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November 2023


Thanks to the leadership and hard work of the Committee, Italian Heritage Month has been a success. The varied events have honored and celebrated the contributions of Italians to society. While attendance at most events has been good, I hoped for larger numbers. Likewise, I would like to see increased participation at next year’s events. The Committee brainstormed to determine what to offer that Italophiles might want to see. But it makes sense to me that you, the members, are the best source of that information. If you attended any events, and, more importantly, if you didn’t, what would you like to see next year that would make you want to be a part of, or a bigger part of the Italian Heritage Month celebration? This is your organization, and we want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. I’m here to listen and learn, so please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions on this or any topic.

Grazie, John Giardino


The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver invites the community to discover and enjoy different aspects of Italian culture as we continue to celebrate Italian Heritage Month throughout October. We hope you will join us for our final event.

On Friday evening, Oct 27, at 7:30 pm, we will take a Musical Journey into Heaven and Hell and La Vita Nuova via classical music inspired by Dante Alighieri. Noted music historian Betsy Schwarm will share with us music by various composers including Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Ponchielli and Pacini, all who were inspired by Dante Alighieri's literary masterpieces, The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova. Refreshments will be served at this free event.

LOCATION:  Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church Parish Hall.
ADDRESS:  3549 Navajo Street, Denver.

Proclamations by the State of Colorado and the City of Northglenn
October as Italian Heritage month.


On Friday, November 10, we will enjoy our annual soup exchange. Fall brings back wonderful memories of crispy air, warm sweaters, chilly nights and hot soup with crusty bread. Dig through your recipes and pick one of your favorites - it doesn't have to be Italian- to share with your fellow Dante Alighieri Society members. Please make a large batch (a large crock pot size) for others to sample.  Anyone who chooses not to bring a soup can pay $5 to sample all the varieties. The Dante Alighieri Society will provide the beverages, bread and dessert. Please email Rhonda Hopkins at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at 720-596-4169 to let her know what soup you plan to bring. We want to be sure everyone is not bringing the same soup. We encourage everyone to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Bienvenidos Food Bank. Any money collected will also be donated to the food bank. Please note that the evening will begin earlier than usual at 7:00 p.m. in the parish hall of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church at 3549 Navajo Street, Denver.

This event is for members only.


The Society’s fall session of Italian language classes has begun. The 10-week winter session of Italian language classes begins the week of January 8, 2024.  The schedule for winter classes will be posted on the Dante Alighieri Society website by December 1, 2023.  The classes are taught by experienced and talented bilingual teachers and include beginner, intermediate, and advanced 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.



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

Lupe Elias-Hedglin - 2
Shandra Belknap - 3
Adam Lombardi - 4
Alisa DiGiacomo - 6
Nick D’Adamio - 7
Carrie Licata - 8
Alicia Todd - 8
Anissa Madrill - 9
Tiernan McKay - 11
Kristine Berlute - 11


Chelsie Scanlon - 11
Rhonda Hopkins - 13
Monica Wendelin - 21
Collette Wagner - 22
Lauren Scalmanini - 23
Taylor Benson - 25
Greg DiPaolo - 25
Tonia Williams - 26
Dee Trujillo-Treloar - 27
Joe Birge - 30


Hospitality Chairperson Camilla Marcantonio would like to thank the members who have provided refreshments for the cultural meetings.  If you would like to contribute to our gatherings in this way, please contact Camilla at the following:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TIPS ON ITALY by Tonya Clement  Cheat sheet when buying Italian Wines

tipsI have always said wine tastes better in Italy.  I am not sure if the shipping of great Italian wines damages the product due to temperature changes or if it just tastes better because it is paired with fresh meals prepared in Italy.  The US imports a lot of Italian wine so I thought I would provide a few tips on how to make a good purchase. 

If you want to be sure you are getting a truly authentic wine that is produced under the most rigid standards look for a DOC designation on your bottle.  In 1963 Italy introduced this classification to guarantee the quality standard of certain wines.  All DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) wines and some DOC wines will have a paper band that wraps around the neck or over the cork that contains a serial number.  Bottles with this classification can be trusted to follow strict production rules such as where the grapes can be grown, what varieties are allowed and how the wine must be aged.  This serial number is a means of preventing counterfeiting. 

Some lesser wine classifications are as follows:

VdT (Vino da Tavola) which means the wine is made from grapes grown anywhere in Italy and are rarely of a high quality.  This is the most basic level of Italian wine. 

IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) tells you the grapes in the bottle should come from the region stated on the label but be aware the wine is not required to adhere or confirm to any strict standards.  Often, but not always, these wines are of lower quality than a DOC wine.  Not only are there producers that release great wines in this category, but they may simply not want to adhere to the DOC restrictions or they may want to produce a wine made from grape varieties.

When you buy a DOC labeled bottle, you are getting a wine that adheres to one of 329 DOCs (designation of controlled origin) in Italy.  Each DOC has its own rules about permitting grape varieties, maximum harvest yields and aging requirements. 

DOCG is the highest classification and denotes wine of the highest quality.  This designation was created in 1980 and was meant to signify the truly best.  If you visit many wine producers in Italy, you will find they are very proud to show off their wine with this designation. I saw this a lot particularly in the Barolo region where this wine is made only of the Nebbiolo grape in Piemonte.  I understand the same holds true of the Brunello wine which is made from the Sangiovese grape found in Tuscany.  Every DOCG wine is subjected to official tasting procedures.

There are just a few other classifications to be on the lookout for.  If you see Riserva on your label this tells you that your wine has been aged significantly longer than normal.  A Superiore classification tells you the wine has at least a .5% higher alcohol content than regular wines from the region, and it also tells you the wine has been aged and harvested according to regional standards.  When you see Classico it tells you the wine was made in the historic center of the region. 

This should give you a good start when you are standing in the aisle of Italian wines at your local liquor store.  It can be overwhelming.  Just remember, you do not have to spend a fortune to get a good bottle of wine. 


newsA brown bear named Amarena was recently shot dead near San Sebastiano Dei Marsi, Italy, leaving her two young cubs motherless . The bear was known for peacefully strolling around local villages with her cubs and was considered a pillar for the conservation of the Apennine brown bear in central Italy . 

The bear was one of about 60 critically endangered Marsican bears that live in the Abruzzo National Park and are native to central Italy.  The man who shot the bear with a rifle told police that the animal was on his property and he felt in danger.  Her current young cubs were found following a search and are being cared for by park authorities.

A personal note on how my family in Italy reacted to the killing of Amarena, mother of two cubs:   My family, like the rest of Italy, was angered by this tragic event and proposed to honor the memory of the fallen bear by commissioning artist Nicola Di Totto to design and paint a mural.  My cousin Aldo Colantonio, along with his sister Lola, brothers Nicola and Pietro and their families, offered as a location for the mural an outside wall of their own house in my native town of Cansano in the province of Aquila not far from where the tragedy took place.  I am indeed proud of my cousins.  Gianfranco Marcantonio



November 10


October 27
Musical Presentation
By Betsy Schwarm

December 9
Annual Christmas Party


January 8
Winter session begins

The Dante Alighieri Society have been invited to attend these events at the University of Denver.





October 3 – Denver Art Museum


October 6- Obtaining Italian Citizenship

ihm04 ihm05 ihm06

October 15 – La Dolce Vita -  Colette Wagner and her Destination Dance Troupe


Repicci’s Gelato


October 20 – Tombola


Book sellers


October 21 – It’s a Pizza Party


October 2023 IHM Committee

The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver strives to share and celebrate
the richness of the Italian culture and language with the entire community.