May 2021 Notiziario

Dante Alighieri of Denver header


Looking out my window this morning, it looked more like winter than spring. Spring, that time of year when we begin to see the change of seasons - new life, new growth, new hope. In spite of the snow, there is a sense of new for the Dante Alighieri Society. Maybe it is just a return to the old, but it’s been so long ago it seems new. On Sunday May 2, we will once again have our annual Scholarship Luncheon, getting together to celebrate our scholarship winners, recognize our Donne de Merito awardees and enjoy being face-to-face with each other. The Mount Vernon Canyon Club will be following all the COVID-19 protocols to keep us safe, but we’ll be together and that’s what counts. For details, see the attached reservation form. Hope to see lots of you there!  John Giardino.


We are happy to be able to hold our annual awards luncheon on Sunday, May 2 at the Mt. Vernon Canyon Club at 12:00 noon. This will be our first in-person event in over a year and a return to awarding scholarships to deserving college students planning to study in Italy in the fall of 2021.

The event will also feature a musical performance by Angela Mendez, a prominent actress and singer in Denver. We will be recognizing this year’s recipients of the Donne di Merito Awards, Professor Roberta Waldbaum of the University of Denver and Genevieve Fiore, an international humanitarian known as Colorado’s “First Lady for Peace and International Cooperation”.

A three-course plated lunch will be served, with an entree choice of Chicken Marsala or Roasted Vegetable Risotto. The deadline for reservations is Saturday, April 24, so we urge you to reserve using the form on our website. Please note the location of this year’s event:

Mt. Vernon Canyon Club Colorado
24933 Clubhouse Circle
Golden, Colorado 80401


The Dante Alighieri Society is currently offering the 10-week spring session of Italian language classes, which began the week of March 22 on the Zoom platform.  The summer session of classes will begin in June, and registration will begin on the Society website in mid-May.  Information will also be provided in the Notiziario. The classes are taught by experienced and talented bi-lingual teachers, and include beginner, intermediate, advanced, and conversation classes.  Each class meets for 90 minutes, once a week.  Depending upon public health conditions, the Dante Society hopes to resume in-person language classes for the summer session at Mt Carmel parish, 3549 Navajo Street, Denver.  Alternatively, classes will be offered on the Zoom platform.  The website will clearly state whether summer classes will be in person or on Zoom.  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  Information about the classes is also available on the web site:



Even though the Society has not been able to meet in person, ZOOM has come to our aid and made it possible to provide our members with interesting programs and to hold our Board meetings.

On Friday, March 5, the Society held the first annual awards for Merito di Donne, Women of Merit.

The awards are based on the outstanding accomplishments by women that have contributed to the promotion, maintenance and preservation of the Italian culture.  The recipient of the contemporary award went to Roberta Waldbaum, and the historical went to Genevieve Fiore.

On the same night, we enjoyed the presentation by Greg Carpenter, General and Artistic Director of Opera Colorado, who presented the initiation of a new artistic vision for the company.

On Saturday March 27, from Matera, Italy, we were treated to a fantastic presentation and concert by Giulia Olivieri to celebrate and commemorate Dante Alighieri on the 700<sup>th</sup> anniversary of his death. Below is the link to Giulia’s concert if you would like to see it.

Giulia Olivieri Passcode: 4Y5N?ysS

Dominic Dezzutti 

Dominic Dezzutti 

Father Hugh Guentner

Father Hugh Guentner

Finally, on Friday, April 9, we had a most informative panel discussion on the 125 year history of the North Denver Italian Church:  Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  We thank the following presenters: Father Hugh Guentner, OSM, Pastor of the church, Dominic Dezzutti, station manager PBS 12 and producer of a North Side Story, Crystal Peccia, pastoral assistant and religious education director, and Fran Daly, historian and participant into making the church an historical site.



On March 25th, the world celebrated DanteDi’, and we were able to attend via ZOOM a special lecture sponsored by the American University of Rome, 21st Century Reflections on the Divine Comedy’s Timeless Message. You may play the video on YouTube but please notice that it is audio only for the first three minutes and then the video starts.  The lecture has been recorded on YouTube at this link:


GETTING TO KNOW YOU   Dina Horwedel (first on the left).

  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 Italian ancestors are from Basilicata/Calabria. They are from a tiny town called Oriolo that backs up to Pollino National Park, and Trebisacce, on the Ionian Sea.

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

My great grandfather arrived in 1910 and settled on Lake Erie in Ohio. Mostly all of my Italian family is still there.

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

Adventurous. I have lived and worked all over the world. I like to tell people that the first time I visited Italy was actually in Afghanistan--I had a meeting with the Italian ambassador at the embassy there, just a few hours south of Balkh, where Marco Polo had traveled. Embassies are considered part of the state that runs them.

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

My mother. She taught me about art, music, language, and our Italian culture.

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

I work for the American Indian College Fund. I have a background in law and journalism, and my work helps Native Americans go to college and increase visibility and equity for Native students in higher education. I am married and my husband and I have worked all over the globe together. He is an award-winning writer and has published 15 books, most non-fiction on human rights issues and now is writing fiction. We have grandkids all over the country. We both enjoy hiking, travel, camping, and are voracious readers and love writing. I also enjoy singing and gardening but confess that coming from the glacial till of Ohio, I have never really gotten the hang of it here, so if anyone has pointers, let me know! I am jealous of people who manage to produce beautiful tomatoes and peppers!

  1. How would you most like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as someone who was kind and deeply curious. I believe to be a true citizen of the world, one has to be curious--interested in history, geography, geology, art, music, culture, agriculture, and more--because all of those things define people. Without curiosity, you cannot understand others.

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

 I wanted to learn the Italian language better but also my heritage as well as get to know the Denver Italian-American community. 

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

birthday cake

           Mary Jensen               May 1
           Maria Hauch               May 4
           Camilla Marcantonio May 13
           Phyllis Ursetta            May 23
           Patty Paul                   May 24
           JM Wands                   May 24


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


Mese del cuore                                   Month of the Heart

Son Maggio, mi chiamano il mese piu’ bello       I am May, they call me the most beautiful month

Di fiori e colori io porto un mantello;                    I wear a cape of flowers and colors

Odoro di glicine e di biancospino,                       I smell  of wisteria and hawthorn,

Di tutte le rose che ho sempre vicino:                 Of all the roses that surround me,

Sul cuore mi splende, divina armonia,                The brightest shines in divine harmony,

la Mistica Rosa di nome Maria.                           The Mystic Rose of Mary.



As I continue my pursuit of studying the Italian language, I strive to find words that are commonly used by the people of Italy.  It is only natural that I wish to blend in and show the locals that I have invested in understanding how to communicate effectively.  The word that I have chosen this month is ParecchioParecchio means “a lot”, “in large quantity” or “several.”

Before I selected this word, I decided to ask a person who taught Italian for many years if she used the word herself.  Her response could not have been more perfect, “Te lo devo confessare, uso quella parola parecchio.”  Translated she said to me, “I must admit it, I use that word often.”  Now had I tried to respond using my basic skill, I would have said, “E’ vero, uso molto quella parola.”  The beautiful music comes from her response versus my response.  In this context parecchio was used as an adverb but do not be fooled as it can also be used as an adjective.  It will not be uncommon to hear an Italian say, “Ho fatto parecchi errori.”  Note the word must be now be written in the plural and masculine form.  An example of the feminine plural form would be, “Ho fatto parecchie fotografie con la mia fotocamera.”  It can also be a pronoun, as in, “In pochi giorni a Roma, ho visto parecchio”.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s Italian Tips.  If you have a word or phrase that you use often or would like us to highlight, please send it to Gianfranco.

INDOVINELLO:   Quali sono le chiavi che non aprono mai nessuna serratura? 

Which keys do not open any lock?  (See answer on last page.)


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


The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington State cordially invites you to the upcoming event on April 28, 2021.

  • When:April 28, 2021 – 7:30 p.m. PT
     Maurizio Igor Meta
    Topic: “Ellis Island”
    Location: Online - Zoom

Maurizio Igor Meta on the Presentation:

“Ellis Island” is the Journey of Life. It is not only a project related to my memory, my identity, and to the deep connection with my land and roots, but it is something that affects every human being: it is a Tribute to the Origin, a tribute to that inborn ability of the human being to challenge the unknown. At the Origin of our lives, when we are born, we face that challenge for the first time. Immigrants face it again, taking a “leap in the dark to leap in Life”.

In the Presentation we will open a time-gate on the late 1800s Italian immigration, we will talk about the origin of the project and how the experience of retracing the steps of my great grandfather turned in artworks, and we will listen to the sound composition of the installation “The first ship” to experience the ocean crossing of our fathers and the many immigrants of that age.

  • Sara Dallavalle, PhD | Assistant Instructional Professor in Italian. The University of Chicago | Dept. of Romance Languages & Literatures

Dear colleagues,  please note the upcoming event “In Conversation with Tim Parks”, in which the author will present his recent book Italian Life (just translated in Italy by Rizzoli). The event is taking place on Thursday April 29th at 4PM CST and it’s sponsored by the Italian Language Program of the University of Chicago.   Here is the Zoom link to register for the event:


Dante Alighieri Society of Denver


Answer to Indovinello (riddle):  Le chiavi musicali (musical keys).

2021 Calendar



September 10


Annual picnic – July 25

Cooking class – August 14

October – Italian cultural month


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



Fall Session begin September 20