Dante Alighieri August greeting!





The new season starts in September.

Watch for the upcoming issue of our La Voce Newsletter to learn about
“your door to all things Italian!”

Register now for
Dante Society Language Program Classes

Study and Learn Italian in online classes
From Level A-1 to B-2, and more

Tuesday & Thursday 7:00-8:30 PM (PT)
10 weeks per quarter, October to June

email school@danteseattle.org

for our first English meeting

September 13, 2023

Rebecca Albiani speaks about Perugino

St. Clement’s Church
1501 32nd Ave S.
Seattle 98144

Doors open 6:00, Dinner 6:30, Presentation 7:30
reservation email will be sent prior to the date
Volunteers still needed
Meeting set-up and audio visual assistance still needed throughout the season! email Joyce Ramee if you can help. Thanks! joyce@danteseattle.org
Festa Italiana will be held at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavillion
on September 23 & 24, 2023
Plan to participate in this weekend of fun!
Volunteers will be needed to staff the Dante booth.
Watch for an email signup in early September.

If you are not yet a Dante Society member, you may join at any time. Membership is $40 individual and $50 family. Your membership dues help to underwrite all Dante events, which promote the Italian language and culture. Society membership also allows you to have a vote in society business and to serve on the Board of Directors.


Copyright © 2023 Dante Alighieri Society of Washington, All rights reserved.


Summer Updates from Dante







July 10, 2023

Greetings all,
Hopefully this finds you enjoying a peaceful summer, perhaps traveling, or staying right here while Seattle weather is (mostly) exquisite. Please take a moment to read this quick mailing, and note our first events of fall, which will be here before you know it!
A presto,
Joyce Ramee

1) Exchange Student needs host family

From Tony Barnett, with PAX Program of Academic exchange – Seattle schools and several surrounding districts are accepting exchange students.   David, age 16 from Italy, is described as motivated, active, open minded, calm, mature, honest, responsible, creative, sense of humor, interactive. His mother is a teacher and father is a manager. He has 1 older brother. He enjoys soccer, basketball, tennis, cooking, gardening, traveling. His faith background Christian, not active. If you are interested in hosting this young man, or with questions, email Tony Barnett.

2) In Memoriam

from Sam Ciapanna: “I am writing to report the death of one of our Dante members, Andy Camarda, on June 21, 2023.”
No other information was available — Condolences to Andy’s friends and family of behalf of the Dante Society.

Program Chairs Joan Tupper and Janet Lenart are working hard to line up interesting presenters for the coming season.
Save these dates and plan to participate!
September 13, 27; October 11, 25; November 8; December 13; March 13, 27; April 10, 24; May 8.
As always, our first meeting of the month is a presentation in English, our second, in Italian. English meetings are preceeded by a Pasta Dinner, lovingly prepared by prepared by Dante volunteers. Italian meetings begin with “antipasti e vino,” supplied by all who attend. Each presentation is advertised in advance and open to all. Reservations are needed for dinners, $8/person. December 13 is our annual Festa di Natale potluck, (which might have some special news this year, stay tuned!!) and April 10 is the Annual Meeting (with free Dinner).

*Unless otherwise advertised, all In-Person Meetings will take place at
St. Clement’s Church

1501 32nd Ave S., Seattle 98144


4) Volunteers still needed
Meeting set-up, audio visual needs, and cooks still welcome! email Joyce Ramee if you can help. Several of the dates above are still unassigned. Thanks! joyce@danteseattle.org

Watch for another update in August, with Language Program and local festival information. Felice Estate!!

Your 2023-2024 DAS Board of Directors
Joyce Ramee – President
Bruce Leone – Vice President
John Steedman – Secretary
Harry Reinert – Treasurer
Stacey Howe-Lott
Domenico Minotti
Houghton Lee
Janet Lenart, Program Co-Chair
Joan Tupper, Program Co-Chair
Cammie Enslow
Anastasia Frantsova
James Hoffman
Francesca Agnello
Judith Klayman
Dan DeMatteis, Past President
Giuseppe Tassone, Director, DAS Language Program

Copyright © 2023 Dante Alighieri Society of Washington, All rights reserved.


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 info@danteseattle.org 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

Copyright © 2023 Dante Alighieri Society of Washington, All rights reserved.


April 2023 Dante Seattle La Voce


Published by the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington                                                     April 2023



Ciao a Tutti ~ Aprile! Ritorna la primavera!!

I hope this finds you well, with your crocuses blooming, daffodils thriving, azaleas and magnolias budding and Mason Bees buzzing! E Buona Pasqua, if “Pasqua” is celebrated in your home.Our Dante Society has come through the winter months with great success. Where could you hear lectures on olive growing and on the history of Sicily, experience Dante readings by students of all levels and backgrounds, AND take in a live, professional (and downright amazing) TUBA RECITAL given in real time from Italy? You guessed it – in the Dante Society of Washington’s winter zooms. We also enjoyed a grand return to in-person meetings last week, with Mario Cazzanti’s wonderful presentation on the perpetual readings of Dante in Ravenna.

So now it is spring, and time for the Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) on April 12. PLEASE COME TO THIS MEETING. The business of our organization only occupies one meeting each year. We also must file a report from our AGM every year with the parent organization of the Dante Alighieri Society in Rome, so this is an important event.

The doors at St. Clement’s Church will open at 6:00 PM on April 12. First comes a lovely free dinner provided by your Board: antipasti, entrees (lasagne and a vegan, gluten free option), salad, bread and dessert. Everyone is invited to bring vino to share. During dinner we all visit informally, and the meeting begins as dinner wraps up.

A time-keeper will help us all keep the spoken portions running efficiently this year, so that we can conclude our business on time. You will be invited to share your thoughts about this season in the MEMBER FEEDBACK portion of the meeting. FINANCIAL and LANGUAGE PROGRAM activities for the past year will be summarized by our Treasurer and LP Director.

You will be invited to ELECT the BOARD of DIRECTORS – which is only done by in-person voting at the AGM. The important, recent MEMBER SURVEY will be reported upon, leading us into THE FUTURE OF DANTE SEATTLE – what are our priorities in the years ahead, and who will be our leaders? Your ideas and energy can help shape our future – but we need to see and hear from you!

It would be so heartening to your board to see a large and enthusiastic turnout of both new and long-time Dante members at the AGM this year. Won’t you please mark April 12 on your calendar and plan to attend the AGM? Watch for the separate AGM email, with the Slate of Nominees and the link to register, so that we know how much food to prepare.

A presto ~ Joyce



Upcoming Dante meetings

Our April 12th meeting will be devoted to our Annual General Meeting (AGM). I hope you can all come out to the meeting to hear what the Board has to report about its activities last year, to provide feedback to the Board about how you feel about the last year of Dante meetings and events and, most importantly, to elect the Board for the coming year. Dinner will be provided by the Board.

Our April 26th Italian meeting welcomes back Annalisa Bellerio, who entertained us previously with presentations on Leonardo and Raphael. Annalisa Bellerio is an Italian journalist, editor, and writer. After graduating in Art History from the University of Pavia, she worked in publishing as editor-in-chief, copywriter, author of books, articles, and short stories, and consultant for literary agencies. In Milan, the city to which she belongs and returns every year, Annalisa has also worked as an Italian Language, Literature, and
History teacher, as a guide for art exhibitions, and as a volunteer in a middle school specialized for disabled children.

In the United States, where she has lived for the past nine years, she works as a writer, an Italian language teacher, and for Language Services. Moreover, she is a certified Yoga instructor, “Competent Communicator” by Toastmasters International, and volunteer “Docent” at Bellevue Arts Museum. Her paintings have been shown in private and collective exhibitions.

This year her topic will be “La conquista dello spazio nell’arte del Rinascimento – The Conquest of Space in Renaissance Art.”

Here is her description of her talk:
Nell’Italia del XV secolo, mentre le scoperte di esploratori e naviganti ridisegnavano la geografia del mondo allora conosciuto, e classi emergenti trasformavano alle radici la società del tempo, gli artisti diedero forma nelle loro opere a una nuova visione della realtà attraverso una conquista rivoluzionaria, insieme scientifica e simbolica: la prospettiva geometrica. La rappresentazione dello spazio messa a punto nel Rinascimento, dall’Italia si diffuse in Europa e poi in tutto il mondo, ed è tuttora usata in molteplici settori come l’architettura, l’urbanistica, la scenografia, l’astronomia, nella tattica militare, nelle simulazioni 3d e nella realtà virtuale. La sua lunga storia, dalle origini alla fioritura fino agli sviluppi successivi, rappresenta un viaggio appassionante nel tempo e, soprattutto, nello spazio.

In 15th-century Italy, while explorers and sailors were redesigning with their discoveries the geography of the world known at the time, and emerging classes were transforming society from the ground up, artists gave shape to a new vision of reality through a revolutionary conquest, both scientific and symbolic: the geometric perspective. The representation of space developed in the Renaissance spread out of Italy to Europe and afterward throughout the world, and is still used today in numerous fields such as architecture, urban planning, scenography, astronomy, military tactics, 3D simulations, and virtual reality. Its long history, from its origins to its blooming and subsequent evolution, represents an exciting journey through time and, above all, space.

We hope to see you at both the AGM and the Italian meeting.



Language Program News
by Giuseppe Tassone

Spring is here and so are our spring quarter classes which resumed on March 30 after spring break. This is our last quarter of the school year 2022-23 and it is always a pleasure to see the tenacity of our students who have enrolled in good numbers to complete their level of Italian. Others unfortunately were not able to continue due to work schedule and/or personal matters.

It is very encouraging to read from the latter their motivations and their desire to keep up with Italian by maintaining access to Canvas and return in the future as one student wrote to us:
“I’ve enjoyed these last 3 years with Dante so much! I want to keep going through level 4 when time allows. The instructors are amazing, as are all our classmates. And I love being able to attend by Zoom.”

By consequence classes size in the spring is typically smaller with an average of 16 students per course or section. This quarter we are offering two sections of A1, one full section of A2 and the B1 level, our third level of Italian. These students will populate our fall quarter classes by enrolling respectively to levels A2, B1 and B2 while new students, with no or little knowledge of Italian, will find in our A1 level course the ideal place to begin their journey of learning Italian.

To conclude I want, in thanking everyone who participate to the Dantedì, to congratulate once again our 13 students Austin, Margaretta, Kate, Steven, Brianna, Shane, Pamela, Marianne, Vasilya, Mark, Juan, Alessandra and Luis, who presented at our Dantedì 2023 celebration on March 8th. I admire the time and effort you dedicate to it. I can’t imagine how proud you must be of reading and presenting in Italian.

Bravi e complimenti sia a voi che ai vostri insegnanti Nicla, Damiano, Francesca e Paola per il loro supporto.

Post viewing of the Dantedì 2023 celebration is now available on our YouTube channel:

Buona visione e arrivederci!



The Italian Connection: Seattle Through the Decades
by Rita Cipalla

Rosaia Brothers’ floral business bloomed for 80 years

Whether designing elaborate window displays, winning awards at flower shows, or helping launch the Italian Commercial Club 100 years ago, the Rosaia Brothers – Palmiro, Felix and George – brought energy, passion and, above all, a sense of beauty to their adopted city.

The brothers arrived in Seattle in 1906, moving here from San Francisco. They spent the next several years building nurseries and greenhouses to launch their business. Then a golden opportunity appeared: the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (see photo above). The brothers provided many of the floral decorations for the 1909 fair, creating the buzz they needed to open their first shop in downtown Seattle. They were on their way.

After successfully opening a flower stall at Second and James, Felix opened the Felix Rosaia Florist shop at Third and Madison, where he remained for more than 40 years. The shop was known for serving hot meals to employees and also to neighboring business owners. At its heyday, the Rosaia family managed greenhouses in Kent and Des Moines, and had flower shops in the Olympic Hotel and several other downtown Seattle locations.

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.



Cala del Sasso: The Longest Stairway in Italy
by Janet Lenart

The 4444 steps of the Calà del Sasso, the longest stairway in Italy, from Valstagna to the high plateau of Asiago. 

A very unique and challenging hike in northern Italy is the Calà del Sasso. The hiker will imagine they are walking with loggers of the 15th century as they transported logs down a steep ridge to the Brenta River where the logs were floated to Venice and used for building. The following article is translated from an article by Manuela Dona in Vicenza Today

The trail, known in Italian as “I 4444 Scalini della Calà del Sasso”, begins in the high plateau of Asiago and descends to the small town of Valstagna on the Brenta River.

Paolo Rumiz, a journalist and travel writer describes the trail as “long like purgatory, dark like a thunderstorm… one of the most fantastic trails in the alps.”

The trail

This moderately difficult trail of 2400 feet elevation gain or loss is 8.7 miles round trip. It passes through a beautiful valley which at times is narrow gorge. The hiker may begin the trail in meadows of the high plateau and proceed down through a forest of hornbeam and beech trees. Or the hike may be started at the lowest point in Valstagna.

The legend 

It is said that in 1638 Loretta and Nicolo’ were expecting the birth of their child. Loretta became ill and Nocolo’ walked down the mountain to Padova to find a miraculous ointment. By dark he had not returned and the inhabitants of Sasso decided to descend the trail with torches to meet him. But halfway down there were other lights ascending, coming toward them. It was Nicolo’ accompanied by people from Valstagna, carrying the miraculous ointment that saved the life of Loretta who then married Nicolo’. Since then the trail is considered to bring good luck to couples who walk it. In addition, every year on the second Sunday of August there is a commemorative torch-light walk in the late evening.

History of the trail

The trail is among the oldest works on the high plateau of Asiago and considered the longest man-made stone stairway in the world. The work began at the beginning of the 1300s for a nobileman from Milan, Gian Galleazzo Visconti who governed the high plateau of Asiago. In 1403 the area and the trail became part of the Venetian empire (the Serenissima).

The trail allowed tree trunks harvested from the plateau to be moved down to the Brenta River where they were floated to Venice. The trunks were used to create the foundation pilings of palaces in Venice and to build ships.

The Calà del Sasso trail consists of 4444 stone steps 20 inches deep and 6 inches high. The steps are bordered by a gutter large enough to allow a tree trunk to slide down the incline while being controlled by 10 men using harpoons and ropes to prevent the trunk from catapulting down the mountain.

Special openings in the retaining walls at the hairpin turns allowed the trunk to come out and rotate to continue the descent.

It is reported that the workmen made two trips up and down the trail in a day, with wooden shoes, a humid slippery surface in a dark shady forest.

Women carried a gerla (basket) on their backs in which they took products down to Valstagna (e.g. berries, herbs, milk products, items made of wood) and up to Sasso (e.g. salt, tobacco, flour, pasta, rice). In fact, Valstagna became known for its market in which items from the north were available. It became known as the gateway to the high plateau of Asiago.

The people of Valstagna were known for their creativity. They developed the zattera (a raft) by tying together the tree trunks and loading it with products to sell downriver in Bassano, Padova and Venice. The Calà del Sasso sustained the economy of the plateau and river valley for hundreds of years.

Calà del Sasso today

In 1956 the Costa highway was completed providing access by car to the high plateau of Asiago. The Calà went into complete decline and only in 1998 did the Comunità Montana start a restoration project.

Helpful links






Florence, Dante and Me
by Robert Thomson

Robert Thomson gave a talk for us in September of 2019, telling us about his book that was still being written. We are delighted to share that it has now been published. It is a very personal story of his travels and time spent in Florence and should make a good read. You can find the book on Amazon here.


Thank you to everyone that completed the survey! If you would be interested in any volunteer positions, please let us know!

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


March 2023 Dante Seattle La Voce



Published by the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington                                                     March 2023



President’s message

Ciao a Tutti,

This is Janet Lenart, Board member in place of Joyce Ramee, President.

The Dante Board members greatly value your participation in Dante activities and would like your input on future programs. Please complete a survey at https://forms.gle/rdivtXSSJ6x3ySLZ9 if you have not yet done so. You probably received this link by email last week.

March is a month in Italy when numerous festivals occur. March 8th is La Festa Delle Donne also known as the International Women’s Day which is actively recognized in Italy. Beautiful yellow mimosa flowers are given to women and often women share dinner together. If you eat at a pizzeria in Italy on March 8th you may see some very raucous, fun female groups.

Also in March, on the 25th is the National Dante Day designated by the Italian Government in 2020. It is thought that in March Dante began his fictional journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven, which he described in his book “The Divine Comedy.”

Don’t forget to renew your Dante membership if you haven’t done so as scheduled in January. Our membership fees are the lifeline of all our programs.

Save the date for our Annual Meeting Dinner: April 12, 2023 at St. Clement’s Church. Plan to attend and share conversation over dinner with your Dante friends. Details will follow.

As always, please consider writing a couple of paragraphs on an experience in Italy, or a book or article, or a recipe that you’d like to share in the next issue of La Voce! Send your work to stacey@danteseattle.org. Thank you!


Vice President’s message

Greetings all! It is I your humble vice president Bruce Leone to address you this month. As I write this there are very small tips of green emerging from the ground and boy am I ready for it. As I get older it feels like winter lasts longer each year. I’m not anti-rain mind you, just anti cold rain. I am all about moss and ferns and mushrooms and liverworts all created by our wet surroundings. Yes I think liverworts are way under-rated and need more publicity.

For quite a long time now I have been hearing nothing but encouraging things from our language school which makes me very happy. Dante is the only Italian group around here with an emphasis on language learning which is very important to me personally as well. I am eternally grateful to Giuseppe for his time and skillful direction of the school.

Joyce has done a superb job of informing and motivating and organizing us for the last couple of years and I am so grateful. I hope someone else can take the baton and continue the race for all of us.

Of course please renew your membership and please tell your friends and acquaintances about Dante. New members will help to maintain our organization into the future. The world is attracted to everything Italian so it is an easy sell. Recently I have seen multiple times in the media about the importance of active and varied social connection for a long and healthy life. I think I can safely say “be active in Dante and you will live longer.”

I also wanted to share this interesting article on Italy’s unusual vegetable ritual.

Lastly, I have an interesting puzzle around my father’s name.

Lezzini Leone or Leone Lezzini?
I have always wondered about my grandfather’s true name. He was born in 1882 in Milan Italy and arrived in New York in 1909. I’m not sure he was even able to read and write. I heard that he never learned much English. As is still customary, I think, in Italy in legal and formal situations it is typical to give your last name first and your first name after. I believe that when filling out legal documents and asked for his name he probably would give his last name first as was customary. I am still puzzled as to why it goes back and forth.

His funeral card read Lezzini Leone. His wedding license in NY says Leone Lezzini. His draft card says Leone Lezzini  (form labeled first and last name) and it also shows wife Maria’s signature as Maria Lezzini. He also signed it as Lezzini Leone In the 1910 census he is listed as Leon Lecini. His passport says Lezzini Leone.

What do you think it really was?



March Meetings

March is the month Italians celebrate their beloved poet, storyteller and visionary, Dante Alighieri, the eponym of our own Dante Alighieri Society. And so during this month both presentations will focus on Dante.

March 8 via zoom
First up, at the meeting on Wednesday, March 8, the classes from our Language School – under the able direction of our talented faculty and LS Director, Giuseppe Tassone – will each present their reflections on Dante. Many of you will remember the presentations from last year which were so warmly received. I’m sure we are all looking forward to hearing what the students have prepared for us this time.

This presentation will be in Italian and English.

March 22 in person
For our Wednesday, March 22 Italian meeting, Mario Cazzanti, a native of the area around Ravenna and Ferrara, will relate his experience participating in the “Lettura Perpetua” of the Commedia organized by the city of Ravenna on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante in 2021.

Here’s Mario’s summary of his talk:
“Storia della partecipazione di un Circolo Culturale di Seattle alle celebrazioni per il 7mo centenario della morte di Dante con l’iniziativa di Ravenna della ‘Lettura Perpetua’ della Commedia.

Ravenna e’ stata crocevia di culture che hanno modellato una parte rilevante del bacino del Mediterraneo e del  continente Europeo. I mosaici che  decorano basiliche ed i battisteri testimoniano l’intensità di un periodo storico unico. La bellezza di tale arte ha contribuito quasi certamente in  Dante a descrivere in modo ammirevole la bellezza dei cieli del suo Paradiso. L’incontro con l’assessore alla cultura di Ravenna Fabio Sbaraglia e’ stata la prestigiosa conclusione della nostra visita alla città, col seguito della lettura del V Canto Inferno.

History of the participation of Seattle Cultural Circle in the celebrations for the 7th centenary of Dante’s death, specifically the initiative in Ravenna of the “Perpetual Reading” of the Comedy.

Ravenna has been a crossroads of cultures that have shaped a significant part of the Mediterranean basin and the European continent. The mosaics that decorate the basilicas and baptisteries testify to the intensity of a unique historical period. The beauty of this art has almost certainly contributed in Dante to admirably describe the beauty of the heavens of his Paradise.

The meeting with the councilor for culture of Ravenna, Fabio Sbaraglia, was the prestigious conclusion of our visit to the city, followed by the reading of the V Canto of the Inferno.

We hope you’re able to attend these meetings. An email with a pre-registration link will be sent to everyone on the Dante emailing list. There is, of course, no charge for our meetings but we urge to become a member or take one of our Italian classes in support of our promotion of Italian language and culture.


Language Program
by Giuseppe Tassone

The Italian Language Program of the Dante Alighieri Society is approaching the end of the second quarter with classes ending on March 14th. After our spring break, classes resume on March 30th with the third and last quarter for the school year 2022-23.

March is a special month for us since we commemorate Dante Alighieri, the poet, and the man under which our organization is named. March 25th is Dantedì (the day of Dante). It is the day universally dedicated to Dante. When Dantedì was officially established in 2020 we thought that being Dante considered the “father of the Italian language”, it was appropriate to have our students enrolled in the Italian language program involved in celebrating him.

At the same time by having our students as protagonist of the event, meant to us also celebrating their accomplishments in Italian language and their commitment to the study of the language. So, we decided to dedicate one of the March meetings of the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington
to students’ presentations on Dante and his work: readings from the Comedy, illustration of historical and mythological characters, thematic presentations etc. all under the coaching of our talented instructors and my coordination. Thanks to the encouragement and the positive feedback from students who participated in the event as presenters or audience we will have the third edition of it on March 8th. My thanks to our winter quarter instructors Laura, Nicla, Francesca, Damiano and Paola for their collaboration.

To conclude, speaking of accomplishment, I want to congratulate our PLIDA B1 candidates since while I am writing this news, I received communications from Rome that all candidates at our last session successfully passed the exam with excellent results in the listening, speaking, reading, and speaking sections and they will receive their certificate. The PLIDA exam is challenging but as demonstrated by these candidates is doable with patience and dedication in preparation. The same is true for those who wish to learn our beautiful language. It takes time and this is one of the reasons to structure our program into quarters and levels.

Don’t miss March 20th registration deadline for spring quarter and June 9th for PLIDA.

Arrivederci al Dantedì.


The Italian Connection: Seattle Through the Decades

Henry Suzzallo and the crown jewel of the UW campus
by Rita Cipalla

Next time you’re on the UW campus, standing in front of the massive Suzzallo Library, be sure to check out the 18 terra cotta figures along its façade, each representing an individual who made significant contributions to learning and culture. Did you know there are three Italians represented: Dante, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo?

But that’s not the only Italian connection. Anthony Henry Suzzallo, who served as the UW’s 16th president, was descended from Italian roots. His father, Peter Suzzallo, went to sea at an early age, got caught up in gold-rush fever, made some money, and sailed home to marry a distant cousin. The couple returned to San Jose, Calif., where Suzzallo was born in 1875, the eighth of nine children.

Not a terrific student, Suzzallo worked in a San Jose clothing store after high school. The owners took a liking to him, though, and convinced him to go to college, even loaning him the money. It turned out that Suzzallo was an excellent student after all, and turned his passion for learning into a career as an educator.

Suzzallo instigated a campus redesign and vowed that the UW library would take its place “with the best in the world.” 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.


Master Glass Painters in Perugia
by Beverly Paladeni Riter

The Studio Moretti Caselli in Perugia (Umbria) has an extensive and very interesting exhibit on the production of painted stained glass. Francesco Moretti (1833-1917) and his nephew, Lodovico Caselli studied ancient chemistry and glass art textbooks until they mastered the art of painting on glass along with their ancient stained-glass work. In time, the family produced and restored numerous stained-glass windows in many churches, cathedrals, and other buildings in Italy and other countries. Often, a piece of glass must be made four or five times, until no part of it breaks during the firing or cooling process. Therefore, working with glass is very time consuming.

Moretti’s beautiful portrait of Queen Marguerite of Savoy (1881) was exhibited in Italy and abroad. Marguerite (Margherita) was married to Umberto I, the first king of Italy. (It is said that when in Naples, she requested that her pizza be made with tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, and basil. Thus, began the Margherita pizza!) This portrait was one of several tries that had a broken piece.

Another masterpiece is the massive (almost 30 feet wide and 15 feet high) stained glass version of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, “The Last Supper” by Rosa Caselli Moretti, taking her seven years to create. It is in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA. Moretti mixed powdered colored glass with oil before painting on the glass. This piece broke five times, always the piece with the figure of Judas Iscariot, before they got one that didn’t break. The below photo is a diagram for the work.

The building where the studio is located is in the former family residence dating back to the 15th century. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the building belonged to the Baglioni family, an important Perugian family that contended against the Pope for power over the town. When the Pope reaffirmed his supremacy by building the large Rocca Paolina fortress over nearby buildings, the Baglioni house was the only one spared. The building was sold to Francesco Moretti in 1894, where the family has lived and worked for five generations of master glassworkers.

Today, visitors can see the original 15th century rooms with many frescoes, photographs, sketches, glass-working tools, kilns, and samples of the color compounds still used today to produce their beautiful painted stained-glass windows.



We are looking for cooks!

I would like to find out if anyone would like to volunteer to cook for any of our meetings in which we have dinners. If there is anyone interested in volunteering, I would be happy to answer any of their questions, for example, how many to prep for, the timing involved, how the kitchen is equipped, menu options, etc.

If anyone is interested, they can reach me at joan@danteseattle.org


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


Copyright © 2023 Dante Alighieri Society of Washington, All rights reserved.