Jan 2022 Notiziario

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Congratulazioni to Gianfranco Marcantonio on being named the Italian American of the Year by the Italian American Business Association (IABA). This well-deserved award is in recognition of his long term efforts in helping preserve and promote the Italian culture. In addition to Gianfranco’s award, the IABA named Joannie Flynn, another member of the Dante Alighieri Society, as Italian American Volunteer of the Year. I am proud to say that our Society, through its members, is receiving the recognition it deserves. On a sadder note, it was unfortunate that we were forced to cancel our Christmas Party on December11 due to the ongoing pandemic threat. We continue to hope and pray that things can return to normal as soon as possible. With that, I wish you all Felice Anno Nuovo!  John Giardino




The January 14, 2022 cultural meeting has been postponed.    Professor Steven Hughes’ talk about Why Italian Switzerland?   And why it’s important in Italy’s history will be rescheduled later in 2022. 

By most metrics of national identity Italian Switzerland (specifically the canton of Ticino) should be part of Italy. Surrounded on three sides by Lombardy and Piedmont, it appears on a map as an odd Swiss appendage thrusting down into the Bel Paese almost to Milan.  Its language, culture, cuisine, and economics have long Italian roots, and during the unification movement of the nineteenth century it was a refuge for Italian nationalists, like Giuseppe Mazzini, and a font of subversive patriotic propaganda. Volunteers from Ticino even went South to fight for Italian freedom during the revolutions of 1848. Yet, when Italy finally became a country in 1861 and some patriots called for the Italian Swiss to join the new union, the Ticinesi steadfastly refused to leave the Swiss Confederation.  As this talk will demonstrate, understanding this apparent paradox is important not only for Swiss history but also for understanding the making of modern Italy.


DONNE DI MERITO   The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver is seeking nominations for the Second 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 nominations are due on February 19, 2022. Recipients will be announced on March 11th at the Dante Alighieri Society’s cultural meeting in conjunction with International Women’s Month. Presentation of the awards will be held during the Dante Alighieri Society’s Awards Luncheon on Sunday, May 1st at the Mount Vernon Canyon Club. Deadline for nominations is 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 19, 2022. To obtain a nomination form, please call Susan Gurule at 720-484-1014 or email her at susangurule@msn.com. A nomination form is also included in the Notiziario.

Deadline for nominations: Friday, February 19 - 5:00 p.m.

Recipients announced: Friday, March 11

Presentation of awards: Sunday, May 1

Two Dante Alighieri Society of Denver Members Win Bravo! Awards.

Congratulations to Gianfranco Marcantonio and Joannie Flynn, who were the recipients of the Italian American Business Association (IABA) Bravo! Awards presented on Wednesday, December 8th. Gianfranco won the Bravo! Award for the Italian American of the Year and Joannie Flynn won the Bravo! Award for Italian American Volunteer of the Year.

Gianfranco first became an active advocate of the Italian culture in Denver by joining The Denver Lodge of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in the late 1970’s. Over the many years as a SOI member, he served in numerous capacities including historian, orator and vice president. In 1985, he and his brother Giulio and several others established the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver (DAS), one of 450 DAS organizations worldwide. Over the DAS’s thirtysix-year history, Gianfranco has been instrumental in bringing many cultural choirs and performers to Denver. While teaching Italian language at Metropolitan State University, Gianfranco was successful in getting the college to establish an Italian program as part of its curriculum.

Gianfranco has served on the DAS scholarship committee, as the organization’s historian, selects and presents Italian movies to the members and publishes the DAS’s monthly newsletter the Notiziario. Additionally, he is the DAS liaison with the Dante Alighieri Society in Rome, bridging the local organization and the national office.

Joannie belongs to numerous Italian organizations and supports them all with service on boards and volunteering. She served as Secretary of the IABA for four years, President of Il Circolo Italiano for eight years, Secretary of the Colorado Sons of Italy for two years and President of the Ladies Auxiliary Potenza Lodge for two years. Joannie also volunteered at a local food bank weekly for two years. She has supported Caruso Family Charities for years and continues to do so. She is active at Mount Carmel Church as Eucharist minister and is in the pastoral council as well as a member of the Altar and Rosary Society and the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver.

Joannie has exhibited a true Italian volunteer spirit through her unconditional love of family and service to others.  Congratulations to both of you!


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



In memory of his parents, Dr. Frank J and Mary J. Giardino, Dr. Frank W. Giardino has offered a $1000 matching grant to be used for the Dante Alighieri Scholarship Program. All donations up to that amount in total will be matched. Donations to the Dante Alighieri Scholarship Fund should be sent to Carol Marsala, 1696 Garland St., Denver, CO 80215.  As members have donated, they are pleased to learn that their contribution is matched and therefore worth twice as much.  Please join now in supporting our scholarship program, as the matching opportunity will end in the next few months.



The Society gives a warm welcome to the following new members:  Wendy Anderson, David Chapin, Ali and Jason Clerkin. Ann Fazzini, Lynette Fowler, Erin Hough, Michael Lanciloti, Claire Magrath, Christine McGettigan, Leslie Minor, Devon Myers, Giovanni Palmieri, Stephanie Panozzo, Joseph Pietrafeso, Jeff Shaver, Mark Tylutki, Derek and Melissa Weingart.



For those members who know how to play Scopa, the Dante Alighieri Society is ready to set up a regular monthly game of Scopa. It is our hope to begin the Scopa games in February. More details to follow. There will also be opportunities for those of you who don't yet know how to play, but want to learn. We'll keep you posted.