Dante Alighieri Society of Washington

per la diffusione della lingua e della cultura italiana nel mondo

Join Our Social Gatherings!

About our social gatherings and events

Devoted to sharing the wondrous art, history, literature, music, culture and cuisine of Italy, the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington offers twice-monthly meetings with a rich program of lectures in English or Italian. A warm, welcoming hospitality includes antipasti social hour or a delicious pasta dinner prior to the presentations. And always, vino and dolci, generously shared by our members.

Additionally, throughout the year we publicize and participate in events of the larger Seattle area Italian community.

Learn more about these gatherings and events below

English and Italian language meetings

In keeping with the Dante mission to promote knowledge of Italian culture and language, the Society holds meetings on the second* and fourth Wednesdays of each month, September through May.

The presentation given at the meeting on the second Wednesday is in English and the presentation given at the meeting on the fourth Wednesday is in Italian. A gathering featuring delicious homemade food, wine and conversation with fellow lovers of all things Italian precedes each meeting. It is not necessary to be a member to attend but membership is appreciated to support the cost of these non-profit activities.

Dante Alighieri Society Gatherings - 2018-2019
English Language Italian Language
September 12th, 2018
Garden House

Speaker: Dominick Minotti
Topic: - “Le Regioni d’Italia” (The Regions of Italy).

Nick will provide information and pictures about the foods, wines, tourist attractions and industry of the different regions of Italy and ask the audience which of the twenty regions those clues apply. The presentation is a beta test of the quiz to be offered at the Dante Alighieri Society Booth at Festa Italiana on September 29 and 30.

September 26th, 2018
Garden House

Speaker: Federica Gabardi
Topic: "La testa degli italiani" di Beppe Severgnini
For some foreigners Italy is only a great immutable poetics "mental Tuscany". A land of light and perfumes, aperitifs at sunset and friendly natives. But in the heads of Italians - unfortunately or fortunately - there is something else. Traveling along the Peninsula in the company of friends from abroad, Beppe Severgnini becomes an ironic and implacable Dante. Beppe describing and explaining the cities, the streets, the houses, the squares, the shops, the churches, the stadiums etc. describes a country that "has too much style to be hell" but is "too disorderly to be heaven."
October 10, 2018
Garden House

Speaker: Prof. Mary O'Neil
Topic: Niccolò Machiavelli on Politics, Religion and War

Mary O'Neil is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington where she has taught since 1981. She received her BA from the University of Chicago and her PhD from Stanford University. 

She has taught courses on Medieval and Renaissance Italy since the 1980's, including the course Rome: the City in History from Romulus to Mussolini.
Her research interests focus on the Roman Inquisition, heresy and popular beliefs suppressed by the church courts.
October 24, 2018
Good-bye to Garden House Get-together

Usually at our second meeting each month we have a speaker, who makes a presentation in Italian.  And for the October 24 we had booked Claudio Mazzola from the UW Italian Department to present an overview of the films to be presented at the SIFF CInema Italian Style Festival, November 8-15.  Unfortunately SIFF has still not announced the lineup of films for the Festival, so our speaker has been unable to put together material for his presentation.

This is our last meeting at Garden House. We will use this opportunity for members to make suggestions for a new meeting place, give feedback and have questions answered.

So here's the plan:

  • Meet at 6:30 as usual.  Please bring along an antipasto, vino or dolce to share
  • 6:30 - 7:15 food and informal conversation preceded by a toast to Garden House
  • 7:15 - 8:30 information and feedback meeting:  where do we go from here?
November 14, 2018
Speaker: Prof. Beatrice Arduini
Topic: Italian Languages and Dialects
St. James Pastoral Outreach Center

Italy is a very rich country in terms of linguistic heritage: the Italian peninsula is home to 28 indigenous and six non-indigenous languages, although Italians usually - and rather erroneously, according to many linguists - refer to those as "i dialetti." Where do these "dialects" come from, and why don't Italian's respect their own languages enough to call them languages? Tonight we will take a linguistic dive into Italy's languages and dialects and their significance for language learners and Italy lovers.
November 2018
No Gathering
December 12, 2018
St. James Pastoral Outreach Center

Annual Christmas Party
December 2018
No Gathering
January 9, 2019
St. Patrick's Catholic Church

Speaker: Mikala Woodward (Wing Luke Museum) in collaboration with Rainier Valley Historical Society
Topic: Seattle's "Garlic Gulch" Italian community

Seattle's Italian community established itself in the Rainier Valley in the late 19th century and Italian American families and businesses thrived in "Garlic Gulch" through the Second World War. The postwar era brought economic, demographic, and infrastructure changes that pushed out many Italian families and threatened the neighborhood's physical integrity and cultural identity.

Mikala Woodward, former Director of the Rainier Valley Historical Society, will present stories and images of the old Italian neighborhood, and point out traces of it that still remain today. Mikala served as Director of the Rainier Valley Historical Society from 2001 to 2009. She has written many articles about the history of the neighborhood for the South District Journal and the City of Seattle's Historic Preservation Program. She is currently working as an Exhibit Developer at the Wing Luke Museum, and lives in Hillman City.

The Rainier Valley Historical Society's (RHVS) traveling display about the Italian community in Rainier Valley will also be available at the event. The RVHS has been collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the history of the Rainier Valley since 1893. Their office is located in Columbia City.
January 23, 2019
St. Patrick's Catholic Church

Speaker: Prof. Susan Gaylard
Topic: "Italian Fashion and Politics"

Prof. Susan Gaylard will discuss  a few *historical* moments from across the centuries in which we see Italian politics and fashion reflecting each other.

Susan Gaylard is Associate Professor of Italian Studies and affiliate faculty in Art History at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research and teaching focus on intersections between textual and material culture, from printed portraits to the fashion industry. Her first book, Hollow Men, showed how Renaissance writers imagined themselves and their works as permanent monuments. She is currently working on a new book analyzing the disappearance of images of women from 16th-century European histories.

February 13, 2019

Due to the uncertainty of the weather conditions this week and concern for the safety of our members and guests, the Annual Wine Dinner scheduled for February 13 has been canceled and will be rescheduled to a later date.
February 27, 2019
St. Patrick's Catholic Church

Speaker: Cecilia Strettoi
Topic: Italian literature on migration

Cecilia Strettoi's presentation will trace the links between the current situation of immigration to Europe and the attempts of some Italian writers and journalists to transform the general problem into the stories of individuals with their own history and their own experience.  These narrative are founded on the clear intent to humanize immigrants who current governments, both in Italy and elsewhere, try to portray as a threat to national security. Through the analysis of three books, we will try to shed light on some authors who have sided with the immigrants.

Cecilia Strettoi is an instructor of Italian language, literature, and culture with over two decades of educational experience. She has taught in several institutions and is very well known in Seattle amongst people interested in Italy.  Cecilia’s main interest is offering a well-rounded understanding of Italy through the lens of literature, history, and current events. She is particularly intrigued by cross-cultural comparisons and thrives in offering her students a multifaceted perspective of Italy.
March 13, 2019
Speaker: Father Tom Lucas
Topic: To be announced
March 27, 2019
Speaker: Prof. Alberto Sbragia
Topic: To be announced
April 10, 2019
Annual General Membership Meeting and Election of the Board of Directors
April 24, 2019
Speaker: Matteo FitzGerald
Topic: Sicily
May 8, 2019
Speaker: Rob Prufer
Topic: To be announced
May 2019
No Gathering

Location of our regular meetings

The January 2019 English and Italian Meetings will be held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 2702 Broadway E., Seattle. Parking is available in St. Patrick's parking lot, off of E. Edgar street.


General timeline for meetings

English Language Meetings

Time Activity Cost
5:30pm Room Setup and meal preparation; volunteers welcome! Pasta, salad, and bread is prepared by members, and all attendees are encouraged to bring wine, antipasti, or dessert to share. And, of course socializing. None
6:30pm Dinner is served! Preregistration* is requested to ensure that enough food is available for everyone. $8 per person or $15 per couple
7:30pm A presentation related to Italian culture provided by guest speaker and is presented in the English language. None
8:30pm – 9:00pm Room Cleanup: everyone is encouraged to participate. None

*Register for Pasta Dinner (English language meetings only)

Register for the Pasta Dinner before English language meetings here. Or, call our Information Line (206) 289-0419 by the Monday before to reserve your spot(s) or email your request to reserve@danteseattle.org. Cost is $8.00 per person or $15.00 per couple to be paid at the dinner. Cash, check, credit or debit cards accepted. Reservations are not necessary for Italian meetings.

Italian Language Meetings

Time Activity Cost
6:00pm Room Setup; volunteers are welcome! None
6:30pm Potluck wine, antipasti and dessert are provided by attendees, so bring your favorites to share. Conversation is in both English and Italian, as you wish; it's a good opportunity to practice your Italian conversational skills. None, bring what you want to share
7:30pm A presentation related to Italian culture provided by guest speaker and is presented in the Italian language. None
8:30pm – 9:00pm Room Cleanup: everyone is encouraged to participate None

Special events

In addition to the regular meetings, the Society participates in various other events involving Italian language and culture. For example:

Get Involved! We'll welcome you, and we'll get to know each other.

As an all volunteer organization (except Language School staff) Dante activities above 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:

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.