Dante ALighieri Society Denver


Once again, it’s time to celebrate being Italian! The proclamation the Dante Society drafted last year acknowledging the contributions Italians have made to the State of Colorado has been submitted to Governor Polis for his signature. While COVID may prohibit us from meeting face to face; it won’t stop us from enjoying special events, special presentations and seeing each other via ZOOM.

The Dante Society of Denver will kick off its celebration of Italian Heritage Month on:

  • Saturday, October 3rd from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with a virtual wine tasting we’ve coordinated with Argonaut Liquors. The cost is $47.99 and includes three Italian wines, tasting grids, pairing suggestions and menus; all lead by sommelier Max Ariza. Check out the flyer elsewhere in this issue of the Notiziario, the Dante Society website or go directly to https://www.argonautliquor.com/event/16526 and sign up for this special event.


  • Friday, October 9th7:30 p.m. via ZOOM

The Life and Legacy of Frances Xavier Cabrini presented by Alisa DiGiacomo of History Colorado  

CabriniMarch 10th the Colorado Legislature passed Frances Xavier Cabrini House Bill 20-1031. On Friday March 20, 2020 Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed HB 1031 into law, establishing Frances Xavier Cabrini Day as a Colorado State Holiday.

Join presenter Alisa DiGiacomo on October 9, 2020 for a presentation on Francis Xavier Cabrini, her connection to Colorado and her legacy in our state today.

Alisa DiGiacomo is the Director of Curatorial Services and the Senior Curator at History Colorado. She holds a B.A. in art history and photography from the University of Northern Colorado and an M.A. in art history and museum studies from the University of Denver. With History Colorado for over 20 years, her writings include “Left on the Field: Colorado’s Semi-Pro and Amateur Baseball Teams” (Colorado Heritage Summer 2018), “Between Two Worlds: The Life and Art of Eugene Standingbear” (Colorado Heritage September/October 2014); “The Denargo Market and the Evolution of Produce Distribution in Denver” (Colorado Heritage July/August 2014); and “Seeing Allen True” (Colorado Heritage September/October 2009). DiGiacomo’s book Italy in Colorado: Family Histories from Denver and Beyond (History Colorado, 2008) is in its third printing. Exhibits she has curated include Quiltspeak: Stories in the Stitches, The Italians of Denver, Children of Ludlow: Life in a Battle Zone, 1913–1914, Destination Colorado, and Backstory: Western American Art in Context.

Join Zoom Meeting ID: 690 439 9485 – Passcode:  DAS

  • Friday, October 16th7:30 p.m. via ZOOM

Book Musings presented by Paul Borrillo of Borrillo Entertainment  

Paul Borrillo will be reading selected passages from Ted Borrillo’s last manuscript.  It is a collection of unpublished stories about growing up in an Italian immigrant family in the Bronx.  Ted Borrillo was a prominent criminal lawyer in Denver (former district attorney in Denver) with a degree from Harvard law school.  He has written several books on criminal justice, multiple books of poetry as well as a book on the history of the Elitch Garden Theater.   He passed away one year ago last week.

Ted’s nephew Paul is an award-winning actor and versatile comedian. The diversity of his skills and his understanding of the entertainment business has made him a valuable consultant for many of his clients. When he is not entertaining audiences, producing events or designing unusual costumes, Paul is an emcee, motivational speaker and teambuilding facilitator.

Join Zoom Meeting ID: 690 439 9485 Passcode: DAS https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6904399485?pwd=Skx1ZkJqaFREN1pLbmVNVmp3aEptQT09


  • Friday, October 30th7:30 p.m. via ZOOM  

Dante and the Divine Comedy – A presentation by Dr. Seth Fabian  

Please join us Friday, October 30, 2020, at 7:30 pm for a Zoom presentation by Dr. Seth Fabian about Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy. This year is the 700th anniversary of the greatest poem ever written. Dr. Fabian teaches a 30-lecture course, "Dante's Divine Comedy: a Guide to Salvation" which covers all three volumes of the Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. The course, offered at the Archdiocese of Denver Catechetical School, teaches the Divine Comedy as Dante's guide for living the virtuous life and reveals the riches and depths of this medieval masterpiece. Dr. Fabian received his PhD in Italian Studies and Comparative Literature from Columbia University where he also taught Italian language. Don’t miss this special opportunity on October 30.

Join Zoom Meeting ID: 690 439 9485 Passcode: DAS


NOTE:  MEETING ID AND PASSWORD TO ZOOM cultural meeting are always the same except FOR THE WINE TASTING.



Normal processes require the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver to submit a slate of candidates standing for election to the Board of Directors in the October Notiziario. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, operations have been anything but normal! After serious discussion, the Board decided to forego the regular election protocol citing the fact that the process would be extremely difficult to follow at this time and that all elected Board members have agreed to remain in their current positions which are: President John Giardino; Vice-president Susan Gurule; Treasurer Carol Marsala; Secretary currently vacant. Unless there is opposition or additional nominations from membership, those candidates will be deemed elected by acclamation. Should you have questions or comments, please feel to contact me. Grazie e state al sicuro.  John Giardino, President.  303-378-9736; johncgiardino@comcast.net .


The Society thanks Phyllis Ursetta for the interesting historical presentation via ZOOM.  Her book and life story were indeed captivating.  Grazie.



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



The Dante Alighieri Society of Denver gives a warm welcome to the following new members:  Nikki and Scott Buccieri, Ania Chudziak, Christine Colane. Alisa DiGiacomo, Dasha Domashevich, Cindy and Mark Eastment, Mona and Justin Ferrugia, Kathleen Godzicki, Susana Lara-Mesa, Elizabeth Metz, Joyce Occhiato. Joyce Pfohl, Carol Piro, Aubrey Prestwich, Jennifer and John Prestwich, Scott Reeves, and Mathew Wolchak.



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

Ania Chudziak                                   October 27

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!


Mese del cuore                                           Month of the heart

Ottobre:  I cuori languono,                         October: hearts languish,

addio belle speranze:                                 farewell to beautiful hopes:

come le foglie cadono                                 like the leaves that fall

in lievi e meste danze.                                in light and melancholy dances.



The Dante Alighieri Society will offer a 10-week winter session of Italian language classes, beginning in January 2021.  The schedule for winter classes will be posted on the Dante Society  website by December 7, 2020, and online registration will begin as soon as the schedule is posted.  During the current fall session, language classes are offered as online remote classes, using the Zoom platform.  The Dante Society board, in consultation with the teachers, will decide if the winter 2021 session of classes will continue to be offered through the Zoom platform, or whether it will be prudent to offer the classes in person, in the parish offices of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.  That information will be posted on the Dante Society website when the winter 2021 class schedule is posted.  Whether on Zoom, or in person, classes will be held once a week, for 90 minutes.  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 web site:       https://dantealighieriofdenver.com/classes/language-classes/


Beginner 1.  Wednesdays, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, beginning January 13, 2021 through March 17, 2021 (Brunetti).   In this class students with little or no knowledge of Italian will learn to communicate in simple everyday situations. Students will study the basic building blocks of the Italian language, including the alphabet, rules of pronunciation, basic syntax, and grammatical structures. Topics include subject pronouns, definite and indefinite articles, regular verbs in the present tense, and noun-adjective agreement.  Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.


Beginner 2.  Mondays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, beginning January 11, 2021 through March 15, 2021 (Jensen).  In this class students will build upon their existing knowledge while incorporating new vocabulary and grammatical structures through conversation, role plays, listening, reading and writing activities. Topics include irregular and modal verbs in the present tense, articulated prepositions, and possessive adjectives.  Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.


Advanced Beginner.  Thursdays, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, beginning January 14, 2021 through March 18, 2021 (Brunetti).    This class is designed for students with some Beginner coursework who wish to accelerate their learning.  Students will build upon their prior studies through listening, reading and writing activities. Topics include past and future verb tenses, and the required text will be covered in its entirety.  Emphasis will be placed on everyday conversational situations using grammar and vocabulary from the textbook.  Required Text: The Italian Project 1a.



Tourist fined $1,200 for taking white sand from Italian beach.

Authorities in Italy said a French tourist was fined $1,200 for attempting to smuggle more than 4 pounds of Sardinia's famous white sand out of the country.

Sardinia's Forest Rangers said the tourist was stopped at Cagliari Elmas Airport and ordered to pay the fine after a bottle containing 4.4 pounds of sand was found in his possession.

"The bottle was confiscated and is in now in our operating room where we hold these confiscated items. At the end of the year we usually have many bottles of sand accumulated," a spokesman for the Forest Rangers told CNN.                                               -3-                                                                          (continued)

A regional law introduced in 2017 made it illegal to take sand from Sardinia's beaches, with fines ranging from $600 to $3,550 depending on the amount of sand taken and where it was taken from.

"Last year we found a website that was selling our sand as souvenirs. It's become a very known phenomenon here in Europe," the spokesman said.   Sept. 8 (UPI) Ben Hooper

'Papillon' the escape artist bear recaptured after 42 days on the loose.

A brown bear dubbed "Papillon" after repeated escapes from its enclosure in Italy was recaptured 42 days after its most recent escape.

Papillon, a 4-year-old male bear officially known as M49, escaped from its enclosure at the Casteller wildlife park in Trentino province July 27 by climbing over three electrified fences and breaking through a barrier of metal bars.  Authorities tracked the bruin's movements in the wild and it was captured in a live trap in the Lagorai area of Trentino province. The bear was on the loose for 42 days.

Papillon, named after the protagonist of French writer Henri Charriere's autobiographical novel about his famous prison escape, was captured in good health, officials said. The provincial government said Papillon had lost about 88 pounds during his time on the loose, which apparently allowed the animal to slip free of its radio tracking collar in recent weeks.

The bear was returned to Casteller, where officials said work is underway to strengthen the enclosure and prevent future escapes.  Officials said the bear caused some minor property damage during its time on the loose, but is not believed to have had any violent encounters with humans during its time on the loose.

Papillon had previously escaped twice in 2020. Officials said he was recaptured from a previous escape in April, and the bear escaped again only hours later with a female bear from the park.

Sept. 8 (UPI) –By Ben Hooper.


New bridge in Genoa to be inaugurated two years after tragedy.    

A new bridge will be inaugurated in the Italian city of Genoa on Monday, two years after 43 people died when the previous structure collapsed. The Genoa San Giorgio Bridge was built in just 15 months and will replace the Morandi Bridge, which was one of the city's main arteries before it collapsed in heavy rain in August 2018.

The new bridge will be inaugurated at 6:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. ET) with a ceremony and tribute to the victims. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will speak at the event and posted on Facebook ahead of the inauguration.  "It is an important day, which shows the present and the future of a changing country," Conte wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

Architect and Genoa native Renzo Piano, who designed the new bridge, will also appear at the event. Piano also designed the Shard in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.  The project cost 200 million euros, about $220 million, plus the cost of demolishing the Morandi bridge, which added another 90 million euros, or about $98 million.    (CNN August 3, 2020.)

"It all began with a tragic event that we will never forget. But now is the time to build on the positive energy that has been created and look to the future," said Ugo Salerno, President and CEO of RINA.  While the new bridge was constructed in an unusually short time, Salerno emphasized that safety has been a priority: "The 'Genoa Model' has already become well known and some say that it is not replicable in other projects, but I don't think that's true."

"Rapid construction is not a question of skipping procedural steps or paying less attention, but rather of planning each and every activity in detail to overcome the inevitable unforeseen events and get immediate and effective responses from all those involved, in particular from the public authorities."  Local shop owner Luigi Speranza is hopeful for the future but will always remember the tragic collapse.  "We hope there will be more people and that the traffic will get better, this is a step forward for the people in the area, but we still remember vividly what happened -- too many paid with their lives," he told CNN.

MORE ABOUT THE BRIDGE:  New Genoa bridge by Renzo Piano inaugurated after just 420 days of construction.

The bridge that Renzo Piano designed to replace the Morandi bridge has been inaugurated in Genoa, Italy. Officially titled ‘Genova San Giorgio’, the bridge opened almost two years after the original structure collapsed. following the tragic event in August 2018. Piano — who was born near Genoa — donated a replacement design, which he described as ‘simple and sober’. After almost daily construction work on site, the 1,067meter (3,500 foot) bridge is now complete and ready to open to traffic.

Credit: Pixabay

On August 2, 2020, 15 months after construction began, the construction team behind the project

Webuild and Fincantieri — delivered the completed structure to Genoa’s mayor, Marco Bucci. the project took just 420 days, from the laying of the first pier to its completion. it involved over 10,100 hours of work with more than 1,000 people contributing to the project’s realization. ‘This bridge is the dream of a lifetime,’ says Webuild chief executive Pietro Salini. ‘We were able to do something beautiful. and we did it with heart — whatever profit that we might earn from this project will go to charity.’

Before the inauguration, load tests were carried out that saw 16 trucks driving along the bridge before static load tests began.  This involved 56 trucks, weighing 44 tons (48.5 US tons) each, putting the bridge through further tests with a total combined weight of 2,500 tons (2,756 US tons).  Meanwhile, a new park that includes a pathway for bikes and pedestrians, as well as a wind tower for the production of renewable energy, has been designed for the area below the bridge.  (from Designboom)

The tourists are leaving Italy. Now catastrophe looms  Rome (CNN)

For all too brief a time, the Italian summer offered a glimmer of hope. After emerging from what was in early 2020, one of the world's harshest coronavirus lockdowns, Italy managed to dust itself down in time to welcome visitors.

But as the sun begins to cool, so do hopes of a full recovery for Italy's decimated 2020 tourism season. Winter is coming, and with it what is expected to be a full-blown economic catastrophe.

The Italian government, like many across the world, has been doling out cash to help support many ailing businesses and individuals, but with many global travel restrictions still in place, lost revenues from the country's faltering travel industry leaves a gaping financial hole that must now be filled.

"Tourists are what we need to keep going," says Cassandra Santoro CEO and founder of travel planning service, Travel Italian Style. "Our guides, drivers and workers from Piedmont to Sicily who thought they would be out of work for a season, are now exploring other jobs and income sources."

Anyone visiting Italy in August could've been forgiven for thinking almost everything was back to normal, bar the facemasks and social distancing. Culturally set in stone as a holiday month for Italians, it saw many locals enjoying a hard-earned break as best they could.

But even with 60% of Italians managing a break -- almost all of them in Italy -- and the influx of some northern European visitors, the forecast is abysmal.   "The projected 2020 loss from overseas visitors to Italy is €24.6 billion and even domestic traveler spending is down €43.6 billion," says Giorgio Palmucci, president of the Italian national tourist board, ENIT.

Even with hopes of growth and recovery two years down the line, the pain, he adds, is likely to be widespread.   "All Italian cities are expected to be significantly impacted, particularly those more dependent on international visitors like Venice, Florence and Rome."

Adding to the problems is a rise in Covid-19 cases blamed on the movement of young Italians, both over the borders into countries like Croatia, Greece and Malta and to summer nightlife hotspots at home. Daily increases are lower than France and Spain, but Italians are nervous about the approaching winter.   Fears of a second wave appear to have dashed earlier projections of a September and October tourism revival, with Italians and overseas visitors canceling plans and sitting tight.

Business owners now feel that government talk of the Italian summer as a domestic boost to tourism was just rhetoric. Unbridled optimism coupled with images of packed Italian beaches for the popular August 15 Ferragosto (August 15) holiday were, they say, just a smokescreen for an industry on the verge of collapse.

The statistics certainly paint an uglier picture. The Italian Confederation of Business has reported that 70% of hotels in cities like Rome and Florence and 20% in coastal areas never even reopened after the lockdown. The Italian National Institute of Statistics projects that 60% of businesses in the industry fear imminent collapse.  The ongoing travel ban that prevents Americans -- one of Italy's biggest sources of tourism -- from entering is also having a particularly brutal impact.

Cassandra Santoro of Travel Italian Style says at least 85% of her clients are American. As of September her company has registered 100% of holiday cancellations for 2020. She says it's the first year she has seen zero profits from Italy vacation planning.  "In December 2019, I had more than 100 clients booked to travel between March -- September of 2020. I have refunded about 50% of the guests in full, and 50% have postponed to 2021, some even to 2023 and 2024."

(Maria Pasquale, CNN • Updated 12th September 2020)

2020 Calendar


October 30, 7:30 p.m.                             Virtual Presentation:  Divine Comedy – Dr. Seth Fabian