Dante Alighieri Society of Washington
logo artYour Door to All Things Italianlogo art

We Embrace All Who Enjoy All Things Italian and Desire To Expand Their Knowledge of a Beautiful Country, Its People and Its Language

The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington promotes Italian language and culture. Our English and Italian programs are open to the public. We host an annual Christmas party and Wine Dinner featuring wines from throughout Italy. The Society sponsors an Italian Language program with beginner to expert classes.

Who We Are

The Dante Alighieri Society (DAS) of Washington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation licensed by the State of Washington and operating in the City of Seattle. Additionally we are certified as an official chapter of the Società Dante Alighieri, an international organization headquartered in Rome, Italy.

Membership is open to anyone interested in the goals and ideals of our society regardless of ethnic origin. Many of us are native Italians or of Italian ancestry, but many of us are not. So if you love things Italian or just want to learn more about Italy, its people and its language, you are welcome.

Our mission, along with international organization, is to promotes Italian culture and language within the state of Washington and around the world. Language, art, food, wine, friendship, fashion, elegant design and history are a large part of this culture. We gather together regularly (see schedule) to share food and enjoy presentations on the many aspects of the Italian culture. Join Us! There is much to enjoy and learn!

The major elements of our offerings are

  • A language program with six learning levels with classes held on the Seattle University campus. Since 1984, the local Dante chapter has offered a comprehensive Italian Language Program for all those interested in learning or perfecting their Italian language skills. Our instructors are native speakers and experienced teachers of adult learners. Learn more here.
  • The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington is one of the few locations in the United States, and the only one on the West Coast, authorized to conduct the Italian Language proficiency examination PLIDA. Among other uses, PLIDA is required by the Italian government to work and study in Italy and to obtain Italian Citizenship. Learn more here.
  • Dinner meetings with authentic meals prepared by members followed by a presentation conducted in the English language. Our pasta dinners are prepared by members using authentic Italian recipes and preparation techniques. Learn more here.
  • Meetings in which we share antipasti and desserts and conversation (both in English and Italian) followed by a presentation conducted in the Italian language. The food for these sessions are provided by members and guests in a “potluck” fashion and include homemade Italian delights from the kitchens of native cooks. Learn more here.

Become a Member   Join Mailing List

How we are organized

The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington is a membership organization with an elected board and elected consiglieri to advise the board. Board members are elected each year at the Society’s Annual General meeting, usually held the second Wednesday in April. Members are invited to submit nominees for any office to info@danteseattle.org.

The Board and Consiglieri for 2019 – 2020 are:

  • Officers
    • Dan DeMatteis – President
    • Joyce Ramee – Vice President
    • Janet Lenart – Secretary
    • Harry Reinert – Treasurer
  • Consiglieri
    • Houghton Lee – Counselor
    • Bruce Leone – Counselor
    • Dominic Minotti – Counselor
    • John Steedman – Counselor
  • Ex-Officio
    • Sylvia Shiroyama – Past President
    • Giuseppe Tassone – Language Program Director

Board meetings are usually held on the first Wednesday of August, November, January, March and May. Future meetings are tentatively scheduled for February 5, 2020, March 4, 2020 and May 6, 2020.

Meetings are held from 7:00 – 8:30pm at Merrill Gardens at First Hill, 1421 Minor Avenue on Capitol Hill. Meetings are open to all members.

Get Involved!

  • Join us for a meeting.
  • Become a member.
  • Register for a language class.
  • Volunteer.

We’ll welcome you, and we’ll get to know each other.  As an all volunteer organization (except Language School staff), Dante activities are made possible only by the time, energy, passion and love of our volunteers. Our events and gatherings create unmatched opportunities to learn more about Italy, its language and culture, and to meet other people, of Italian heritage or not, who share our common fascination with Italy. It takes a lot of volunteers to make all the Dante events happen. Member or not, you are encouraged to become actively engaged in Dante’s programs – it’s a great way to better know a great group!

Volunteer opportunities:

  • Meetings:
    • Help set up
    • Help clean up
    • Bring wine, snacks, or dessert to share
    • Cook the pasta dinner (you’ll have lots of help)
  • Write an article for La Voce newsletter
  • Festa Italia Chair: Coordinate our booth at Festa
  • Work a shift in the Dante booth at Festa Italiana
  • Help with Festa di Natale per i Bambini
  • Pre-Dante Pasta Coordinator: organize the cooking schedule
  • Program Chair: Coordinate the roster of speakers
  • Make a presentation at a meeting
  • Chair or serve on the Board nominating committee
  • Serve on the Board
  • Serve as Volunteer Coordinator

To volunteer for any position or activity or if you have questions before committing, send an email to: info@danteseattle.org or call: (206) 289-0419.

The Worldwide Dante Alighieri Society

The Società Dante Alighieri was formed in Italy in July 1889. The society was named after Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), a pre-Renaissance poet from Florence and the author of The Divine Comedy. Dante is considered the father of the Italian language.

The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington is one of the few locations in the United States, and the only one on the West Coast, authorized to conduct the Italian Language proficiency examination required by the Italian government to work or study in Italy. Learn more here.

Membership card – be sure to ask for your membership card if you are planning to travel to Italy. The membership card entitles you to a variety of discounts while traveling in Italy.

Our History

The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington was established in 1908 and reorganized in the early 1970s to promote Italian language and culture in the state of Washington.
The society has operated an Italian Language Program in Seattle since 1984.
Laura Ciroi

Laura CiroiLaura Ciroi has been teaching with the Italian language program of the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington since 2003. She was born in Palmanova, in Northern Italy, a star shaped fortress built by the Serenissima Republic of Venice to protect the territory from the invasions of the Hapsburg and the Ottoman Empires. She was raised speaking Italian, French and Friulano (her native Northern Italian dialect). Laura received a Laurea in Linguistics from the Università di Udine where she specialized in Spanish and English literature. Since then she has lived and worked in Holland, Switzerland, Spain, England, America, and Italy.

Giuseppe Tassone moved to Seattle from Italy in 1993. He has been the director of the Italian Language Program of the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington since 1998 and the PLIDA coordinator since 2011. He is a language educator, coordinator, and advocate of Italian language and culture. He has a background in economics and finance (B.A. in Economics), but chooses to specialize in Italian language and culture  (M.A. in Italian Studies). He has 20+ years of experience teaching, developing curricula, coordinating, testing, and assessing in public and non-profit organizations (e.g. Seattle University, University of Washington, Shoreline College). Giuseppe reviewed and/or contributed to several Italian language textbooks, such as Da Capo, Oggi in Italia, Avanti, Piazza and Sentieri. He is the author of Ricordati di me,  Buongiorno Notte – Italian Films Series by Edizioni Farinelli and Un buon AffareItalian for Business by Hackett Publishing Company available in print (2016) and e-book (2019). Giuseppe teaches at Seattle University and heads the Italian Section in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. Personal interests are: reading, traveling, cinema, economics, politics, playing and listening to music, swimming, biking, gardening and cooking.


E-mail: tassone@danteseattle.org

Francesca Giambartolomei

Francesca GiambartolomeiFrancesca is an Italian native, born in Cremona, northern Italy. She holds a laurea in Biology from the University of Padua and Masters of Biology from Eastern Michigan University. She left Italy in 1994 and has lived in New Zealand and the United States. She has a passion for teaching her native language, as a way of maintaining and exploring the Italian language and culture with different eyes. She has taught privately and in many institutions to students of different proficiency levels groups. Francesca is interested in literature, art and design, and in her free time, she likes reading, cooking, and making jewelry and ceramics.

Email: francesca@danteseattle.org

Damiano Pinton

Damiano PintonDamiano is a native of a small town in the Northern Italy countryside, about 17 miles away from Padua, a city famous among other things for its university, the fifth-oldest surviving in the world. He received his B.A. and M.A. Cum Laude in Japanese language and culture from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, while specializing in linguistics and translation. He lived in Japan for three and a half years, where he continued his studies and his sociolinguistic research on (im)politeness in language. While in Japan, he also started working as an Italian teacher, discovering his passion for conveying the beauty of the Italian language and culture abroad.

Email: damiano@danteseattle.org

Roberta Punzi

Roberta PunziRoberta was born in Salerno a city located in the region of Campania in Southern Italy where in the ninth century flourished the renowned Schola Medica Salernitana; the forerunner of the modern university medical schools.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and Management for Arts, Culture, Media and Entertainment from the Luigi Bocconi University, and a Master’s Degree in Piano from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music in Milan.  Roberta has been working in the field of arts management since 2008. She has served as a project manager, fundraiser and arts administrator in high-profile nonprofit organizations and music festivals in Italy.  She has taught music and Italian language in middle schools, and has held lectures in performing arts management as a teaching assistant at the University of Milan and at the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala.  She has performed many solo and chamber music recitals across Italy.  Roberta moved to Seattle from Italy in 2018, and in March 2019 she started working with Greenpeace U.S.A. as a fundraiser.  She loves classical music, visual arts, reading, traveling, hiking and of course teaching Italian.

E-mail: roberta@danteseattle.org

Valentina Robles

Valentina RoblesValentina was born in Bitonto, a small town in Puglia, South of Italy. She has a Laurea in Lettere (Degree in Humanities) and a Laurea Specialistica in Scienze dello spettacolo e della produzione multimediale (Master degree in Media Studies). During her studies, she spent seven months in Spain where she was a tutor for Spanish students enrolled in Italian classes. Her passion for the theatre and cinema brought her to work in the production department for several projects for media, theatre, and live concerts.

Email: valentina@danteseattle.org