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A Journal for Tyrolean Americans Volume 14


Introduction… Dear Tyrolean Americans… Preparing an edition of the Filo` requires somewhat of an immersion in a particular valley and engage a whole new group of new friends to try to create a portrait of that valley. So it was with the Valley of the Mocheni, never before visited.The Val dei Mocheni is a fascinating valley with an equally fascinating community of people. As immigrants or settlers they came to this valley at the millenium from a variety of Bavarian communities, kept their customs and even evolved somewhat of a new language. Today, they are trying to hold on to their heritage, refresh and celebrate it possibly to pursue the Filo’s axiom…who they are is who they were. As I interacted with them in preparing this issue, I felt that their saga reflected ours here in the America. In the words and through the research of our Father Bolognani, we came to know that our people had a distinctive identity, different from most other immigrants in their history, language and customs. While they were presumed to be Italians, they insisted on their distinctive and distinquishing Tyrolean identity . While they left us clear memories and images of their character and personae, while they were so busy and absorbed in adapting themselves and their children to our country, they were taciturn or simply reluctant…maybe hesitant to explain their lives and their ways in the“old country” to us, a complaint I hear so very often from our readers. Maybe…just maybe, they..these forbearers of ours remain involved and from where they are now…al di la`..they are attending to this gap by inspiring and encouraging and supporting the Filo` to lay before us their story…of their lands, ways and places. Sincerely, Lou Brunelli Front Cover:Palu/Palai as well as Fierozzo/Vlarotz

The Filò is published and distributed three times a year and is targeted to the children of our immigrant parents. The Filò (pronounced fee-lò) was the daily gathering in the stables of the Trentino where the villagers met and socialized. The intent is to gather and provide a summary of our culture, history, and customs in plain English to inform you regarding the background of our roots and ancestry, our people and our lands.. If you wish to contact us, call Lou Brunelli at 914-402-5248. Attention: Your help is needed to expand our outreach to fellow Tyrolean Americans. Help us identify them, be they your children, relatives or acquaintances. Go to and register on line to receive the magazine free of charge. You may also send your data to Filò Magazine, PO Box 90, Crompond, NY 10517 or fax them to 914-734-9644 or submit them by email to


Introduction to the Val dei Mocheni


n gruas aus Bersntol…Greetings from the Val dei Mocheni! The land of the Mocheni lies on the left bank, as well as at the higher altitudes on the right bank of the Fersina.. Their towns include Frassilongo(Garait),Roveda(Oachlait),Fierozzo(Vlarotz) and Palu` del Fersina(Palai en Bersntol). (Note: In this German speaking region, most towns, rivers, etc. are still referred to by their German name - the name we have included in parentheses). This region covers an area of 51 square kilometers. On the right bank of the Fersina(Bersn), before reaching Palu`, we find the towns of Mala and of Sant’Orsola which are non-German speaking and therefore not really a part of the Mocheno community. These two towns are favorably located, enjoying an abundance of sunlight, lying at a moderate altitude and on land that is not particularly steep. For a few centuries in the Middle Ages, the forests and pastures where the present community is located, were used by neighboring communities or were rented out to them. In 1200, for example, the town of Povo, near Trento, paid an annual rent to the treasury of the cathedral at Trento, for the property called ‘Monte di Fierozzo’. In the wake of the sharp increase in population in central Europe after the year 1000, several local nobles favored establishing homesteads for German-speaking peasant families of the surrounding territories. The aim was to colonize the territory systematically. Of particular importance was

lands between 700 and 1450 meters above sea level had been allocated. Every homestead consisted of a farmhouse, shelter for the animals, storage for hay and feed, several fields for planting as well as pasture lands on the steeper terrain, and often a small tract of wooded land. The homesteaders could also avail themselves of the

common pastures, that is those above 1500 meters in altitude, where they could build a summertime shelter for their cows, goats and sheep. This sort of colonization gives rise to isolated homes in a sparsely populated territory. Only later did small farm communities come together in the towns we find today, with agencies to serve all and churches for worshipping. The outputs of the homesteads were primarily dairy products and grains (rye, barley, oats, corn and buckwheat). There was also some meat, and fruits and vegetables which were consumed fresh and also processed and stored for the winter. Most of the output was consumed by the farmers themselves, but any excess was carried off to the markets at Pergine or at Borgo Valsugana, where they were traded for other indispensible staples such as salt. In the course of centuries, the original homesteads became ever smaller as they were subdivided among the sons. This situation gave rise to other phenomena such as emigration, a larger number of unmarried adults, and the rise of seasonal migratory labor. As time went on, more specialized employment sprang up such as the trades of lumberjacking and mining, jobs in sawmills and in small factories producing specialized items such as cartwheels. Cereals have always been a mainstay of both the human and animal diet, at least until the wide diffusion of potatoes and corn in the 1800’s. The first grist mills in

the role played by the representatives of the Tyrolean counts occupying the castle of Pergine. This process, started at Frassilongo and at Roveda, was later extended to Fierozzo and Palu. The program was discontinued early in the 14th century when all of the 4

the valley date back to the year 1200. Gardens close to the farmhouses yielded salad greens, beans, and carrots. And a small cabbage patch provided the makings of various krauts which were stored for winter consumption. Wood was always the prime resource of the community. The two most cultivated trees were the red fir and the larch, both providing lumber for construction. In the sixteenth century, straw roofs gradually gave way to shingles. These were 1.5 cm. thick and were cut by hand from 70 cm long trunks. Many other parts of a building were made of wood. Interior partitions, sun decks, doors, rafters, etc. were traditionally crafted from local lumber. Small sawmills, in the ‘Venetian’ style, were constructed in the vicinity of the farmsteads. These were powered by water, sluiced over a small wooden wheel at one end of the mill. Many other types of wood were used in crafting useful household items – the local cirmolo wood was carved, laburnum was used for small tool parts or for fence posts, alder for the soles of shoes, birch for tool handles, etc. Woman’s work was always within the confines of the farm. Her tasks were the traditional household duties and the raising of the children, but also included a long list of other work pertaining to the care of livestock, especially when her husband was absent. Cereals and milk were the principal ingredients in many recipes, particularly for the breads and rolls, the dough mixed in wooden bowls and eaten daily. On special occasions, the meal included meat and special desserts like the pear torte called kropfen. The extraction of minerals boomed in the late Middle Ages and until 1520. Miners were recruited from north of the Alps and from Bohemia. Later, the feasibility of mining copper decreased rapidly, but attempts continued to mine other minerals, such as the fluoride used in both the glass and metallurgical industries. Mining operations in the valley continued sporadically until 1971 when they were abandoned for good. But the ventures continued to live in the collective memory with tales of rivers of gold descending the slopes and numerous legends such as that of the golden balls at Perkmandl. In Europe, beginning in the early 1800’s, there was a wave of movements to align state borders with those of single nations. In the second half of the century, even the German speaking enclave of the Fersina Valley became the object of opposing nationalistic factions, focusing on the Trentino, an Italian land in a Tyrolean

province. The education of the young was assumed by a German school system, but this lasted only until the end of the First World War, when Italian became the official language. When war broke out with the Italians, the AustroHungarian army retreated to the lower reaches of Valsugana, moving their line of defense to the east of Levico. The southeastern part of the Fersina Valley was fortified and between 1915 and 1916, roads were built providing vehicle access to Palu` . Paths to higher altitudes, from Panarotta to Bassa, Fravort(Hoabort), Gronlait(Hoajoch), Pizzo Alto(Hoaspitz), Schrimbler, Passo Cagnon(Sattelenjoch), and Karl were laid out and lined with trenches. Among the Austro-Hungarian troops was the Austrian writer Robert Musil who was well known for his Confusions of Young Torless published in 1906. Musil, who remained in the valley for months, was struck by the unique aspects of the area and was inspired to write about them in a short story published in 1921. He later elaborated on this tale, writing what would become one of the most important novels of the century – The Man Without Qualities. In 1939, an agreement between Italians and Germans provided for the Italianization of of the whole Sudtirol territory as well as of the small German speaking enclaves of the Trentino. This accord provided ‘options’ for those citizens of the region who might prefer to remain under German rule. In 1942, after a prolonged period of propaganda, about 500 families of the Fersina Valley opted to leave their homes, and after a short stay in a refugee camp near Salzburg, they were established in the farmlands of Bohemia. Some families, which had begun to doubt the good intentions of the whole operation, found themselves sent to Silesia! At any rate, almost all of the families who had availed themselves of this ‘option’, returned en masse to their valley in May 1945, when Soviet troops occupied Bohemia and Silesia. But psychological, economic and moral scars remained, nonetheless. Written by Leo Toler, Bersntoler Kulturinstitut, Mochen Cultural Institute.



The Tyrolean Elixir: Grappa

The Trentino is famous for an excellent production of wines from several of its valleys. The Agrarian Institute of San Michele of the Adige has had a very important role in wine making of the agrarian school. The Institute had once been situated in the very and current site of the Museum of the Uses and Customs of the Trentino People. With the remnants (must) of the wine production process, there is yet another product very loved and diffused throughout the Trentino:grappa,or in dialect sgnapa.The vinaccia..the must..the residue of wine making determines the quality of the grappa e must arrive at the distillery fresh and with the vine still dripping with wind so that the distilling process proceeded slowly and patiently. Once the production of grappa in the homes was widespread howsoever regulated and at times prohibited by law. In the mountainous villages, the sale of grappa, typically clandestine, represented an important source of income. Grappa was used for a medicinal purposes especially for tooth pain and to disinfect wounds. Under the Austrian Hungarian Empire, the Trentino distilleries enjoyed a favorable and supportive tax disposition. The tradition of the grappa production is particularly rooted in the Val di Cembra, the Valsugana and the Val dei Laghi (the Valley of the Lakes). There is a refined grappa, bottled after conservaton for at least 12 months in wooden barrels. There is an aged grappa, bottled after a conservation of 12 to 18 months in wooden barrels. There is a stravecchia (very old) or reserved grappa, bottled after a conservation of more than 18 months in wooden barrels. Finally there is an aromatic grappa which after its production, there is infused one or more natural essences either vegetables, herbs or roots. One type of aromatic grappa that is widespread in use is nocino. It was once considered indispensable in every home. The nuts were gathered the 24 of June, the day of the feast of St John the Baptist, the time period in which the wine must reaches its most concentrated and active time period.. conclusion of contracts and was diffused through out the Trentino even to this day

Nocino was consumed on the ccasion of the. There is a saying...”distilling is imitating the sun which evaporates the water of the earth and has it return falling like rain.”The distilling consists in fact in boiling the liquid and as it cools, it condenses the steam by means of tool or utensil called alambico. The traditional “alambico” is made of copper. It has a heating element, in which one places the liquid and the material to distill. It is then heremetically sealed with a “pot cover” formed as a sphere. Once the fire is lit under the heating, the cover helps to move the steamed vapors to the condenser passing through a curled tube immersed in a barrel of cold water, from which there flows the distillate.The first and last parts of the liquid are discarded so the grappa is the very heart of the distillate.

Alambico-Museum at San Michele

At the Museo degli Usi and Customs of the Trentino People, there is preserved a particular alambicco that is mobile. It was built in Dro in 1920 and jokingly called the “Spiritosa”...the Spirited One. It was used in the Sarca River area for the home made grappa. In the museum’s hall dedicated to distilling, there are displayed the varied of aromatic grappas made in the home and a display of the types used to flavor the grappas. See below. Written by Daniela Finardi, Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina.


The Mòchen Wardrobe


he traditional wardrobe of the Mocheni are an important witness and reflection of the history and the culture of our. The festive wardrobe was historically part of the patrimony of the family passed down through the generations. So much so that documents of wills and testmanets, one finds specific references to passing and the dividing of the garments to the children and heirs as a family heirloom. In the Mochen langage, the nomenclature gabont is used to define the wardrobe. The origin of this term is derived from the German Gewand (wardrobe). In the Val dei Mocheni like in other valleys, one wore different clothes according to the festive occasions. The ordinary every day clothes were quite different from those worn for festive occasions such as Christmas, Easter and the ritual processions.

Mochen Women of Frassilongo-1940

The festive wardrobe was characterized by clothes with special stuff, the result of savings and of gifts especially from those men, husbands, fathers, fiances or brothers who emigrated for work and returning home brought gifts to their families. The clothes of the woman were adorned with interesting elements. The shawl were generally of a soft and treated wool (lana rasata) with floral motifs and embroidery. The apron of shining silk stood out with its sheen over the skirt. The colors of this part of wardrobe were many and varied. Younger girls preferred clear and bright colors while the older women preferred darker colors. Jewlery was worn only on special occasions and on the occasion when family photographs were taken. The jewlery consisted usually of necklaces of coral or smaller necklaces with crucifixes and medals. The blouses were often adorned with decorative embroidered wrist cuffs, produced with great skill by women in their homes. The wardrobe of the men folk instead were simple with few accessories usually with a hat. Only the bethrothed, kiskrittn, would use a new suit, a gift from the god parents for the occasion of their betrothal. They would wear the kronz, richly adorned with sparkling accessories along with a a feather of alpine grouse. To this day, one sees group of women with their traditional wardrobe for festive occasions. Written by Claudia Marchesoni, Mochen Cultural Institute

The Mochen families produced at home most of the ordinary daily ware that was used for the domestic tasks and chores, in the fields and in the stables. They were produced with poor and scant materials. An important material and element in the production of home spun clothes was lana boll. Lana Boll was mostly used to make sweaters, socks, caps and blankets as well as bonnets for children. Lana boll was combined with other fibers such as hemp. (hemp?) Hemp hunef had once been cultivated in the

valley. It was spun as a fibre. With spun hemp fibre, the household made strong resistent shirts, sheets and bed clothes or pajamas for the cold nights. The Mocheni tried to save as much as possible even when producing their shoes. In place of leather soles, wood soles were sculpted to create the so called kospn. To the wooden sole, there was affixed the upper portion,the tomaia, which is part of the “shoe� that covers the foot. At one time it was made of leather (coram o curam in dialect). It was used and reused and recycled as much as possible. Under the wooden sole, there were metal nails..nogln in order not to slip on slopes or ice and snow.

Hat of the koskrittn -Kronz



o f the Pa s t IImages m a g e s of t h e Past

n the early 1800’s a Tyrolean from Bolzano, Carl Von Lutterotti , painted a series of “aquarelli”, water colors of the clothing of both men and women in various valleys including the Val dei Mòcheni. These images and their commentary were presented in a book prepared by Gian Paolo Gri and Chiara San Giuseppe. The book, I Costumi Popolari del Trentino was sponsored by the Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina…the Museum of the Ways and Customs of the Trentino. While some of the valleys have preser ved their folk costumes, other valleys, especially those that were so strained by their poverty and impelled to emigrate, made less efforts to preser ve their their traditional folk clothers. The images of the woman and the men below were people who lived in Palu` and Fierozzo of the Val dei Mòcheni.

. . . and a n d Today To d a y



The Tyrolean Mining Tradition n the Tyrol in 1500, they would say..� Primiero one finds wood in great quantity and metals of good quality. The quantity/quality axiom referred not just to the vast forests and rich minerals of that small valley in the eastern part of the Tyrol...Trentino but to the entire Tyrol and Alpine region. In fact, millions of years ago, as the mountain chains formed themselves, the rocks that were covered and were at great depths became lifted, folded, shattered and exposed to the erosion of the lands. Accordingly, the layers and deposits were slowly pushed to the surface and literally placed at the door step of the ancient miners who succeeded to exploit these deposits with their ancient tools. During the Bronze Age, 2200 to 1000 BC, there began the mining of metals. There are few traces of the prehistoric miners who left few but important foot prints in regarding to their activities. There a series of smelting furnaces that were used to fuse the metals. The largest of these discoveries of such furnaces were in the Val dei Mocheni and they were the largest in the whole Alpine arc. During the Roman Empire, the mining activities diminish in the Trentino or Tyrol. In fact, it became more convenient to import metals from other provinces where the mining of metals came to cost less. This change was caused by the use of the slaves of the Empire and the construction of the network of roads of the Empire. Tyrolean mining was infrequent during the early Middle Ages. In fact, craftmanship and commerce declined while agriculture by the contadini barely guaranteed survival. Few could afford metal tools. In 1200, the mines were reopened and the Prince Bishop Friedrich von Wangen imposed work rules on the miners becoming the very first European mining rules. The principal mine deposits were found near the city of Trento and Primiero valley and the Valley of the Mocheni. The miners came from the Northern Tyrol as well as other regions of Central Europe. In Medeval times and the succeeding centuries, the mine deposits were discovered by the observation of the soil and rocks as well as occasional land slides. To extract the minerals, miners had to construct inclined galleries or chambers with vertical shafts. The galleries and the shafts were bound together by passage ways. The galleries were narrow. The walls and mining vaults were sustained by beams and timbers of wood. The galleries were illuminated by torches or candles or by stone blocks carved out and filled with animal fat. The miners used pick axes, sledge hammers, iron bars and wrecking bars. However, more than any other tools, they used a club hammer and a sort of hammer which iron head had a flattened face opposite to a sharpened end. They would place the point of the hammer on the rock that was to be shattered and then they beat the hammer with the small sledge hammer. The minerals were carried out by young persons, women and older people. They used a sacks, baskets and wooden buckets. In the larger mines, wheel barrows and wooden coal cars were used. Mining for three centuries and reached its climax in 1500, followed by a rapid decline. The mineral deposits become depleted and too expensive to continue. At the same time, American mining begin to be exported to Europe. Tyrolean miners became To this day, the original German surnames are diffused throughout the Trentino. Illustrations from ancient manuscript Schwazer Bergbuch, from a mining manual of a mountain in Schwaz, Austria..Written by Luca Faoro-Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina,


The Mòchen Carnevale…


death of the two. With the bètscho on the ground, the betscha proceeds to the reading of the will. This rite is repeated for the death of the Bètscha.

hroughout the Alpine region, one finds rituals and rites, that reflect ancient customs and practices that pre-date or are inspired by times prior to the acceptance of Christianity. There are dances, masks and rites that were originally practices to enhance the fertitlity of their fields and their lives. We have seen this in the rituals particularly of the Val di Fassa with the dances of masked characters often glad with bells stomping the ground to “awaken the earth” to yield its fruits. In the Val dei Mocheni, beginning immediately after the Epiphany, there ensues a colorful event that reenacts one such ritual. On Shrove Tuesday voschnto in Mocheno, many gather to see the enactment of three characters…the bètscho and the bètscha…the veci or old folks. On the day, they start dressing in the highest farmstead of the area and they begin their path and descent from farm to farm bringing seed to enhance abundance and fertility. They descend quickly with leaps and bounds. The betscho and betscha are completely masked in black and carry a stick and a broom respectively. The betscho in particular wears a head dress of goat skin, a white hemp gown encircled at the waist with a large leather belt that supports a simulated hump composed of hay and straw. These two characters are accompanied by Der oiartroger, the collector of eggs. He collects the eggs accepting them as a votive offering of the houses visited. The purpose of this activity of these symbolic characters is to spread abundance and fertility throughout the territory inspired by the ancient advent of spring rites. The climax of the ritual is the simulated

In the reading of the will, the call goes out to all the i coscritti ( "koskrittn") ..both male and female ( a coscritto refers to young people reaching maturity, or class or age mate as well as a draftee) of all the villages. The veci, the old couple assume therefore the role of the parents for such people of the community. The reading of the will prompts great attention of interest as well as comedy since it becomes a game, a jest in which there is a reversal of roles wherein the family’s patrimony of the girls is willed or deeded to a boy viceversa for the girls, upsetting the traditional rules of succession. At the conclusion., the cakes and sweets baked by the area girls the night before when the information was gathered for the exprctations of the will to be read. The Carnival procession ends at sun down with the burning of the hay of the betscho and the sheets of the wills. The entire festive community gathers in a pasture called schgerzerbis where they burn an enormous bonfire vosschn prepared in advance. With the festivities concluded , they retire to awake to Ash Wednesday


Family Stories: The Fenice Family My father Vittorio Fenice was born conversing, updating their in 1898 in Cavaione in the Bleggio of information about the paesi, the Val delle Giudicarie. He was one playing cards and of three boys born to Matilda and mora…and then and always break out in the songs and Cesare Luchesa. Following so many sounds of their mountains in of his paesani of the villages, Vittorio at 17 emigrated to the USA the Tyrol. I remember my parents walked everywhere. heading for the coal fields of Freeport in North Western They did not drive and did not own a car. They walked Pennsylvania. The dangers and where they could and took neglect of those mines resulted in a the bus or subway when it cave in where he was seriously injured. As a union member, he was too far to walk. received compensation, gave up My father worked as a mining and returned to the Tyrol butcher at the Women’s where he met and married my National Republican Club mother, Erminia Faustini of Larido and then at the Yale Club in in the Bleggio. After the birth of my Manhattan working in their older brother Ludovico, my father kitchens starting as a dish returned to the USA settling this washer and graduating to time in Brooklyn, NY. Four years Vittorio Fenice & Erminia Faustini become their butcher. These later, Erminia and Ludovico were clubs often had banquets with so many leftovers that united in their new Brooklyn household. The following they were shared with the workers…and my dad who year I was born and my brother Anthony followed then shared them with us who enjoyed many and three years later. Our family lived and thrived in a different foods. He was shrewd card player, loved the Tyrolean Community in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn Dodgers and read the newspaper every day. Brooklyn. Over the years, mom and dad maintained close ties and contact with their family and paesani in My mother was a wonderful home maker, kept us all the Trentino exchanging their stories and their life clean and well fed. Half the height of my dad and activities. In 1959, while in the military and traveling seemingly passive, she ruled the roost and truly kept across Europe, I visited my parent’s family in those the equilibrium of the household with four males. She ancient villages enjoying their warm, welcoming and was exceedingly tender and warm with each of her generous hospitality. The visit made me understand and three boys…including my dad. She was deeply appreciate the significance of my parents` roots, values religious, forever grateful for having her son “Frankie” and fascination for the communal life of their Tyrolean spared from serious injury when his carriage slipped family down a flight of stairs. Hardly speaking English, every week …all by herself..she took two NY subways to Throughout my childhood, mom and dad maintained arrive to Greenwich Village walking blocks to St. close contact with their Tyrolean paesani scattered Anthony’s Church, depicted in the Godfather II movie, throughout the New York metropolitan area. They where she fulfilled promises made and prayed for all of seem to need each other to embrace their heritage by us. We went to church every Sunday as a family to a embracing their friends. Nothing was more significant Polish/Lithuanian Church of the Annunciation. Our than their Sunday gathering if not “home comings”. neighborhood was fairly diverse for the time and we On Sundays from the spring to the fall, after attending knew people from many different backgrounds. mass, as many as 15 families from the Bleggio would pack up their polentas and spezzatini in boxes and in I have fond memories of my childhood spending time safari style would board subways from different with our extended family and maintaining the traditions boroughs of the city and find themselves in a secluded and culture of the Tyrol while blending into the ways of part of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx where they our adopted home. Written by Frank Fenice….Long would literally reconstruct their villages… eating, Island town, Dear Park, NY 12

The Song…the Fersina Valley

This song resembles a psalm that proclaims the history of a people or the beauty of nature and the affection of a people for their environment, their beloved valley. Each valley of the Tyrol was a separate place, apart and distinct by virtue of the natural boundaries of the valley’s mountains. Each such enclave reflected the history of their forbearers struggle to settle and service as almost the children of the earth. The Fersina Valley or the Val dei Mocheni was yet more remote and secluded valley not only by its boundaries but also by its language. This song is relatively recent and represents the revival and determined effort to preserve their heritage. It refers to its physical aspects, their people’s sentiments of not only peasants but also the Kromeri, the itinerant peddlers that traveled near and far to make a living. Absent an oral tradition of Mochen song, the song represents a revival of the Mochen spirit. The lyrics were written by Antonio Battisti while the music was orchestrated by Roberto Socin.

The Valley of the Fersina

Anau unter de jecher, do mittlt de bisn, en schea’ ont vrisch grea’, do pet de kia de goas ont de veigeler as va vèrr singen se, do de luft ont der tschmòch van pa’m mòchte schea’ ròstn Refrain:

Gea, gea do, do ist s Bersntol, Gea, gea do, do ist s Bersntol!

De ingern òltn pet de mia ont pet en vrait de doin òltn, pet de zait hòn paut de haiser mittlt en bòlt kloa’na haiser pet de vicher en stòll ont pet en heib as de teitsch; de doin haiser pet stoa’ ont holz gamòcht Refrain A kloa’s tol ma pet guata lait a tol pet bea’ne dinger ma de lait stolz ver de sèlln as de hom Bea’ne lait ma olla zòmm gahenkt en doi tol Ont de sèlln vèrr va hoa’m sai’ vroa za kemmen en sai’ lònt Refrain Du as de pist vort kear um gearn en dai’ tol Iar òndra geat en no en vrait van doi mentsch! Refrain

There at the feet of the mountains Here in the middle of the pastures In the beautiful and refreshing of the green Here with the cows, the goats and the birds that one hears from a distance Here the air and the fragrance of the trees has you rest well. Refrain Come, come here, this is the Valley of the Fersina Come, come here, this is the Valley of the Fersina Our forbearers, with fatigue and a strong determination. These forebears, in times past, built their homes in these woods, small houses, with animals in the stable and with hay in the hayloft. These houses built with rocks and wood. Refrain A small valley but good hearted people A valley with few things, but a people proud of what they have. Few people but all of them united in their ties to this valley. Those people far from their home return Happy to return to their valley. Refrain You are far away return willingly to your valley Follow the intention and desire of this person. Refrain The choir “Let us sing with Joy” of Fierozzo began in 1992. The activity of the choir includes concerts and religious celebrations. Since its inception, the choir has performed in 60 concerts throughout the Trentino while singing each week during the Eucharist in Fierozzo. Their costume designed in 2007 is reminiscent of the features of the traditional festive wardrobe of the Mocheno tradition. The choir is dedicated to its beloved valley and its traditional language. With pride in its traditions, it has added to its repertoire two songs in the Mocheno language: "S Bersntol" and "Hait abia gester." The choir includes 30 singers and is under the direction of Erica Osler. President Nadia Moltrer.

Coro Cantiamo con Gioia-Fierozzo



Krumeri: Mòchen Traveling K rumeri: Mòchen T veling Salesmen Salesmen Trraav

ven to this day, there are some residents of the Mòchena Valley (called Bernstol in the local dialect), who wander with their wagon through the Trentino and Alto Adig e regions, going door to door peddling mattresses, blankets and even some articles of clothing. The tradition of traveling salesman has persisted in this valley for over five centuries. In fact, the figure of the peddler with his ’kr umer’ on his back, is often used as a symbol of the valley, along with a depiction of the ‘canopi’ or miners.

These were fastened to the salesman’s back with shoulder straps. Later versions were small chests with drawers for those who sold small items like buttons, riibbons, needles, spools of thread, etc.

As early as the 1700’s the Empress Maria Teresa had granted residents of the Mòchena Valley the right to travel throughout her empire with their ‘kr umer’ on their backs. The ‘kr umer’ were wooden frames, shaped like chairs upon which was piled the merchandise to be sold.

The peddlers departed in groups, although each one had his own route and his own customers to satisfy. But in the course of their wandering, they periodically met up with each other at preplanned locations. These meetiings ser ved to exchange news from home and to replenish their stock wiith merchandise they had prearranged to have forwarded to them.

wn as a ‘high’ valley. The Mòchena valley is what is know Its small villages lie at altitudes between 850 and 1400 meters above sea level. It is a land which does not lend itself to far ming. The agricultural staples of grapes or corn barely grow here; nor can one raise mulberry trees to feed silkwor ms. The far m products here are barley, rye, turnips, beans and a few herbs and the growing season is short! Few animals are raised for meat, but sheep A Kr umer Peddlar and goats provide abundant milk for butter and cheese. Given the scarce yield of the land, the tradition of itiner- The salesmen usually left their homes in the dead season ant work arose early in history – the residents had to earn for far ming. Aldo Grofer wrote: ‘They wait for All Saints at least part of their living by working away from home. Day, then after the rites for the dead on All Souls Dayy, they visit the cemetery, mumble a short prayer, and grab In the 1300’s, mining employed many of the residents. a handful of soil to take with them as they travel.’ Then Several small veins of silver, copper and iron were dis- they started on their ‘ziro’ or route. They were all adult covered in the area and by 1400 there were 45 mines and males, leaving the chores of house and far m to their a foundry with two furnaces. But mining activity dwin- women, who, of course, also had the sole responsibility dled in the eighteenth century and the number of itiner- for the children. Only at the end of the nineteenth century, did an occasional woman appear on the route. ant peddlers grew in consequence.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, one of the most sought after products on the circuit were small paintiings on glass which the peddlers bought in Bohemia and then sold throughout the Hapsburg Empire

Kr umers going door-to-door in a village


“Figures in pretty bad taste,” wrote don de Tecini, but t h e y we r e p r i z e d by t h e p e a s a n t s t h r o u g h o u t t h e region,wherever there were Catholics, right up to the Turkish border. The vendor’s route was sometimes

travelled by boat and cart, but mostly it was traversed on The Mòcheni salesmen hastened to restrict their circuit foot -- until the railroads appeared. to these areas, which were close by and where they were favored because their dialect was understood by the In the late nineteenth century, the market changed. No Ger man-speaking population. longer did the peddlers carry the ‘kr umer’ on their backs, but substituted small chests, wiith drawers instead. In these they carried buttons, combs, bars of soap, writing paper, even pairs of glasses, etc. Upon request, they would deliver special items such as knives or scythes. Still the salesman went from town to town, from house to house, building up a faithful clientele who awaited his coming from year to year. Many times, his customers became his hosts for a night or two. Until after World War II, there were few stores in the mountain valleys, so All during the years, there were of course, large stores the traditional business endured. By 1900, and until the which supplied the merchandise to the itinerant peddlers. late 1940’s, fabrics and ready-to-wear clothing was added These were situated in the small citiies such as Bolzano or to his wares, The clothing was often just wrapped in a Trento. These stores provided the original stock in the sheet and then draped over the salesman’s shoulders. fall and then replenished the peddlers’ stock with shipments to prearranged locations along the route. (In later Though independent operators, the bands of peddlers years, these shipments were sent by rail.) abided by strict codes in their relationships with each other. Before Easter, members of ach group would all More recentlly, from 1950 onward, some of these salesmeet at some prearranged spot – Salzburg in Austria was men invested in an automobile and so were able to make often picked). Here they would divide their profits evenly their tours throughout the year. Little by littlle, the more among themselves. This system ‘covered’ those members successful left all the far ming to their wives and children, who had been sick during the months of the tour, or and considered themselves professional, year-round those who had not had a good year or those inexperi- salesmen. In addition to their old routes, they began to enced peddlers who had not yet built up a route. At exhibit at local fairs. Even more lucrative were sales to Easter time, the peddlers would be home ready to tend to the camps of workers who were employed by the hydrodomestic chores, often carrying small foreign coins they electric plants being built throughout the region. These had gathered in their travels to give in donation to their laborers lived for months in these makeshift camps and church - these were affixed to the Madonna’s mantle. relied on the roving salesmen for new clothes, underwear Everything changed after the Great War, when the and toiletries. Ger man-speaking ter ritories of the Trentino, the Written by Renzo Grosselli, Journalist and author, Sudtirol and the Alto Adige were annexed to Italy. L`Adige, Trento

The Journeys of the Mòcheni Kr umer Peddlars



Family S t o r i e s : The Moltrers F a m i l y Stories: T h e Moltrers

he first Moltrers arrived they made it to the Valdez, in America in the early Colorado area where they 1900’s, from Fierozzo, continued to have a dairy, in the Valle dei supplying the coal camp Mocheni, via Ellis Island. Giovanni with dair y products. My Moltrer was the first to arriive, folfather delivered milk on a lowed by Pietro, (my great-grandfaShetland pony around camp. ther), then Romano. Brother Felice In 1946, Grandpa Er nest came to America as well, but went star ted a coal distribution back to Fierozzo. The Moltrer business, delivering coal to brothers settled at the base of the homes to heat them. My east Spanish Peak, west of Pryor, father continued the busiColorado, which is South of ness until 1988, when natuWalsenburg and North of Trinidad. Back: Mary Moltrer, Grandfather Ernest and Romano ral gas became the common Front: Annie, Caterina, Pietro and Giovanni Moltrer They made a living selling cheese, heating fuel. My grandparmilk, butter and salami. Pietro married Caterina Boller in ents purchased a bar in Segundo, Colorado in 1956 even1905 in Fierozzo. Giovanni and Romano never married, tually closing down several decades later. My father and the fourth brother, Felice, after going back to Henry and mother Annette had five children, 4 boys Fierozzo, married Cateriina Battiisti in 1920. While Pietro (Glenn, Ernie, Dean and Ray) and 1 daughter Colleen. was in America, Caterina gave birth to a boy, named Glenn and Claudine havve one daughter named Giada, Ernest (my grandfather). Pietro was supposed to go Colleen and Tom have two sons named Robert and back and get his wife and child, but Caterina lost patience Andrew, Dean and Shelly have four sons named Henry, and came over with her baby before Pietro could go back Vincent, Antonio and Matteo. Raymond and LaDonna to Fierozzo. My grandpa was just 11 months old. In a have two sons named Tyler and Trystan. In 2004, we had letter from Giovanni to the family back in Fierozzo, he family from Fierozzo, come to Ameriica. It was the first stated, “When Pietro saw Caterina and his baby, his eyes time in almost a century that a Moltrer from Italy had were the size of silver dollars.” Pietro and Caterina had stepped on American soil. It was a special time for all of two daughters in America, Annie and Mary. My grandfa- us here in America. Even though we still eat traditional ther Ernest, married Serafina Andreatta in 1929. They dishes, like Canederli, Mosna, Smor m, Polenta (wi with had six children, one boy died as an infant. My father brown gravy) and yes cold cuts and cheeses with our cofHenry was the oldest, followed by my deceased infant fee for breakfast, we learned so much more from them. uncle, my aunt Annie, my Aunt Catherine, my uncle Such as, the Mochen people have their own language, Her man, and myy aunt Vera. Coal was king in this part of they celebrate traditional festivals, they had a song about Colorado, with the mines supplying the steel mills with America, and they showed us our family tree all the way high qualityy coal. Pietro and Caterina inched their way back to 1495. It was tr uly a special time. We had a time south supplying the coal camps with dairy products and to get close and connect. In 2007, we had the opportusalami. Caterina nity to go to Fierozzo and experience the Valle dei also ran a boarding Mocheni. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t house in a small want to go back. Words cannot describe the beauty of place named the Valle. Most of all, words cannot describe how wonBroadmoor near derful the people are. Our family in Fierozzo are some Ludlow, CO, during of the most wonderful people I have ever met. They are the time the Ludlow tr ue to heart, they are tr ue to tradition, they are tr ue massacre occur red. Mochens, and they are tr ue Tyroleans. Eventually, Written by Dean Moltrer-Valdez, Colorado Grandparents: Serafina & Ernest Moltrer


Legends: Gasparo’s Mine


nce upon a time, there was a Elf who used to help the miners discover silver in the mine of Valcava. The Elf used to help one miner above the rest, Gasparo, who was the most sympthetic of the miners.With the help of the Elf, Gasparro, slowly but steadily emerged from poverty. With time, he succeeded to put aside some wealth so that he decided to become rich with mining. So he went to the Elf and said: Elf, now you come with me! Until now, you have truly helped me...but not enough! I want to become rich! It is not enough to find I want to find GOLD! You will come with me and you will teach me where to dig to find gold.

mine...which lies between the Bridge of the Pecori (sheep) and the Doss of the Grapes. At the cock crow, the two Elves disappeared and Gasparo, half dead from fright, came down from the tree and ran to his miner companion. Listen! said the out of breath Gasparo.This night I heard two Elves who were saying that they moved the Bridge dei Pecori and the Doss dele Fraghe. We will never find the mine.

His friend said...What are you saying! You have drunk too much wine and it has made you sleepy. The two began to walk to the mine finding the Ponte dei Pecori there in its usual place, like the day before and as always. So it was with the Doss dele Fraghe. It too was there like the other day and as always. So then? What had Gasparo heard hidden on the top of the tree? Was he dreaming? Encouraged and heartened, Gasparo and his companion took the usual way directly passing the Ponte dei Pecori and the Doss dele Fraghe that lead to the entrance of the mine. Walking and walking, the road never seemed so long as on that day. And walking and walking, they began to think that they might have passed it without seeing they came back thinking that perhaps the Elves had covered it with branches. They looked ahead and behind, to the left and to the right; they returned to the Ponte dei Pecori and yet again to the Dos dele Fraghe, but they never again found the mine again...This was happening (and happens?) to the greedy and those who are impolite to Elves of the mines. Written by Verena DePaoli, Terlago, Trentino

Gasparo, don`t make me angry! What I gave you, I gave you. What I teach you, I teach you. What you will be taught, you will have been taught. In an angry way, Gasparo retorts...Do not spin words with me, Elf. Come with me with your wanting and not wanting. Quite annoyed, the Elf shrugging his shoulders, said...Do not be in a hurry. Tomorrow morning, you will learn whatever new things I wish to teach you... but for now go home and rest! Tomorrow morning make yourself present at the mine. Having said this, the Elf left. But Gasparo did not trust him and wanted to follow the Elf to see where he was going. It was almost midnight and they had walked a long way. Then the Elf stopped as if he was waiting for someone. So Gasparo hid himself on the top of a tree to wait as well. After a little while, there arrived another Elf chatting and improvising imaginatively with the first Elf saying: I moved the Bridge of the Sheep! The other Elf, the friend of Gasparo, responded: Instead I moved the Dos (liitle hill) of the Grapes..Gasparo will need to search for his


The Tyroleans of Readsboro, VT


eadsboro is a small town in southern Vermont bordering Massachusetts. It was thought to be the land of the free and opportunity for many Tyrolean immigrants in the late 1800s. When they arrived, they brought and practiced their traditions that included language, gardens, food, music, church, entertainment, community, work ethics, commitment

weeklong retreats given by an invited “missionary”. There was a large core of altar boys that had to learn Latin before serving Mass. The church sponsored whist card games, bazars, and trips to Boston for baseball games. Besides the church there was a strong Trentino Club and Society. The Society was formed because families weren’t allowed to buy medical and life insurance from the Americani. The Society still exist today. One of the founders was my Nonno Elia Scaia from Pieve di Bono-Cologna. The Tyroleans were known for their love of music of all kinds including their own marching band in competition with the Italian band. I recall the Readsboro Tyrol softball team playing the Salvoy, N.Y. Tyrol softball team on a home and home basis. The arrangement was worked out by my father Alfred Scaia and his good friend Louie Scaia of Salvoy. One year they would play in Readsboro, the next year they would play in Solvay. Families would accompany the team and stay at homes of friends or relatives. After the game, everyone would gather to have a meal with polenta, followed by dancing and singing accompanied by someone playing an accordion. Another example of intercity Tyrolean exchanges is when cousins Geno and NarcessoScaia of Torrington, Connecticut initiated the Readsboro/Torrington Tyrol bowling challenge usually followed by a gathering at someone’s home for a meal, homemade wine, and coffee with grappa. The strong ties amongst Tyroleans were shown in many ways. It was common after Mass every Sunday for me to visit relatives and friends with my father while Mom prepared a noon meal we had with my Nonno Elia and Zio Linto Scaia. One place we visited was at my Zio Bortolo & Zia Caterina Scaia’s house where the men would play bocce for coffee and grappa. The same thing took place at other homes that had

Readsboro Train Station-1900

to family, loyalty to, and pride of their heritage. They lived with Italian immigrants in a section of town across the river referred to as little Italy. The mountain terrain, hillside gardens, animals raised for food, grape arbors, and climate reminded them of their homeland. The Tyrolean pride and identity remained even after the Trentino region of Austria was annexed by Italy after World War I. Although the Tyrolean and Italian . immigrants’ heritage allegiances were different, they were united as immigrants to preserve their traditions while becoming American citizens, and to defend themselves from the “Americani” who they felt acted superior and threatening to them. Our people were not always received well. My parents told of being stoned and made fun of on the way to school or church. There was an active KKK burning crosses on a hill above the Catholic Church that was mostly made up of Trentino/Italian immigrants and French Canadian descendants. Monsignor Delnotaro was the pastor until 1943 and heard confessions in a dialect still spoken by some people today.Father Demasi followed Monsignor who, also, spoke the dialect. The church was the center of social and religious activities provided by the several men, women, and children groups such as the Holy Name and St. Ann Societies, Knights of Columbus, and Children of Mary. The choir was pretty much made up of and directed by Tyrolean families, the Dassattis and Ecchers come to mind to mention a couple. It was common to have a packed church for

Readsboro Chair Factory


bocce courts. I recall hearing about “kitchen rackets”. These were Saturday night gatherings at someone’s home where they would move the kitchen furniture back to make room to dance to the music of an accordion. Sunday afternoon card games from the “old country” were common and were accompanied with either cups of coffee and grappa or glasses of wine. Just about everyone made wine. Every year the railroad would bring in a car load of grapes from California. Tyroleans Emillio and Guido Graiff were longtime employees of the Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington Railroad that housed their engines, passenger and freight cars at the Readsboro terminal/station. The attraction to Readsboro was the opportunity to work and earn money in construction, mining, and manufacturing. The Readsboro Chair Factory, in particular, was the primary source of employment after the burning/closing of the National Medal Edge Box Company. Some of the early Tyroleans were members

John Maroni & Al Scaia with their Tyrol softball shirts-1946

Gerardo & Theresa Bolognani, restaurant & Inn, hardware store, apartments. My parents Alfred & Adina Scaia, were among the early owners of a meat & grocery business and were famous for their sausage made from the Trentino family recipe. They made 100 pounds every other week, 85 pounds were pre-ordered. I even recall my father delivering sausage to friends at Giant football games at Yankee Stadium. Another testimony to the work ethic and character of my fellow Trentini, is that just about every Town/Village office position has been held by them one time or another. Just to mention a few, Attilio Dassatti, Constable; Rizieri Comai, Chief of the Fire Department; Prospero Franceschetti, President; John Maroni, Bailiff; Gerardo Bolognani, Lister; Arthur Dassatti, Cemetery Commission; Arther Eccher jr, Schoolboard; Rudy Comai, Selectman; Mary June Franceschetti, Town Clerk; Ernest Bolognani, VT State Town Representative. The importance of education that was instilled in future generations lead to many becoming leaders in industry, education, medicine, etc. I am proud of the Tyrolean accomplishments, including those of my Nonni from Pre di Ledro, Vigo Cavedine, and Pieve di Bono-Cologna, and yet what is more important is how the immigrants and succeeding generations have held the Trentino banner high so that all of us can say I am proud to be a Tyrolean American. Written by Domenica & Elia Scaia’s grandson, Alfred Scaia Jr., Readsboro, Vermont

Readsboro & Torrington Bowling Teams-1948

of the Franceschetti, Guetti, Piazzi, Scaia, Dassatti, Gnosini, Righi, Moruzzi, Colo, Maroni, Franzinelli, Boccagni, Baruzzi, Bolognani, Gottardi, Chiste, and Pellegrini families. Many eventually became factory department heads, and Serafino “Jeff” Franceschetti became the assistant to the owner Charles H. Pope. Later years Arthur Eccher, John Maroni, Gerardo & Ernest Bolognani were a part of acquiring the factory to preserve job opportunities for the community. Other job opportunities became available at the Deerfield Glassine Company in the bordering town of Monroe Bridge, Ma. Interesting enough the Tyroleans eventually owned the majority of the businesses in Readsboro. It started with early Trentini business owners Gabriele Colo, grocery & gas; Arthur Eccher, barber shop; Amedeo Maroni & sons Victor & John, later grandson Thomas, plumbing; Albert Maroni, variety & fresh vegetables later owned by Steve Eccher;

Domenica & Elia Scaia -1940


Val dei Mocheni

Family Story: Orsola & Cesare Angeli


y grandfather, Cesare Angeli, was born in Cloz, Trento, Austria, in 1887. Census records show he came to the United States in 1906 and a draft record from 1917 lists him as living in Superior, Wyoming. Little is known of him during those early years, until in 1923 he returned to what by the end of WWI had been transformed into Cloz, Trento, Italy to marry and bring back his new bride, Orsola, who was born in 1899 in Cloz. Today we have no conception of how difficult her life was in the coal camp, cooking on a coal stove and washing clothes on a washboard for her husband, her bachelor brothers, and her Noni Orsela & Cesare Angeli, Lena growing family which and Mary eventually came to include four daughters: Lena, Mary, Mae, and my mother, named Pierina Ida and called Eda. Nona said at one time she had three babies in diapers at the same time, and no one had heard of plastic pants, so the babies, scooting across the floor in wet diapers, helped wipe up the coal dust. The men went to work in the dark and often returned home in the dark. I’ve heard it said locally that the Tyroleans have a reputation as a gloomy people, and perhaps the fact that the miners seldom saw daylight might be the origin of this invention. My nona lived next door to us in Rawlins after my grandfather retired from the coal mine. So it would be logical to assume that I knew her story and that it would be easy for me to write a novel of a Tyrolean woman escaping the poverty of war-ravaged Europe by accompanying her new husband to the coal mines of southwest Wyoming. That assumption would be wrong. Because of societal pressure to fit in and be American, when asked, Nona reluctantly agreed that our heritage was Italian. In the 1950s everybody knew about pizza and spaghetti; no one in the small town where I grew up had ever heard of canederli or polenta. I took it for granted that everyone of Italian descent ate their canned peas cold with vinegar and oil, and their rice was eaten topped with brown butter and bacon

bits. She told me how, at the age of twelve, she was sent to a rich family to work off a debt her father owed. She survived by eating potato peels and the crusts of brown bread. I was aghast at the thought of a mere child being bonded out for labor. They owned farm animals in Val di Non? Yes; the lower level of the houses were stables and the people lived on the second story. Well, if her parents owned land, why were they so poor? Nona would get a faraway look, and then say she couldn’t explain. We spent a lot of time together in her kitchen. Words were easy, concepts were difficult. If I asked for the words for cup, fork, arm, leg, she would say, “Do you want to know how I say it, or the nice way?” The “nice” way being Italian, and not the mountain dialect—which is in danger of dying out now even in the Tyrol. But I never asked the right questions. The deeper questions. So I decided to do some research, and out of that hunt came a novel, Willow Vale. Many people tell me now they’re disappointed that it isn’t a true story. Even though my main character, Francesca, comes to America in 1924 with her new husband to a coal mining town in Wyoming just like my grandmother, the similarities between Francesca and Nona end there. Although I’m happy to say no one has yet reported major inaccuracies in the book, I’m sorry that I didn’t know as a kid some of the things I later included in the novel. I think Nona would have been happy to know I finally realize there are mountains of difference between Italians and Tyroleans, the Dolomite range of mountains as a matter of fact. Nona said she was pretty when she was young and her picture on the cover of Willow Vale bears her out. I’ve been asked what she would have thought to have her picture on my novel, and I like to think she would be pleased—although I’m willing to bet she would be nonplussed by the fact that the distance to the Tyrol is so short in this modern world of virtual travel that her pretty face can be seen from anywhere. Written by Alethea Williams, Green River, Wyoming


Fr. Chini’s Spirituality

Editor’s Note: Eusebio Chini is one of our own and the protypical Tyrolean immigrant who arrived in the Southwest while the Pilgrims were arriving in the Northeast. He was a cartagrafer, an astronomer, an agronomist …and a holy man and was declared the Father of Arizona. This is the first of series of articles that will delineate the multi-faceted aspects and accomplishment of this giant of a man.

until quite recently, poverty. This is a climate which does not pardon laziness and does not permit the ‘dolce far niente’ style of life. The geographic horizons are small and clearly delineated. These facts, along with the historical solitude and very limited commercial, spiritual and economic contacts have forged the typical peasant and townsman of this valley. He is perhaps, too wrapped up in himself and his little world, but he is intelligent and sharp, faithful and willing to help, quiet and not given to excessive enthusiasm, physically robust, deeply religious and with strong bonds to his family, his home, his town and its valley. His only interests are limited to these horizons, and therefore, he presents himself as overly prudent and reserved to those who come from outside, from far away.“ From early childhood on, the young Eusebio absorbed the work ethic of his small community. As a boy, he was surrounded by serene, sober people, convinced of their own faith, strengthening it with frequent attendance at church, common prayer and quiet acts of charity toward the poor and disabled. No one said “I did this or I did that”, because from the cradle on, one learned that one must do good quietly – there is no need to advertise acts of charity. The positive aspect of Eusebio’s character were no doubt reinforced when he entered into the Jesuit school at Trento and further enhanced at school at Hall. His spiritual growth continued when he entered the Jesuit Community at the age of 20. Though so young, he undertook and maintained an exceptional discipline. This was the second step in his spiritual growth, following the teachings of St. Ignatius Loyola. Written by Don Fortunato Tirrini, a retired diocesan priest of the Trento diocesis and specialist regarding the life and works of Eusebio Chini.


person is not born a saint. Rather he becomes one by paying careful attention to the care of his soul. If he nurtures and enlarges upon his good inclinations and if he treasures the teachings which come his way from life and the people around him, then slowly, slowly, he will achieve greatness. Otherwise he will squander his talents and become indifferent or possibly even evil. To create a saint like Father Chini required years of work and prayer, of sacrifices and renunciations. The teachers of spirituality know this itinerary and examine it so as to understand the inner workings of such a person. But what they rarely examine is the environment in which such a soul develops. A man or a woman is deeply influenced by the culture of his birthplace, the human contacts he makes, his companions at school and at work, the discipline of higher learning and the example of many friends. This is true whether in the Trentino, or the Tyrol, in Germany or in Arizona, California or Sonora. Father Eusebio molded his character in harmony with all these conditions of his life and at the end of his earthly sojourn, we can truly declare him a saint. The construction of his intense spiritual life began in his birthplace - at Segno in the Non valley. The town belonged to the Bishopric of Trent, and was dependent on the oversight of the Tyrolean judicial system. When Father Eusebio first saw the light of day, this territory had been firmly ensconced in the German state of the Holy Roman Empire for more than 600 years. Here he breathed an air suffused with a work ethic, thriftiness and religiosity – virtues which stood him in good stead when his superiors sent him to Mexico, while the young missionary longed to go to China, where his compatriot, the Jesuit Father Martino Martini, had worked. A scholar who studied Father Chini’s homeland, Umberto Corsini, wrote of the Trentino and its inhabitants “This people has a serious demeanor, sometimes seen as stern, hard working and very thrifty. It has an aversion to easy improvisation and to risky behavior, whether economic or spiritual. Mountain life, though not as dramatically difficult as it is sometimes depicted, is always rigorous, imposing a constant rhythm of daily and seasonal chores, a sparse diet and

Ancestral home of Fr Chini-Segno, Trentino



Mòchen Usi si e Costumi: Costumi: Their Their Ways W ys M òchen U Waays

erhaps because it has long been isolated from the rest of the Trentino, the people of the Fersina Valley (or the Mòchena Valley) have preser ved their language and customs for centuries. The name of these Ger man-speaking people, the Mòcheni, derives from the Ger man ‘machen’ –to make or do. In the twelfth century, there were two successive waves of immigration from Bavaria into this valley in the Lagorai group near Frassilongo. They came to cultivate the land. Three centurriies later, more immigrants arrived to settle into higher land, the present site of Fierozzo and Palù. Among these towns, there are differences in the spoken language. Though all are derived from Ger man, they have diverged in this land of scattered far ms. Fewer than 1000 people today speak the Mòchena dialect, thanks in part to the Mòchena Institute, supported by the government of the Trentino-Alto Adige which supports the preser vation of the language and the traditional building styyle – roofs constr ucted of larch shingles, etc. Recently, the growth of tourism and the ‘contamination’ of youths attending regional schools has left

only the elderly speaking the traditional language. To combat this decline, there are now lessons in the Mòchena language in the elementary schools. But there are difficulties, since the language spoken at Fierozzo differs from that spoken at Frassilongo or at Palù. In the past, their language enabled dozens of citizens to supplement their income by selling their wares in Ger many and Austria. They were called ‘kromer’ and they left their homes in the fall and returned in the spring. On their backs they carried a chest full of items to be sold – buttons, wooden spoons, religious pictures, needles and thread, etc. They traveled from far m to far m, sleeping in haylofts and selling their wares, then returned home in time for the spring planting. Meanwhile, at home, the youths of the area maintained their ancient traditions, From Christmas to the Epiphany,


they would roam from homestead to homestead carrying a long pole, topped wiith a glass star with a lighted candle in the middle and colored streamers waving in the breeze. At each stop, the youths who would turn 18 that year would sing the tale of the Three Kings come from the East to adore the infant Jesus. Every family would present them with gifts such as butter, eg gs, and even some coins. The money collected would be given to the pastor at Palu` so that he would say Masses for the souls of the deceased. The eg gs and butter were used to make goodies for the feast of the Epiphany.

Next came Carnival, the last days before Lent, celebrated with feasts and drinking. On Mardi Gras the Mòcheni staged a perfor mance with an old man and an old woman. The two mimicked sowing seed at the entrance to the far mhouses, and later gathered at the village bar where one or the other old person fell to the ground ‘dead’. His will was read and then suddenly the dead person resuscitated! Late in the day, after sunset, they all gathered in the fields and batted about a straw image of the old man. These rites were perfor med to propitiate the gods and guarantee the return of spring and fertile planting fields. There were also traditional celebrations tied to the cycle of life – to baptism, matrimony, death... When someone in the community died, everyone went to the deceased’s house to shake his hand. It was a farewell gesture that was banned in 1929 in the name of public health. In addition, a wiidow had to sew up the pockets of her husband’s trousers, to remind everyone that he could not wiith him to the Great Beyond. take any riches w Every ritual like the blessing of the fields, or a marriage or a funeral cortege, had to follow a prescribed route – mandated by ancient custom. For, if such a procession traversed private land, that land became public land! Yes the Mòcheni, like their cousins in the Sudtirol, steadfastly maintained their traditions. Written by Alberto Folgheraiter, author, journalist.

The Tyrolean Gathering. . . filò Gathering…filo`

A common, popular and even daily activity in the villages of the Trentino was the Filo`. It is pronounced fee lo` with the accent on the last syllable. The expression far filo’…literally meant let’s do Filo` or let us gather. The Filo` was a daily gathering of the villagers after their evening supper in the stables that were situated in their very homes. The stables being in their interior of the houses were insulated and further warmed by the body heat of their all important cattle that not only provided them with dairy products but served to draw their carts and till their fields. It was a welcomed conclusion of the day. The adults engaged in their ciacerar, the chatter about the activities of the villages and their struggles as they pursued their farming to survive. Stories would be told. Often there would be a designated story teller who entertained the children as well as the adults with wonderful and engaging yarns. The stories relayed history, memories, as well as the morals and the expectations of the village community. There were poems and sayings that expressed their sagezza and peasant wisdom. Songs would be sung. The songs were of the mountains, the young lovers, the wars, and their struggle. They sang often with the formula of Due Trentini, Uno coro…Two Trentini, one choir. The women knitted, shucked corn and multi-tasked their chores while enjoying the company. The children played and the men would play cards or mora…a game with a great deal of gesticulating. Finally, the Filo` would conclude with the corona, the rosary in which they remembered their dead, their sick, and their relatives traveling through Europe working or emigrants to far off lands. There was a commonality in that all had the same limited means and the Filo was an engine of socialization.

Our Community’s Virtual Library

Scattered as we are in every state of the union, the Filo` attempts to reach out and bring us together by diseminating the information of our ancestral lands and people…enhancing a literacy of our identity and our heritage. But the growth and the outreach of the Filo` has been incremental growing from a Province data base of 800 (full of cadavers and stagnant) to a fresh and refreshed database of 5700..and growing every day. This will be the 14th edition, a total of 504 pages of information and data. Since the growth was incremental, there are many new registrants who have not received the previous issues and there is a limited supply of these past issues. Hence, the need and significance of a virtual… on line “library” where one can read past issues by clicking on these past issues as the pages in brilliant color turn for you. There is also Fr. Bolognani’s book, music and individual articles. However, I do lament that I have not been able to maintain the website it as well as I would like due to my lack of web competence to do so. For example, I would like to organize the articles by themes e.g. Recipes, music, valleys, etc within the tabs on the left side of the home page to make the site ever more user friendly. I am not sure if I should give our readers a shout out…HELP to enlist some web informed helpers! I am convinced that the website is critical to store our information and to adapt especially to our young people. The website is and my phone number is 914-4025248. Lou 25

Nos Dialet…Our Dialect #14

This issue of this Filo` is focused on the Val dei Mochini. This secluded valley preserved not the usual Tyrolean dialect differentiated in some words and pronunciations of the individual valleys but truly a language. While originating from a combination of Bavarian dialects of its original settlers of the 1200`s, Mochen is neither German nor Tyrolean. So much is it a language, that it is part of the special language triad of Ladino, Cimbri and Mochen. These three languages of the Province along with actual German in the Alto Adige…and the multiplicity of dialects was the rationale for the granting of Autonomy to the Trentino-Alto Adige…referred to always and assertively as the Autonomous Province of Trentino Alto Adige, the one Province with two jurisdictions. It would be impossible to attempt to teach Mochen, Ladino o Cimbri but the Filo` presented and will present them in its pages if for no other reason than to illustrate the very physical forms that evolved from our history and our valley enclaves. Similarly, it is always very daunting to try to teach our dialect yet it remains just too significant with its sounds and its personality to simply not try. Many of us have an auditory memory of the sounds and the personality of our dialect since it reveal so much of the character of our people. We heard it from our parents or noni in our kitchens and whenever we gathered. Let me repeat a significant homework assignment …Specifically, besides the content of this installment, please…please make the effort to go the website to hear the sounds and nuances of how our people communicated. Website where you can hear different sounds of the dialect. It’s time for another tense of the verb to be..its the Past Hortatory Subjunctive. The subjunctive is a grammatical mood found in many languages. Subjunctive forms of verbs are typically used to express various states of unreality such as wish, emotion, possibility, judgment, opinion, obligation, or action that has not yet occurred.Red in Dialect; Blue in Italian

and English in black. Che Mi sia sta` Che Ti te sebi sta` Che Lu el sia sta` Che Noi sente stadi Che Voi seghe stadi Che Lori sia stadi

(Che io stia stato) (Che tu sia stato) (Che egli sia stato) (Che noi siamo stati) (Che voi siate stati) (Che essi siano stati)

That I might have been That You Might have been That He Might have been That We might have been That You might have been That They might have been


In houses throughout the Tyrol, the stable was literally next door to the kitchen.Let’s look to the illustrations on the opposite page, observe their labels of the items. Starting from the top and going left to right…We will cite the dialectal word in the illustration and literally translate it into English. These words and nomenclatures are derived from the dialect around Tione. TOP Patuc- stall bedding for cattle Stala- Stable Porcel-Pig Mus- snout Campanellin-Small bell Aiastra/iastra-goat kid Patucera/patucer-stall bedding Peit-Udder Batoc-bell clapper Pardef-animal food trough Teta-teat Campanel-Bell Fos- manure channel Testa-Head Caseta del sal-Salt cabinet Rela/porciera- pig sty Col-Collar Gamba-Leg Volt a bot- Valted ceiling Vaca-Cow Zocol-hoof Barba/barbeta-goat’s goatee Pardel-Hay rack Cavra-Goat Corno-Horn Colarin -Collar Pardeval-Front of feed trough BOTTOM Pambola-stable waste fork Bus per la adena-cut out for waste Secia del lat-Milk bucket Brancoi-Pitchfork tines Timbro -branding iron Caneva-Goat Collar Manech-Bucket handle Civera- Stable waste carrier Manecia-Milk bucket handle Restel del patuc-Bedding rake Sdrella- Animal hair fluffer brush Cunicera/conicera-Rabbit cage Zapet-Small hoe Menarola-Door latch Scan da mongiar/mongio- S Bruschin/broschin-brush Cannel da mongiar/mongio-Milking stool 26

The illustrations are those Helen Lageder; they appear in the Dizionario del Dialettto di Montagne di Trento by Corrado Grassi, produced and distributed by the Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina, San Michele all`Adige.


Spezzatin …con la polenta! Ah!

Spezzatino…o spezatin in our dialect is served with polenta. It is related or simply another way of referring to goulash and thereby associating it with our Austrian Hungarian history. In English, it would be simply a beef stew…or could include pork and veal and even lucaniga sausage. There is also a spezzatin of veal, pork and chicken. It could also include aromatic vegetables...onion and carrots as well as peas and potatoes. To not get lost in a polemic or culinary philosophy, I am going to revert to the recipe of Mama Adele, my mom, that was simple and yet finger licking good whether served with polenta in the Bleggio of the Val delle Giudicarie or on Bleecker St in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. Note also that you do not want to use premium cuts of beef. Marbled beef that will have sufficient fat enhances the flavor. Let’s get to work….in my kitchen.

Ingredients Beef cut into small cubes Finely chopped onion 4 tablespoons of butter ½ cup of olive oil Cup or more of white or red wine 4 cups of beef broth or bouillon or water Sprig of rosemary Sage leaves Whole cloves Several cinnamon sticks 2 tablespoons of flour 2 tablespoons of tomato paste Lemon peel slices. Salt and Pepper Sauté the onions with the butter and olive oil until golden. Introduce the beef cubes along with the rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, sage leaves along with salt and pepper. Continue to cook rotating the beef with its herbs. Add a cup and a half of wine. When the wine is reduced, remove the beef cubes and set aside. Dissolve the tomato paste in a cup and half of hot water and pour into the pan, scraping the sides. Introduce the flour using a whisk. Return the beef cubes to the pan adding sufficient beef broth or consume` or water. Add the lemon peel slices, cover, lower the heat and cook for up to three house adding the beef liquid or water incrementally so that your spezzatin is tender and flaky and sufficiently liquid to cover your polenta slices in the individual dishes. Check for seasoning

Grand daughters Cecilia and Giuliana love nono’s polenta at our house. 28

Silvia`s Memories of the War

Editor's note: Silvia Regina Maganzini , born in 1897 in Giustino, Val Rendena, married Achille Costante Polli in 1919, shortly after the events depicted in this her remembrance, written at the age of 85. The couple emigrated to Boston in 1920


o remember what has occurred in times and years already long past, perhaps for many, those happenings are not of any importance. I think however that many young people read with a certain interest hat which their grandparents and greatgrandparents have seen and suffered in the years, which should have been the most wonderful years of their lives. It was the year of 1917; the thunder which was constant and increasingly more severe from the war which had now exploded on all fronts, but, the thunder of the cannons from the Presanella and Mandrone which had succeeded in keeping us suspended in a state of anxiety and fear was the worse. I remember especially the 13th of December; the night preceding the feast of St. Lucy. No one was able to sleep because every roar from a cannon seemed like it would to shatter all the window panes. A few years ago I had the occasion to make a jaunt all the way to the refuge Bedole in Val Genova with a group of friends who for the first time, visited this area and were very enthusiastic in admiring the natural beauty of this place. My thoughts, however, went back to something quite different. In my memory I saw an unending line of youths on that road who were carrying lumber for the Austrian government. Every morning myself and my sister, Aldina, left the house at 7 a.m. My mother would accompany us to the door, urging us to immediately start saying the rosary in order that we could finish it before arriving at the place where we would start our daily work. This we did, and this is how we started each day. With our load on our shoulders, we arrived from Carisolo to Cascina Muta, Val Genoa; for us it was prohibited to go any further. From this point, Serbian prisoners would carry the materials to Bedole, and then to Mandrone for building barracks, fortifications, trenches, etc. On the opposite side of the valley another totally different cargo descended down the mountain. These were the wounded from the front, who had to brought to the military hospital in Pinzolo. Some of these wounded would never reach the hospital alive. These unfortunate dead soldiers would be wrapped in branches of spruce and tied and brought to the cemetery at Ragada. Often we had to assist in these sad rites with even sadder thoughts about their poor families. Later on they picked eight young girls whom

Silvia-second from the left with sisters Aldena & Alma in the field hosptial/canteen in Val Genoa

they entrusted to accompany the wounded to the hospital. These wounded soldiers arrived to the bottom of the valley on improvised stretchers and they all came slowly on a cart pulled by a mule with a soldier leading them. We four girls on each side did our best to keep these stretchers from jostling and eliminate the bumps from the road, which was filled with stones and holes; especially the part that leads from Ragada to St. Maria. Coming up, however, was the hideous Scala di Bo, which was even worse. Our greatest fears were that the wounded would die during this perilous journey. One day they entrusted to our care a young soldier, gravely wounded, whose intestines were held in by two metal straps. Everything was visible to our eyes. The road was long and laboursome. The anxiety and fear that he would die along the road made us feel that we had our hearts in our throats. About 3 in the afternoon we arrived at the field of Carisolo near a shrine, which is no longer in existence. There we had to stop because the soldier was losing consciousness. Laura, one of the girls from Carisolo, ran to her house and returned in a few minutes with some coffee and, with difficulty, he drank a little. With much care, we took the stretcher off the cart and finally arrived at the hospital bearing him on our shoulders. He was very weak, but alive. Two weeks later he was transferred to the hospital in Innsbruck and after two months rehabilitation he was sent home on limited furlough. We had a pleasant surprise later on in receiving a letter from him addressed to all of us eight girls, which said, "I will always remember these wonderful girls who with their loving care saved my life. With all my heart I thank them and with love I send you my blessings. Ever at your service. Conrad Helmutt, Salzberg, 22 October, 1917." Submitted by Olga’s daughter: Olga Polli Beltram Rowan 29

Mountains of the Val dei Mocheni The Val dei Mocheni is also referred to as the Valley of the Fersina, a torrent that runs through it. Until relatively recent, the valley was one of the most isolated valleys of the Trentino. Its mountains belong to the Lagorai-Cima d`Asta chain. While not attractive for the alpinist, it represents very interesting areas for the excursionists and, in the winter, the skier. The Costalta mountain chain separates the Val dei Mocheni from the Altopiano of Pine`. The highest peak is the Dosso di Costalta (6545 ft.). To the south, there are two peaks that exceed 4921 ft. : the Doss dei Pini (5052 ft) and the Brada (1583)The territory is characterized by vast forests of pine tree and its earth is composed quartzferous porphyry. In the valley, there is the connection with the Altopiano di Pine`, through the Redebus pass which leads to Regnana and Bursago. This pass is the ideal starting point for excursions to the Cambroncoi Malga (mountain dairy) and the Tonini refuge which is already situated in the Pine` area. In that pass, there

In an hour and half by foot, one can reach the Lake of Erdemolo, where at 6561 ft., one finds a small lake next to a small permanent glacier.. The Fersina torrent originates from this lake. Here, too, there is a refuge which is not closed. From the Frotten location, hiking towards Erdemolo lake, one can visit the ancient Grua va Hardombl mine (5741 ft.) now appointed for visiting tourists. From this mine there were drawn` pyrite, blende, copper pyrite, lead glance and gold. Ever since the Middle Ages, there arrived German miners, that brought activity to a secluded community which until recently was a linguistic island of German origins. In fact, in this day and age, when entering the Val dei Mocheni, one notices the street signs and other signs written in a mysterious language which none other the ancient language of the miners and Bavarian settlers. At San`Orsola, in Stefani resort, one finds the museum Museo Pietra Viva. It was created by the Pallaoro twins and it displays rocks and minerals as well recounting the mining activity of the Val dei Mocheni. At the top of the valley, one finds Palu` del Fersina, a miniscule center with only 200 inhabitants. Palu` is the location of Mochen Cultural Institute that offers a library, documents and displays of the the Mochen language and culture. Finally, we present the Gronlait Mountain (7818 ft.), the only mountain that is seen even from Trento. In the winter, it sparkles white with snow and seems to be an almost fabled inaccessible peak. Written by Ricardo Decarli of the Museo della Montagna. Ricardo knows the mountains that he presents to us first hand. He published Guida ai Rifugi del Trentino, wherein he describes the 151 “refugi� in the Trentino. The book is available from Panorama di Trento: editrice (

were found archeological traces and evidence of human habitation. The site is appointed for visits by tourists. The Redebus Pass also separates the mountain chain of Costalta from the massive Monte Croce (also called the Scalet Group)..which encloses the valley to the north like a horse shoe. Here the principal peak is Monte Croce (8169 ft.), previously called Monte Tre Croci (Mountain of the Three Crosses). It is easily climbed from the Scalet Pass in an hour. It offers a stupendous panorama. The other large group is Fravort-Sasso Rotto. The highest peaks are Cima di Sette Selle (7861 ft.), Sasso Rotto (7861 ft.) and Sasso Rosso (7579 ft.). These mountains offer intering possibilities for excursions in a marvelous setting characterized by great forests and porfiry. The main refuge is Sette Selle (6608 ft.) situated at the head of the Valley of Laner. Leaving your auto at the Frotten location, it can easily be reached in a hour and half following the trail.




Until the late 18th century, Latin was the language used in Trentini parish records. Nearly all first and middle names were Latinized, but occasionally surnames were too. One example is the surname Onorati, which can frequently be seen in its Latin form, “Honoraty” or “Honorato”.

Welcome to ‘Genealogy Corner’, a new series in Filò dedicated to providing you with information and inspiration to create your own Trentini family tree, and preserve our rich heritage for generations to come.

When it comes to genealogy, all research springs from one thing: a NAME. Our ancestors had wonderful names – rich in meaning, culture and history. Having a solid understanding of the names of Trentino is crucial to constructing an accurate picture of your family history. Today, we’ll be looking at cognomi – surnames.

Until recently, there was no concept of standardized spelling of names. For example, the surname Caliari can also appear as Calliari, Cagliari or Caliary. It is not uncommon to see radically different surname spellings in the birth, marriage and death records for members of the same family (or even for the same individual).

Many of our ancestors who immigrated to the Americas changed their surnames to make them sound less “foreign”. But surprisingly, some descendants might not be aware a name-change occurred in their own family. When I was growing up, my dad always told me “Serafinn” was our original Tyrolean name. But after he died, I discovered our ancestral surname was “Serafini”, and my grandfather had changed it to “Serafinn” in the late 1930s. It was certainly a shock to discover that what I had believed since childhood was wrong! Be prepared to unearth a few of your own family skeletons as you do your research.

When researching your female ancestors, remember that women in Trentino do not normally take their husbands’ name when they marry, but retain their fathers’ surnames throughout their lives. I have seen a few 20th century gravestones where a woman was cited using her married name, but this is not always the case. So, when researching your female lines, don’t try to find them under their husbands’ names, as you won’t find them. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the term “sopranomi”. A sopranome is an add-on or nickname sometimes given to one branch of a family to distinguish it from other branches. For example, the branch of the Serafini family from which I am descended was given the sopranome “Cenighi”. This sopranome was chosen because the wife of my 4x great-grandfather Alberto Serafini came from the village of Ceniga in Drò parish. We’ll look at sopranomi in more detail in a later article, and see how they can sometimes be a blessing – and sometimes a curse – for a genealogist.

Prior to the 18th century, surnames were still in a state of evolution, and your surname will probably look very different, the further back you go in time. One example is the surname Gusmerotti. This name is likely to be written as Gosmero or Gosmeri in records from the 1500s and early 1600s. This is because Gusmerotti comes from the masculine first name Gosmero plus the suffix -otti (meaning large).

Now that we’ve taken a brief look at surnames, in the next issue of Filò, I’ve be sharing tips that every family historian needs to know about your ancestors’ first and middle names. Until then, if you’d like to read more articles, see my latest research or have any comments or questions, I cordially invite you to visit my blog at

Figure 1: Example of surname Gusmerotti spelled “Gosmeri” in the Santa Croce del Bleggio parish records

Another example is the surname Devilli, which was typically written as “de Vigili” or simply Vigili. The word “vigili” refers to someone who keeps guard; as a name, it referred to certain members of the military during the reign of the Prince Bishops. Thus, knowing the roots of a surname can sometimes provide clues to what your ancestors did for a living.

LYNN SERAFINN is an author, marketing consultant and genealogist specializing in the families of the Giudicarie, where her father was born in 1919.


Family Stories: My Dad..Louie


y dad died April 24, 1966. The months preceding his death were the worst and darkest days of my life. After the terrible pain of lung cancer it was a relief to know he was at the end of his agony. Louie was born June 22, 1905 to Tyrolean parents Augusto and Erminia Dusini. His full name was Louis Bortolas Dusini born in the valley of Val Di Non in the town of Cles in Tyrol (now Italy). It was a family of poor to modest means. Augusto came at different times to work as a ‘sand hog’ building the subway tunnels in New York City and Philadelphia. Because he was in

Having broken his back once and leg once, he and Erma moved to New Philadelphia (about 5 miles away). He then got a job at the Chemical Plant in Dover where he was employed until his death. There were many Tyroleans and Italians employed there. The work was always good. During the period of World War II there was always many hours of overtime. In the New Philadelphia – Dover area there were plenty paesani. At home, Tyrolean was mostly spoken. I had to learn to speak English when I entered the first grade. I was not alone. My friend Jack Menapace, also spoke

My father: Louis Dusini-1929 Tyrolean at home and we learned to America at the time of the birth of speak English quickly when we started school. Louis, my father was born an American citizen. He did not need to go through Ellis Island in the fall of 1929. My father never owned an automobile (machina) until He sailed from Genoa on the steam ship Roma. His 1954 when he won one at a drawing at the local father accompanied him to the ship. He never saw any supermarket. Thereafter he was known as “Lucky of his family again. His family supported themselves by Louie”. He was also known as Luigi or Gigioti or farming and their apple orchard. When he came to Napoli. He was called Napoli because he was from the New York he found others from the Tyrol and lived in Neopolitan branch of the Dusini family. The ‘Boarding Houses’. They took turns helping with Neopolitan branch of the Dusini family was initiated cooking…ate mostly polenta and gnocchi. There he because his grandfather was named Napoleon after the met Erma DeBiasi from Ohio. Her mother was born in then conqueror Napoleon Boneparte. Bolzano, and her father Jack DeBiasi was born in Cles. They were married December 26,1931 at Our Lady of He put a great value on saving money for the education Mt. of his children. He worked all the overtime he could get. He was a great believer in education because he knew that was the best way to get ahead. A man that started with very little produced ‘offspring’ within two or three generations that included a graphic artist, an engineer, an accountant, a pharmacist, a medical doctor, a law enforcement officer, a Social Worker, successful business owners, teachers, and secretaries. He did not live to see what he had accomplished. I was able to go to Cles three times and visit relatives on both sides of the family. On the first trip I visited a ‘hospice’ house where I visited an old friend who remembered my father and he talked about their childhood. He always considered himself Austrian or Tyrolean. Louis and Erma produced 5 bambini: Charles who died at 2 days Mom & Dad: Louise De Biasi & Louis Bortolo Dusini in Midvale, Ohio; Frank born in 1934; James in 1936; Carmel church in Brooklyn N.Y. Dad also worked as a Carol 1943 and Linda 1946. We are all living a good life ‘ground hog’ on the subway system in New York. In because of the good choices my father made during his 1932 he had enough of the big city and they moved to lifetime. Written by his son Frank, Dusini of New Midvale, Ohio where he worked in the ‘coal mines’. Philadelphia, OH


Mochen Proverbs...

The proverbs or wisdom stories that follow were sent to us by the youngest of our authors, a 13 year old from Fierozzo of the Val di Fersina, Evelyn Battisti. She attends the Ciro Andreatta School in Pergine and has aspirations for higher education. These proverbs were drawn from a research paper she submitted for a competition regarding Mochen culture. She was the winner of that competition. In describing her family life, I saw a reflection of the experience of many of our readers. At home, she speaks Mochen and Trentino dialect with her parents, Mochen to her nonni while writing to me in English. She acknowledged the experience or the fascination of watching and hearing her noni exchanging these Wisdom stories. Her interest prompted her to write them down in a note book and thus capture the insight of her forebearers…as well winning the competition. How many of us had a similar cultural and linguistic experience within our families throughout the USA. Thank you, Evelyn! Here are some further comments that I wrote for the Filo` several years ago about these stories …for Evelyn…and for us too. Deeply rooted in their rural world, our Tyrolean forbearers developed an oral tradition of wise sayings..Wisdom stories that were distilled from individual and group experiences. They were handed down, repeated from one generation to the next generation as a treasury of wisdom, common sense, and moral lessons. They had so many of the features of the styles and modes of the oral traditions of the Sacred Scriptures and in many ways these sayings were a bible, a Tyrolean scripture of a sort. They were exchanged in ordinary conversation, at the dinner table, exchanged with passerby’s, repeated at the fontana, the village fountain , laundry and gathering place, in the piazza, in the daily encounters and gatherings in the villages. They were instilled in the young at the A filo` in the Val delle Giudicarie evening filo`. Brief, often quite witty, wisdom stories had a distinctive style of one or two memorized sentences that always concluded with a sardonic counterpoint that not only summed up the lesson but made clear the moral of that lesson. They are the expressions of a popular culture which had coined them for a specific communicative purpose. The proverb was an admonition handed down over the generations to the ingenuous young from their forbearers. Some were simply common sense with a universal message. The proverbs are presented in Mochen in red, followed by the proverb in Trentino dialect in blue, and finally a rough English translation or interpretation of these cultural gems. Bainechtn en klea ont Oastern en schnea’. Se a Natale è bello e senza neve, a Pasqua ce ne sarà molta. If Christmas is beautiful and without snow, so at Easter, there will be a lot of snow. Liachta Bainechtn tuncklega teitschn, tunkla bainechtn liachta teitschn. Natale chiaro fienili bui, Natale scuro fienili chiari. Christmas clear, hay lofts dark; Christmas overcast, haylofts bright Bals de nebln gea’anaus pist gabis as s tziacht se aus,bals de nebln aninn kemmen pist gabis as s kimmp za regnen! Quando le nuvole vanno in direzione di Pergine (in fuori) sei sicuro che il tempo diventerà sereno, se invece vanno verso Palù (in dentro) di sicuro verrà da piovere. When the clouds go in the direction of Pergine (beyond the Valley)you can be sure that the weather will be serene; if instead the clouds move towards Palu` (interior of the valley), for sure it will rain. As de 17 van genner ist der to van Haile Antone, ont der doi ist der spruch as de hom mer contart. S. Antone de mez genar, torta a zena bison far. St. Antony (January 17) in the middle of January, you must bake a cake for supper. As de 20 van genner ist der to van doi Haile: va semm schellet vòngen u’ za kemmen bermer ont plea’n de plea’mbler. San Bastian el da la viola en man! The 20th of January, violets begin to blossom. Van to va de candelora envire geat men òlbe mear keing en langes; benns en sèllto schea’ ist, mut men song as der binter. De la candelòra de l’inverno semo fora, ma se el piove e ghè el vento nell’inverno semo dentro. By Candlemas we out of winter but if it rains, we are still in winter. 34

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Our Partners are… Alberto Chini, Presidente of Father Eusebio Chini Museum, Segno Italy Alberto Folgheraiter- Author, journalist and specialist in Trentino culture, Trento Christian Brunelli. Teacher & Technical Consultant, Peekskill, NY Tomaso Iori, Museo della Scuola, Rango, Val delle Giudicarie Giorgio Crosina-Director-Phoenix Informatica Bancaria, Trento Ivo Povinelli, Director- Federazione Trentina delle Pro Loco e loro Consorzi . TrentoJim Caola Genealogist, nutritional counselor, macrobiotic chef, Philadelphia, PA Daniela Finardi, Communications Dept.- Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina. San Michele Manuele Margini-Phoenix Bancaria Informatica, Trento Ricardo di Carli -Biblioteca della Montagna-SAT, Trento Renzo Grosselli-L`Adige, Journalist, Author, Trento Alexander DeBiasi Trentino Sviluppo SpA Verena Di Paoli.Writer, Researcher, Scholar, Terlago Veronica Coletti, Teacher, Bronx, NY

Contributors Evelyn Battisti-Student, Fierozzo, Val dei Mocheni Patrizia Bocher-Mochen Cultural Institute Frank Dusini-New Philadelphia, OH Frank Fenice-Deer Park, NY Don Fortunato Tirrini, Cles, Trentino Claudia Marchesoni-Mochen Cultural Institute Dean Moltrer-Valdez, CO Sabrina Moltrer-President – Choir Cantiamo con Gioia Lino Pintarelli-Mochen Cultural Institute Alfred Scaia-Readsboro, VT Lynn Serafin- UK Leo Toler-Mochen Cultural Institute Alethea Williams-Green River, WY

Photo Credits Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina; Istituto Culturale Mòcheno - Bersntoler Kulturinstitut; Trentino Sviluppo; Flavio Faganello; Marc Latzel; Marco Simonini; Foto Archivio BKI, famiglia Eccher Domenico

Our sincerest thanks to Giorgio Crosina and Phoenix Informatica Bancaria for making the distribution of the Filo` possible throughout the United States and Canada The Filo’s Corporate Headquarters…Well…sort of…Unlike the glass covered office building of Trentini nel Mondo in Trento with well appointed office space and the multiplicity of staff members, the Filo`s “headquarters” is simply the former basement playroom of my five children who left to produce their own children. In this basement, there are five phones, 3 computers, three printers, three scanners, a fax machine, a folding machine, shelves of Tyrolean books and materials, two desks and a total of one staff member or janitor managing the phones, the writing, the formatting, and the distribution of the Filo`…It is yours truly. But besides the technology, there is a foot print of the Tyrol…across from my computer, there is a Tyrolean house which I built years ago to fill a space under the stairs. It is replete with a stone fire place, window flower boxes, heart shapes…and the ever lingering memories of my five children going in and out with their Tyrolean gear. Above is the house and Justin and Jeremy, my sons. Jeremy is the dad of the last issue’s Tyrolean clad girl with the beer steins…So with all the technology, there is the inspiring presence and reminiscence of who we were that ever tells us who we are 35

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2016 Volume14  

A Journal for Tyrolean Americans - Val de Mocheni

2016 Volume14  

A Journal for Tyrolean Americans - Val de Mocheni