes will be posted on the Dante Society website by February 17, 2020.  The registration and payment deadline for the spring session is March 16, 2020.  Students must register for classes through the website.  The classes are taught by experienced and talented bi-lingual teachers, and include beginner, intermediate, conversation, and Italian literature 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 $115 for members and $145 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 suzannefasing@yahoo.com  To register for classes, visit the website:



Cari Studenti, the next meeting of the Dante Alighieri Society conversation group will be on Saturday, Jan 25, 2020, from 10:00 to 11:00 am at Brew Culture Coffee Shop, 3620 West Colfax Avenue (southwest corner of Colfax & Lowell).  There is no charge to attend.  Beverages and food are for sale at the coffee shop (no outside food or beverage, please).  Please extend the invitation to native speakers of Italian, and to your fellow language class students, and to others interested in the Dante Alighieri Society.  Cordiali Saluti, Suzanne Fasing, Education Chair, Dante Alighieri Society of Denver.


October may seem like a long time away, but it will be here before we know it. The Italian Heritage Month Committee is looking for new committee members to help make its 2020 events just as spectacular as those in 2019. If you can't be on the committee but have a few ideas of activities to be included, please contact Susan Gurule at 720-484-1014 or email her at susangurule@msn.com to join the committee or share your ideas.

A CucchiGETTING TO KNOW YOU   Anne Cucchi.

  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 maternal grandfather came from Francofonte, Sicily while my paternal grandfather came from Austria. I grew up in Torino but visited both locations where my grandfathers came from and I enjoyed both locations.


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

My husband Fausto and I first came to America in New York State, then settled in North Carolina and in 1990 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?

 Probably the most influential person in my life while growing up was my father who inspired me to always go the extra mile when dealing with clients, to be optimistic, to never give up and always be friendly with everyone I meet.

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

 I have a PHD degree in Geology but have been a successful Realtor now for 33 years. I have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, 6 grandsons, 2 granddaughters and one great granddaughter. When I am not busy with my work I like to hike, knit, read, go to the movies, be active in clubs and visit with friends.

  1. How would you most like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as a friend who really cares about you, an organizer, a planner, a patriot.

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

I joined Dante because I thought I could contribute as a native Italian.


The Society started a new feature in the Notiziario that is called “Dear Dante Alighieri Society”.  You are able to write in with your thoughts and suggestions. Letters should be 50 words or less. We will publish four letters a month and respond when appropriate.  We are anxious to hear from you and may contact Nick Napoli niju315@gmail.com or 315 Monroe St., Denver 80206.

Italian cuisine or Italian-American cuisine?

italian cuisine veggiesWhen thinking of Italian cuisine, one may think of hearty soups and even heartier plates of pasta. However, the varying regions in Italy offer a variety of specialty foods that are highly dependent on their climate and local culture.

Authentic Regional Italian Cuisine or American-Italian Cuisine? You Decide!

When thinking of Italian cuisine, one may think of hearty soups and even heartier plates of pasta. However, the varying regions in Italy offer a variety of specialty foods that are highly dependent on their climate and local culture. Some of the broader distinctions include the types of fats used, the production method and shape of their pasta, what vegetables thrive and how much foreign influence there is in that particular area. One glaring truth, however, is that authentic Italian food is not what we find in America.

risotto and polentaNorthern Italy‘s climate is more suited for cattle than olive production, and so the cuisine there is rich in butter, beef and pork. Their food is often braised and stewed with a wine base; cooks use much less tomato than their southern neighbors. Risotto and polenta are standard staples and winters bring elaborate and fulfilling soups to the table. The inner waterways provide an abundance of freshwater fish and fowl, and the coasts offer up seafood such as eel, clams and mussels. Some favorite recipes of the North are ravioli in Barbera wine, veal Parmesan, and hearty fish stews like ciuppin served with a firm and crusty bread. Many feature the formaggio d’alpeggio and fontina cheeses native to the region.


pasta dishIn Central Italy, the Italian cuisine, because of the warmer weather, provides an abundance of crops, so tomato-based dishes are more popular than in the North. The chillier inland winter weather makes it possible to grow leafy greens such as black leaf kale, and it is from this region that the world gets luxurious saffron. The world-renowned Chianina cattle graze in Tuscany, as do chickens and pigs. As such, roasting meats is more prevalent than braising. Hard-to-grow crops are abundant there, such as the ancient grain farro, and the hills and mountains of Central Italy provide chestnuts. It is from there we get Pecorino (goat’s milk) cheese. Typical dishes include game sauce, the traditional bean soup known as Pasta e Fagioli, and spaghetti alla carbonara, a delicious recipe made with pancetta or guanciale (pig cheek, bacon is OK) and fresh egg.


pizzaSouthern Italy boasts summer crops of tomato and eggplant while winter yields cauliflower and broccoli rape. The region was traditionally the poorest of Italy, and the people subsisted mainly on grains, bread and vegetables. Dry pastas are more prevalent in this area because of the months being hotter than their Central and Northern neighbors. Shepherding is more commonplace than herding, so lamb is focused prominently. Even as much of the culture was poor, some of the most opulent and famous foods hail from this section of Italy. They brought the world pizza, durum wheat spaghetti, and many sauces we all have come to know and love. Wedding soup and lasagna with ricotta are also popular. Olive oil is the preferred fat while hot pepper is the main spice.


meatballsSicily and Sardinia are Italy’s main islands, yet the only thing they share is Italy itself. Sicilian cuisine is the most eclectic of all, being influenced by all those who have sailed the Mediterranean; each introduced something new. Their cuisine varies; Messina and Trapani are abundant in fish, Palermo draws from the richness of the French that shines through in meat stews, and vegetables are main staples of Ragusa and Syracuse. Sardegna saw the sea as a threat from intruders and withdrew inland to thrive in shepherding and agriculture. Their recipes are laden with lamb and pig, with sheep or goat’s milk cheese often being featured.

“Photo credit christinascucina.com”

Italian-American cuisine differs wildly from the rich cultural nuances of traditional Italian cuisine. Immigrants here were forced to use ingredients of this land, and so a hybrid cuisine was created. As you can see, authentic Italian food is not limited to pepperoni pizza, chicken Parmigiana or plain spaghetti. As opposed to marinara, a truer sauce is fresh tomato, basil and olive oil. Italian dressing is not authentic at all; salads should be dressed with vinegar, oil, salt and perhaps a touch of pepper. Mediterranean Bruschetta (pronounced “brusketta”) is the base recipe for our garlic bread and is a much better choice as a crusty and delicious side or appetizer.

In any Italian restaurant, one might order shrimp scampi, but this dish is one that is quintessentially fusion. Langoustines are small lobster-like crustaceans that Italians could not find in our waters, so they substituted shrimp. Butter is the fat instead of olive oil, and the smaller size of the seafood require linguine or angel hair for a more satisfying meal.

American versions of genuine Italian recipes may be a favorite here, but one travel to the homeland of origin would reveal glaring disparities.  Enjoying ‘Italian’ food upon return to the States would never be the same. (from Italia mia - Italy and all things Italian).


Dante discount card

Once again, the agreement between the Vatican and the Dante has been renewed once again for the year 2020.   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, rhop626@gmail.com, or Gianfranco Marcantonio at 303-494-3080 glm3942@yahoo.com .

For additional privileges for Dante members while in Italy, please visit the following site: http://ladante.it/diventa-socio/le-convenzioni



Over the past 2 years, King Soopers has generously donated over $1,200 to our Scholarship program based on your purchases.

Unless the bottom of your King Soopers receipt says “we are donating to the Dante Alighieri Society..” the Dante isn’t benefiting from your purchase.  You can link your King Soopers loyalty card (phone #) to The Dante by selecting BF884 from King Soopers website/community rewards.  It’s a bit complicated:  contact Carol Marsala (clmarsala@gmail.com 303.237.0688) for information.

2020 Calendar


Cultural Meetings






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.