May 2023 Dante Seattle La Voce


Published by the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington                                                     May 2023

President’s Message

Ciao a tutti!
I greet you with two photos of the glories of Skagit Valley this month. Even in chilly northwestern temps and a very strong headwind, the tulips and daffodils were amazing.
There is not a lot to report this time… we had a fine Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) on April 12, with 31 people in attendance. There was a great deal of good energy around the room – good food and conversation, some new volunteers for various tasks, and 3 new members added by unanimous approval to your Board of Directors. Reports and feedback from this year’s events were all favorable- the Language Program is thriving, presentations both in person and on zoom were well received, and new projects, like “Italian-Speaking Tables” at our dinners next year, are helping us gear up for the future.

Our 2022-23 season draws to a close with the May 10 English meeting, preceded by a wonderful Pre-Dante Pasta dinner. Watch for announcements about this meeting and plan to attend. Also this month: Casa Italiana’s Scholarship Program is still accepting applicants, until May 15. Any child or grandchild, of a Dante member, who is attending college or a trade school is eligible to apply. See this link if interested.

I hope your spring and summer will be lovely seasons, and wish everyone all the best while Dante is on summer hiatus. Thanks as always to Stacey Howe-Lott for creating La Voce every month, and to the Board members of Dante who keep everything going all year. If your summer plans take you to Italy, please plan to share your stories in La Voce upon return!
A presto,

May Meetings: May 10

The rebirth of the villa from the Medici to Palladio

Claudio Mazzola will present on the rebirth of the villa from the Medici to Palladio. We will analize how the modern idea of the villa developed first in the early Renaissance in Tuscany with the idea of the farm villa.  Later, mainly around Venice, many architects developed the concept of the “Villa da diletto” or villa for fun.  We will discuss how these villas, mostly used by the wealthy families of Venice, were structurally different from previous villas.



La Malcontenta

Claudio Mazzola has been a regular speaker at Dante meetings over the years, presenting particularly on Italian Film.  He  received his “Laurea” in English from the University of Milan in 1981. He also received a degree in cinema studies from the City University of Milan. Claudio went on to receive a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington in 1986. His area of expertise is Contemporary Italian fiction and Italian Cinema. He has published a number of articles on those topics. He has also published a reader for third year student entitled Racconti Regionali (Prentice-Hall, 1990) and a second year grammar book, Insieme (McGraw-Hill, 1995). Before joining the University of Washington he taught at the University of Michigan, Vassar College and the College of the Holy Cross.

La Rotonda

Language Program
by Giuseppe Tassone

Since La Voce will be resuming in September after the summer break, this is my last news for the school year 2023-24.

On April 12 I had the pleasure to share my language school report at the Annual General Meeting in which I provided key facts about the Italian language program, an overview of the school year 2022-23, a year over year enrollment comparison for the past five years, classes, highlights of the school years 2022-23, PLIDA exams updates, students’ survey sample
responses and future plans.

Key facts for those unable to participate were the following:
– First traces of Società Dante Alighieri’s school in Seattle in 1908.
– Continuous operation of the Italian language Program since 1984.
– Management of the program under current directorship since 1998.
– First professional website with class offerings and implementation of PayPal payment in 2002.
– Revitalization of the relationship with the headquarters in Rome in 1999-2003.
– Alignment with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in 2012-13.
– Recognition as an official PLIDA (Progetto lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri) certification center in 2011.
– First online offering in 2019-20.
– Implementation of Canvas in 2021-22.
– New Agreement with PLIDA office in Rome with authorization to use the new official PLIDA logo that univocally identifies us as Centro d’esame autorizzato in 2023.

In my overview I reported that the program is doing well in terms of enrollment and students’ progress and satisfaction, retention is good, and students are responding well to our online offering. I also pointed out that the number of students who decided to become members of DAS is increasing. 66% of students in the spring are members and therefore eligible to receive $20 discount on the course fee.

Enrollment is in line with last year and coincidentally the total of FQ and WQ students was precisely the same as last year. The positive result doesn’t prevent us from being vigilant about possible changes in future years for which we must be prepared. We are however very happy that so many students continue to value our Italian language Program as ideal for their desire of learning or improving the Italian language.

As we summarized in the 20 characters allowed per line in the brick that we donated to Casa Italiana from the DAS- Italian language program what students can find in us is “studio e ispirazione”.

In 2022-23 we offered 15 courses at the A1, A2, B1, B2 levels with a total of 271 students enrolled taught by our qualified native Italian speakers with years of experience in our program.

In my report I also talked about extracurricular activities such as SIFF-Cinema Italian Style, La settimana della lingua Italiana nel mondo, La settimana della cucina italiana nel mondo, Dantedì and the Italian Mixer at Seattle Opera under preparation for May 19 in addition to volunteer participation to events organized by the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington.

While I am writing this news, we are finalizing our participation in the Italian Mixer and we are all excited for the event and for the performance of La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi. Students and instructors able to attend will participate as a group or individually but all with the desire, including me, of being able to see each other in person after these months of Zoom lessons. Below our instructor Nicla Riverso with some of our students last year.

Nicla Riverso and DAS students at the 2022 Italian Mixer at Seattle Opera

Going back to the AGM report, I mentioned in the highlights that this was our second year of Canvas implementation which allowed us to refine the content that we created last year by scratch and in the future plan I said that we will continue refining Canvas content and developing not only core material but also additional supplementary material that students can access on their own both for extra practice and review between quarters and summer break. Reaching a broader audience, now that our program is specializing in online learning, was another point along with the consideration of some adjustments for the school year 2023-24 to be discussed at the next Board Meeting.

To conclude I want to remind you that our next PLIDA exam is scheduled for June 21 st at Casa Italiana – Italian Cultural Center while the Italian language program will resume in early October.

We aim to publish on our website the new school year calendar, course offering and course fees for 2023-24 early in June so that current students, new beginner A1 students and all those who wish to experience our Italian language program at any level from any location can register and save their spot for their class.

For any questions about our program, including placement, contact me anytime and I’ll be glad to help you.

I wish you all a wonderful summer.
Buona estate a tutti!

The Italian Connection: Seattle Through the Decades
by Rita Cipalla

P-Patch gardens celebrate 50 years. Thank you, Picardo family!

Seattle’s P-Patch community gardening program began in 1973 with a single plot. Within a year, there were 10. Today, there are 91 gardens with more than 3,600 active gardeners. It’s the fifth largest community gardening program in the country.

How did this exemplary program start? We can thank Ernesto Picardo — the P in P-Patch. After moving from Italy to the Northwest in the late 1880s, Picardo began farming with his two brothers in South Park and then moved to Wedgwood.

Decades later, a neighbor, Darlyn Rundberg, approached the Picardo family and asked if she could use some of their land to start a community garden. They agreed, and Rundberg recruited students and families from nearby Wedgwood Elementary School to help. City officials quickly saw the benefits and moved to replicate the program.

From this modest beginning, the P-Patch program put down roots. The gardens are open to all; there are no locks or gates. Of course, it goes without saying that picking the vegetables and flowers is not allowed! Five decades later, P-Patch community gardens continue to promote environmental stewardship, build community and develop self-reliance. Read the full story here.

This story is part of a new La Voce series about Italian Americans in Seattle, reproduced with permission from l’Italo-Americano, the country’s oldest Italian American newspaper. Stories are printed in both English and Italian, online and in print version. Subscribe here.

Member Announcements

The suggestion has been received that we publish updates from and about members of Dante as we receive them. We can start to do that next season, on a regular basis. If you have memorials, awards/honors, or other announcements to share, please first obtain permission from whoever they are about (!) and then submit them by the 15th of each month to with “announcement for La Voce” as the subject. They can then be compiled with other announcements and sent to our editor.

In memoriam:
On April 22, 2023, Eleonora Di Luck passed away, and her husband, Lido died last year. Both were long time members of and contributors to the Dante Society. May they rest in peace.

Connect with us!
You can find past meetings on our You Tube channel here.
You can find our website here.

The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington is a nonprofit corporation organized to promote Italian language and culture within the state of Washington. Membership is open to anyone interested in the goals and ideals of our society regardless of ethnic origin. La Voce della Dante is published eight times a year by the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington. All rights reserved.

Dante Alighieri Society of Washington
Società per la diffusione della lingua e della cultura italiana nel mondo
Mailing address:
PO Box 9494 Seattle, WA 98109

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