Published by the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington                                                     February 2023




President’s Message

Ciao a Tutti,
I hope this winter greeting finds you well and warm, and if you are travelling, having a wonderful time! If you ARE travelling, please consider sharing your stories in the next issue of La Voce! Email

Our winter gatherings for Dante are taking place online, to avoid potential disruption from inclement weather and to include members and guests from beyond Seattle. So if you have a computer or a phone, you can join the fun – and what an amazing variety of programs are happening! January 11th featured Heather Stoven in a fascinating talk about olive cultivation.

This month we will offer a scholarly lecture and a tuba recital, presented live for us from Italy. Check out the details described in this issue, and watch for the email registration announcements for each presentation.

Don’t forget to renew your Dante membership if you haven’t done so. Our membership fees are the lifeline of all our programs, so please don’t forget to renew.

Member survey in the works!
Your Board of Directors wants to hear from you. Watch for an online survey coming out before spring.

Save the date for our Annual Meeting Dinner: April 12, 2023 at St. Clement’s Church.
Plan to attend and share this important event with your Dante friends. Details will be sent next month.

Meanwhile, see you soon at the Zooms!





February Zoom meetings

Both of our meetings in February will be on Zoom. Our English meeting presenter is Donald De Santis, a Dante member, former lawyer and currently a lecturer on Azamara Cruises throughout the Mediterranean Sea.

His presentation on Wednesday, February 8 will focus on “The Many Cultures of Southern Italy.” Here’s a brief description of his talk:

From the earliest periods of recorded history, the southern part of the Italian peninsula has been occupied/ruled by a host of outsiders – the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French, and Spanish.  This has shaped and formed the unique culture of this region.  In ancient times, Syracuse was arguably the greatest of all Greek cities. Palermo was the site of an advanced Arabic kingdom in the Middle Ages and later was the seat of a Norman kingdom that was the intellectual center of Europe in the 12th century.  Come visit a region that is a blend of many cultures and religions.
Don will present in English. I’m looking forward to seeing all that sunshine on ancient antiquities; it’ll be a welcome sight during our cloudy Seattle winter.

We have a musical event for our February 22 Italian meeting his time, direct from Italy.

Gianmario Strappati, concertista, professore al Conservatorio G. Verdi di Ravenna in Italia and Ambasciatore di Missioni Don Bosco per la musica nel mondo will present a live concert entitled “Delle arie più celebri della musica classica, interpretate per Tuba, cimbasso e pianoforte.”

Gianmario will serenade us with some familiar and famous classical music interpreted by him on the tuba. He’ll also provide commentary in Italian on the music.

I hope you can attend one or both of these fascinating Zoom events.




Language Program
by Giuseppe Tassone

The 2022-23 school year is now in its second quarter, with most of the students who enrolled in the fall quarter continuing in the winter in perfect alignment with last year’s enrollment. Our total number of students so far is coincidentally the same as last year, confirming attraction for our program and excellent retention.  Students’ satisfaction is high, as confirmed by the positive evaluations we received at the end of fall quarter.  Among others are:

 “This has been the best program I have tried”.

“I have learned much in just 3 months and I am so excited to keep progressing”.

“I feel like I have learned more in this format than others I have taken”.

Students praise our instructors:

 “Francesca is a very good teacher. She is approachable, well-organized, explains concepts clearly, maintained a good pace in class and made herself available to students who needed extra help. Her sense of humor and gentle teaching style created a classroom environment conducive to learning. She was familiar with Canvas and always posted our lessons in a timely manner. She is also proficient with Zoom and expertly navigates the environment.”

“Damiano is really patient and works with us when we are struggling to find the right conjugation and tense. Excellent Instructor!”

 “Both Roberta and Giorgio are skilled, sensitive and encouraging teachers. I was very fortunate to have been one of the other pupils.”

 “Teaching ability and attitude seem excellent.”

 “Laura is a great teacher. She was patient and greatly helped us. I improved my pronunciation by listening to her and her corrections always challenged me in a good way.”

To the question, “How would you rate your experience with Canvas?”  45.5 percent responded very satisfied, 45.5 % satisfied, 9.1 % neutral and 0% dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

This is very encouraging since we are only at the beginning of the second year of Canvas implementation during which we have had to create not only the entire structure but also all the administrative and pedagogical content. The goal of the second year is to refine the content with a clearer distinction between core material and supplementary material, verify existing pages and links for accuracy, and create new ones as needed.

Instructors are getting more and more familiar with the platform and determining the best practices for its use in a language course.

A student wrote: “I use all the material and especially like the option to check our answers – it helps me see, before a class, what I need to practice more. It helps me to be prepared before class.”
From two other students: “I liked the after-class activities we did to reinforce what we
learned in class.” “Organizational structure for each session (what to do before, etc.) is great. “

The online option continues to be a favorite by students:
“I would definitely continue to enroll if there was an option for on-line in the future. I love it!”

“I can only enroll online because I live too far to commute! I did “attend” some virtual Dante monthly meetings when they were virtual.”

“The convenience of online courses cannot be beat. I honestly do not think I would physically attend a class held at the same time and with the same frequency.”

“Online – it makes it easier for me because I travel 3-4 days a week for work. I can take my learning material and computer anywhere!”

Thanks to the online environment, our mission of promoting the Italian language and culture locally has the potential to reach a larger community beyond the State of Washington.  We already have some students connecting from other states such as one from Oregon this quarter, and we want everyone to know of this possibility to take Dante courses within and out of state and take advantage of it. We also want to reach those who wish to learn Italian but for whom online is the best option.  This is the true spirit of the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington: open to everybody the door to all things Italian.

According to our latest survey, 63.6% of students choose to learn Italian because it improves the functionality of my brain, 45.5 % because I have relative in Italy, 45.5% because I am planning a trip to Italy, 36.4% because it is a beautiful language, 27.3 % because I am interested in Italian language and culture and 27.3% because I am working towards PLIDA Italian certification exam.  The linguistic skills acquired from our courses will allow students to take the PLIDA exam and obtain a certification (also required in order to obtain Italian citizenship) that is valid and recognized around the world.

Since 2011, we have been authorized to conduct the PLIDA exams in person here in Seattle under my coordination and with an approved examination board.  We are pleased to announce that just a few days ago, we signed a new agreement with the Società Dante Alighieri in Rome which grants us the use of the new PLIDA logo which, starting January 31, 2023, will recognized the PLIDA centers around the world. Visit our website for all the information about PLIDA, including the date for the next session open to everyone, not only students, on June 21st .






The Italian Connection: Seattle through the Decades

Image credit: MOHAI

Edo Vanni: The Heart and Soul of Seattle Baseball
By Rita Cipalla

Edo Vanni was as feisty as they come. Some called him a firebrand; others, a hothead. His wife once said he could start a fight in an empty room.

How much of that headstrong nature was just for show is hard to know. But no one disputes the fact that Edo Vanni was a talented athlete. Called the heart and soul of Seattle baseball, Vanni was a key member of the fledgling Seattle Rainiers team when they won three straight pennants in the Pacific Coast League starting in 1939.

Edo Vanni was born in 1918 to Raffaello and Esterina. The family had arrived in Washington from Garfagnana, Italy, and Raffaello found word in Black Diamond as a coal miner. A gifted athlete in high school, Edo got an athletic scholarship to the UW but during his freshman year he left to join the Seattle Rainiers.

During the team’s glory years, Vanni hit better than .300 and led the 1940 team with an amazing performance of .333. He missed most of his fourth season because of a broken leg. But at this point, there was no going back. Baseball became his life. 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.




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


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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