Feb 2021 Notiziario

Dante Alighieri of Denver header


I would like to express my sincere thanks and congratulations to the members of our Dante Alighieri Society of Denver Board of Directors who were installed during our ZOOM general meeting on January 15. As you know, we were unable to follow the normal election protocol this past year. Consequently, each of the Board members agreed to remain in their respective positions for another term. Their selfless dedication to you, our members, and to the Dante Society will help ensure that our organization remains viable and continues into the future. Your 2020-2021 Board of Directors is as follows:

Elected members:                                                 Appointed members:

John Giardino – President                                      Rhonda Hopkins - Membership Chair

Susan Gurule – Vice President                               Suzanne Fasing – Education Chair

Carol Marsala – Treasurer                                      Pamela Marcantonio – Scholarship Chair

Ida Casagranda – Secretary                                   Gianfranco Marcantonio – Historian and Notiziario Editor

Veronica Goodrich – Past President


FEBRUARY CULTURAL MEETING   Friday, February 12, 7:30 p.m.  (via ZOOM)

Please join fellow Dante Alighieri members for a presentation by author Andrea Pakieser, author of the book “I Belong Only to Myself – the Life and Writings of Leda Rafanelli.” Leda Rafanelli was one of the most prolific propagandists in early twentieth century Italy. She began working as a typesetter in her teens, and went on to found and run several publishing houses. Her own body of work included scores of novels, pamphlets, short stories, children’s books, essays, and poems. Rafanelli developed her own uniquely social form of individualist anarchism. She countered both patriarchy and bourgeois feminism with “feminility,” a concept that predates some similar tenets of feminism by many decades.

Andrea is a writer, translator, and teaching artist based in Denver. She is the author of “I Belong Only to Myself: The Life and Writings of Leda Rafanelli” (2014) and has contributed to several other texts concerning early 20th century Italian radicals. Her publications also include the delicious textbook, Italian Through Food.


Meeting ID: 690 439 9485 - Passcode: DAS



It’s that time of year again.  Membership renewal cards have gone out.  We 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.  Grazie, Rhonda

 MARCH CULTURAL MEETING   Friday, March 12, 7:30 p.m. (via ZOOM)  

1st annual recognition of Donne di Merito followed by a presentation by Greg Carpenter from Opera Colorado.

Dante Alighieri Society of Denver Announces the First Annual Donne di Merito Awards

The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver has long acknowledged the contributions and achievements of Italian and Italian-American women to society as a whole. It now wishes to recognize Italian and Italian-American women; donne di merito (women of merit), who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments that have contributed to the promotion, maintenance and preservation of the Italian culture. Candidates can be local, national or international women who have significant ties to Colorado and have made enduring contributions to Colorado’s Italian heritage. Awards may be given to historical or contemporary women. Award recipients will be recognized on March 12th at the Dante Society’s cultural meeting in conjunction with International Women’s Month. Because the Dante Society is not holding face-to-face meetings at this time, presentations will be done via ZOOM. Deadline for nominations is 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 5th. Kindly use the nomination form included in this Notiziario and send to:  Susan Gurule at 2424 Stuart Ct., Denver, Colorado 80211 or email her at susangurule@msn.com.

Deadline for nominations: Friday, March 5th – 5:00 p.m. 

Presentation of awards: Friday, March 12th – 7:30 p.m.


The Dante Alighieri Society will offer only online remote Italian language classes in the Spring 2021 session, using the Zoom platform.  The ten-week Spring session of classes will begin the week of March 22, 2021.  Beginner, intermediate, advanced, conversation, and Italian literature classes are offered.  The schedule of Spring classes will be posted on the Dante Society website by February 15, 2021.  Each class meets for 90 minutes, once a week.  Classes are taught by talented bi-lingual instructors who have significant experience teaching Italian with the Zoom platform.  A prerequisite for all classes is students' familiarity with Zoom before taking the first class.  The Dante Society hopes to resume in-person language classes at Mt Carmel parish for the summer session if prudent.  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:    https://dantealighieriofdenver.com/classes/language-classes/

The registration and payment deadline for the spring session is March 15, 2021.


The Dante Alighieri Society is taking a proactive and optimistic approach to Italian Heritage Month. The board is hopeful that we will be able to hold face-to-face events in October and is beginning to think about activities to be held. Toward that end, the board is seeking volunteers to serve on the Italian Heritage Month Committee (IHMC). Activities that are being considered are a gelato social, a night at the opera, a cooking class, a workshop on Dante Alighieri, an art exhibit (fundraiser), a wine tasting, Italian bingo and much more. Although the organization can’t hold all of these activities; we are fortunate that there are five Fridays and five Saturdays in October 2021, so it opens up more dates in which our members and guests can enjoy the celebration. If you are interested in serving on the IHMC please call Susan Gurule at 720-484-1014 or email her at susangurule@msn.com.


Dante Alighieri Society of Denver Website: https://dantealighieriofdenver.com/

AUGURI DI BUON COMPLEANNO   We wish our members a Buon Compleanno during their birthday month.

Erin McGee                       February 4
Veronica Goodrich           February 7
Bob Badovinac                 February 10
Mary Hanna                     February 12
Margaret Foderaro          February 15
Pamela Marcantonio       February 22
Shari Ulrich                      February 25
Tony Andrews                  February 28
Joyce Pfohl                      February 28

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 suzannefasing@yahoo.com      Grazie!

Febbraio:  I cuori pulsano:                                             February:  Hearts beat
        a ritmo accelerato,                                                          at a faster rhythm,
        per Carnevale, in maschera                                           for Carnival, when in mask
         ognuno e’ spensierato.                                                   everyone is cheerful.


The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver gives a warm welcome to:  Kristi and Rhonda Amann, Tonya Clement, Nicholas Dowd, Hadrien Dykiel, Jennifer Fontaine, Wendy Ferguson, Jessie Goldfarb, Anna and Mary Jensen, Nancy Landolfi, Judy LaSpada, Erin Lyman, Erin McGee, Kelly O’Shaughnessy, Caterina Palumbo, Alanna Pardee, Anna and Mark Romano, Luz Rossi-Jones, and Kathy Thalmann,


On Saturday, January 23, we lost one of our long-time members, Dr. Frank Giardino.  Frank, father of our President John Giardino and our member Frank W. Giardino, was a very active and gracious member. We will miss him, and our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family.  Contributions may be made to Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind or a non-profit organization of your choice.

Image by Jo Wiggijo from Pixabay


Sophia Loren stars in her latest movie “The Life Ahead” (La vita davanti a sé) directed by her son Edoardo Ponti. The film is adapted from a French novel, The Life Ahead, and tells the story of Momo, a street kid, and his encounter with Madame Rosa, played by Sophia Loren.

Mario Puzo turns 100.  Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel The Godfather was on the bestseller list for 67 weeks, selling more than 21 million copies worldwide.

Leukemia Research.  An Italian team has made a breakthrough in leukemia research raising fresh hope of treating the blood cancer better. The team has shown the effectiveness of treatment with lab-engineered cells dubbed CARCIK on acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and adults.


My idea of a newsletter is to include information about news from Italy and around the world relating to Italian culture and not only our Society’s events.  It is becoming more difficult to reproduce articles and photos from other publications without a written consent from the source.  Therefore, I encourage members to send original articles, stories, book reviews, humorous anecdotes, and recipes to be included in future Notiziarios.  Email to glm3942@yahoo.com  Grazie, Gianfranco Marcantonio

GETTING TO KNOW YOU:   Phyllis Ursetta

  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?

The Borelli and Tate family originated in Potenza and Abruzzi and came to the US in the late 1800’s “without papers”. They came into this country through Ellis Island.  Once they settled in the US they sent for their “mail-order brides” and settled in Denver, CO shortly after.  My grandfather Tate worked for the railroad and my grandfather Borelli had a macaroni factory.  I have visited Italy and enjoyed the beautiful landscape, art, food, religion, and history.  Hope to go back again soon and investigate my origin further.                                                                                                   

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

If I had to describe myself in one word:  I guess my answer would be” determined" because I was able to accomplish all my dreams, raise my family, be successful in business, travel and stay sane doing it.

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

My parents were the most influential to me growing up; they taught me to never give up, have a positive attitude, the joy of music, and the determination to be successful.

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

I have 4 beautiful children, lost my daughter Kimie 4 years ago at the age of 50.  She had been ill most of her life which was one of my challenges in raising her, but the joy she taught all of us will leave a lasting lesson on our hearts.  My other children a daughter and two sons have all become kind, generous caring and successful adults and all have their own businesses.  We all had a strong sense of humor which kept us going through thick and thin and enjoyed camping, fishing, water skiing, snow skiing, food, cooking, (I won a blue ribbon for my spaghetti sauce and won a trip to New York and a lifetime supply of Grandma’s frozen noodles). My daughter Lori had insisted that I enter the contest so I took her with me to New York.  I’ve been in Real Estate for 27 years and have my own brokerage.  Started my career with Dana Crawford, the lady who started the residential movement with Lofts and Condos in Downtown Denver.  I love to travel and have visited 5 continents.  I sing in the Mt. Carmel Choir and have been a choir member for 10 years.  Also, wrote a book along with my sister called “My Life in The Middle of the Mob”.  We have sold over 1000 copies and still going.

  1. How would you most like to be remembered?

Would like to be remembered as a strong, determined, caring, generous person and that there is always hope no matter how hard this life becomes

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

I was attracted to the Dante Alighieri Society through Church where I would get information on functions you were planning and a general interest in what the Society wanted to accomplish.

2021 Calendar





June 11- Night at the movies

Annual picnic – July 25


Answer to Indovinello (riddle):  La neve (snow)



Summer Session begin June 21

Nomination Form - Donne di Merito (Women of Merit)

Nominee’s Full Name: ___________________________________________________________________

Nominee is:     ____ Contemporary   _____ Historical

Birth Place (City, State, Country):___________________________________________________________

Nominee’s Home Contact Information (for contemporary nominees):

Name: ________________________________________________________________________________


Home Address:____________________________________________________________________________

City: ________________________    State: _____________________        Zip: _______________________


Home Phone: ________________________      Cell Phone: _____________________________________

Home email address: ____________________________________________________________________


Nominee’s Background Information (1000 words or less):

* Provide a one or two sentences summary about the nominee.

* Describe the Nominee’s significant ties to Colorado.


Criteria Questions:

  1. Describe how the nominee has made significant and enduring contributions to her field(s) of endeavor. For historical nominees, please provide her dates of birth and death.


  1. Describe the specific ways in which the nominee and her accomplishments have contributed to the promotion and maintenance of the Italian culture.


  1. What other information about the nominee would you like the Selection Committee to know or consider?


  1. Do not attach another bio, resume or article as a substitute.


Please note: All nominees are judged on the specified criteria. Nominator names are not provided to the Selection Committee. Letters of recommendation are not accepted. Nominees are selected on merit, not endorsement.

Please email a completed copy of this nomination form to:

Susan Gurule, Dante Alighieri Society of Denver 2424 Stuart Ct., Denver, Colorado 80211 or e-mail

susangurule@msn.com  (phone 720-484-1014)