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A Journal for Tyrolean Americans Volume 16


Phoenix greets the 6000 families throughout the USA and Canada that receive the Filò

Giorgio Crosina Director and CEO of Phoenix


As Phoenix has developed as the premier assistant and promoter of banking technical informational and technical services throughout Europe, we applaud the success of the Filò in being the premier informational resource to our friends and relatives in the USA. Sharing a common heritage, we are indeed pleased to have collaborated with the Filò in the outreach to your community.


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An Introduction . . .

The Filò is to be published and distributed on a quarterly basis 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 provide a summary of our culture, history, and customs in plain English to inform and provide you with the background of your roots and ancestry. 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 914734-9644 or submit them by email to View of the Piana Rotoliana - Consorzio Turistico



Intro-Piana Rotaliana Königsberg

ust north of the City of Trento, there is the Piana Rotaliana Königsberg. Looking north, it borders on the Alto Adige region, there is the Val di Cembra to the right and on the left is the Rochetta, a narrow gorge that is the entrance to the Val di Non. Piana means a plain. It is shaped as a triangle, simply six kilometers long and three kilometers wide. It is a flood plain formed by the Adige and Noce Rivers and a geological foot print that shaped this alluvial plain whose sides are towering cliffs rising vertically from the plain. The area had a keen historical significance by The blue area is the Piana. The white virtue of its location. It area above it is the Alto Adige. The has been called the hinge Veneto is to the East; Lombardy on between the the West Mediterranean and German worlds. In Roman times, the Piana was a hub for trade routes, a crossroads between the Noce and Avisio valleys with the Adige Valley. It was known as Via Claudia Augusta, the Roman Imperial road, a thoroughfare of great importance through which there passed people and goods It was a bridge and a link between the Latin world and continental Europe.


guage. For 800 years, it belonged to the Principato of Trento and then passed to the jurisdiction of the Hapsburg and the Austrian Hungarian Empire. The Piana has the remarkable presence of caverns and caves. The deepest is over 2000 meters of over forty who travel the Paganella, Another special feature are the ancient castles in the area: Castel San Gottardo, now in ruins, set in a vast and attractive cave at the base of the cliffs of Mount; Castel Firmian further down, still inhabited, and finally Castel Torre, from Mezzolombardo.

Between 1848 and 1853, the landscape of the Piana was radically changed by the Hapsburg rulers changing The nomenclature “Rotaliana” is derived from the lan- the course of the Noce guage of the Illyrian and Celtic populations who inhab- River moving and uniting it ited the area 4000 years ago. Königsberg (the King’s to the Adige River thus Mountain) was the name of the ancient castle of the avoiding the often damaging Counts of Appiano and the previous nomenclature of flooding of the area. The the northern part of the Piana referring to a territory soil, finally freed from the Teroldego wine of the Azienda Foradori that included the villages of Lavis, Pressano, Nave, San threat of flooding, presents Michele e Faedo, Giovo, Lisignago, Cembra, Faver e the unique physical and chemical soil characteristics. The Valda. It was the dividing line between the German- wealth of minerals and low water retention then comspeaking communities and communities of Italian lan- bine with the influence of the mountains, which in their embrace protect Rotaliano range from cold winds and the damp cold of winter as well as summer heat, helping to create a perfect microclimate for growing of the vineyards. This is where for centuries is grown Teroldego wine, the “Prince” and most representative wine of the Trentino. Its nomenclature…is the combination of Tyrolean and German word for gold … accordingly it has an affinity and a linkage to our Tyrolean American community. Vines of Muller Thurgau wine


resides the fearsome Basilisk. Mezzolombardo is considered one of the most important wine centers of Trentino and stretches for over a kilometer in the flat valley of the Noce. The old part of the country is characterized by the Castello della Torre, as well as a series of Art Nouveau villas and the row of buildings, where there is also Palazzo Scari, home of the Barons of Cles. San Michele all’Adige is a center of great importance hosting the significant Mach Foundation, international center for agricultural and environmental research and the Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina (Museum of the Ways and Customs of the Trentino people). Housed in a monastery that once housed the Augustinian fathers, the museum holds all that is the basis of the farmer's work culture in mountain populations and agricultural support craft. The Smithsonian Museum in DC is lovingly referred to as the “nation’s attic” where there are stored and displayed the things of our history and past. Similarly, the Museo of San Michele stores and displays the past of our forbearers from wardrobes to farming tools so that we can call it the “Tyrol’s Attic”.

Schutzen Company of Mezzocorona

The Piana includes eight municipalities: Lavis, Zambana, Nave, San Rocco, San Michele all`Adige, Faedo, Mezzocorona, Mezzolombardo and Roverè della Luna. Lavis is situated on the torrent Avisio and has a special role and mission in wine production and culture dating back to the ancient Rhaetians who produced superb wines. The town itself has some elegant edifices in the historical center of the town. In Lavis, there are the curious remans of the Giardino dei Ciucioi (see article). The town of Nave San Rocco was born in a bend placed on the right bank of the Adige River. The ship name has Roman origins and stands for the "ferry" used for crossing the river. There are documents pointing to the ancient presence of a ford that linked the two main roads of the Adige Valley communications.

Mezzocorona lies at the foot of Mount Mezzocorona with its impassable wall which can be reached either by cable car or through the various forest trails. At Mezzocorona you can also admire Castel Firmian, built in 1480, and the remains of Castel S. Gottardo, one of the rarest and most evocative medieval buildings built inside a hollowed rock wall. Legend has it that there

View of the Piana

Edmund Mach Foundation & Museo di San Michele degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina


Along with the wine production, the Plain is also known for the Zambana white asparagus. This vegetable, thanks to the particular climatic conditions, soil and growing techniques is particularly delicate, tender and almost completely devoid of fiber. Since only amateurs grow them in small quantities, you can taste the fresh product only on the spot, in the harvest season. This lasts about two months, from late March to late May, and during that period (usually the first few days of May). The Asparagus Festival is held in Zambana celebrating its niche product. Written by Irene Coslop of the Consorzio Turistico of the Piana Rotoliana. For more information go to,


A Musical Tradition...the Band

he musical band is an ensemble of wind instruments-both woods and brasses-and percussion instruments, meant to be played outdoors. The band had its origin in Europe in the early 1800s, spurred by the spirit of equality and social emancipation preached by the French Revolution. Coincidentally, during that period, technical innovations were developed increasing the melodic capabilities of wind instruments.

Musical Instrument Display at the Museo all~Adige

It is interesting to examine the statistics: At the start of World War I, there were about 60 bands, numbering between 1200 and 1500 musicians. Today in the Trentino, there are 82 bands, four Alpine groups and 41 young people’s groups. The bandsmen number about 5900, of whom 2800 are youths. Every year there are over 1500 concerts.

La Piana Rotaliana boasts of 11 bands: Mezzocorona has had a band since 1900, joined by a youth band started in the 1990’s; at Mezzolombardo,, we have the “Citizen’s Band” organized in 1843 and beginning in 2000, the group “River Boys’’ at Lavis, there is the Social Band formed in 1903, and in 1985 it was joined by a young instrumental group. Roverè della Luna has had its Pizzini Instrumental Group since 1921, and in Faedo, the Konigsberger Musikanten has played since 2008 alongside the older (1910) civil band. Zambana had its Social Band since 1919 and the village of Nave San Rocco has its own musical group “The Nautilus Band” since 2005.

At Trento, as in many cities of Europe, the first band was organized by the Civil Guard. From the beginning the band was associated with male groups, such as firemen, the Armed Forces or with sport or alpine societies. They quickly proliferated throughout the Trentino. A few years after the Great War (WWI), the Fascists found the resonant notes of the brasses were an ideal accompaniment to their nationalistic rhetoric. After the Second World

Written by Daniela Finardi, Communications Director, Museo degli Usi e Costumi

Konigsberger Musikanten

War, the bands went back to their original music, but not without economic and cultural difficulties. Starting in the 1960’s, the bands had a hard time competing with the light music of the time. But fairly recently, the bands have come back into favor. Since the 1960’s, young people, musicians and various civic groups have contributed to the resurgence of the bands. It seems that every public gathering, whether sacred or profane, boasts a band supported by a civic organization.

Ladini band-Festa de la Fin d`Ista



Rita Maria Cominolli-Tarolli

hen I was asked to write Medical College. In 2001, she moved to about my sister, Rita, New Jersey and became a full time confor FILO, I did not hessultant to the commissioner of health itate to accept the inviwhere she researched and contributed to tation, but I have struggled to put new laws which impacted medical practice. thoughts to paper. Rita was the writer To my mind, Rita lived a life that epito- she has to edit this before it goes to mized what it means to be a Tyrolean – press. Rita passed on August 6, 2016. love your family and friends, work hard, We spoke at noon that day; she told me never complain, praise the Lord for any she loved me; I told her I would see her goodness that comes your way, and take in a week or so. A few hours later, I responsibility for failures – no excuses. In learned that I would never hear her our tight-knit community of Solvay, NY, Rita Maria Camnoli Tarolli voice again. She still walks with me everyone was a zia, zio, nonno, or nanna every day and there are still moments when I forget, whose stories Rita wanted to hear. I remember how our when I reach for the phone to ask her opinion, when I elderly relatives’ eyes would sparkle when Rita asked feel her presence while cooking a holiday meal, when I them to talk about their lives in Trento, Bolbeno, sit down and openly grieve. Castello...and about their early experiences in a new Rita was passionate, talented, sensitive, deeply spiritual, country. These stories would be memorialized in her and committed to helping those who struggled. She was book, Smokestacks Allegro: The Story of Solvay, a a scholar, gifted author, and humanist who shared her Remarkable Industrial/Immigrant Village (1880-1920). gifts through word and action. My husband shared the She translated and published the book in Italian. In this following about Rita in his memoir, “I’d marvel at her book Rita captured the voices of those who immigrated accomplishments, and I dare say, would eventually pon- to Solvay and worked at Allied Chemical. der the idea that maybe she was too blessed.... To witness Rita loved to visit our relatives’ villages in Trentino. Years this intensity from a sixteen year old who I knew would before Rita met and married Mario Tarolli, she had one day become my sister-in-law, quite frankly, aston- formed a loving bond with Mario’s mother, Maria ished me.” An administrator in her high school echoed Massenza, who lived in Castel Condino. Mario learned of the same, “I hold fond memories of a bright and charm- this connection when Rita shared a bundle of letters – ing young lady whose thirst for knowledge challenged correspondence with his mother that started when Rita many of us and of a glowing, friendly smile, and keen was 16 years old. intellect, all wrapped in boundless energy. I knew she would be successful, but did not grasp the extent.” Rita graduated as valedictorian of Solvay High School in 1976, graduated with honors as a history major from Yale University in 1980, and earned her medical degree from McMasters University in 1997. Rita was a scholar, gifted author, and humanist who shared her gifts through word and action. Shortly after graduating from Yale, she worked in Appalachia and then organized community legal education programs for migrant farm workers in Michigan. During her tenure with the New York City Health and Hospitals Administration she wrote speeches for Mayor Ed Koch. She wrote on race relations and multiculturalism for the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture. After receiving her medical degree, she married and moved to Syracuse, NY. She wrote and taught a preventative medicine curriculum for the Upstate

Among Rita’s belongings is a gift to her granddaughter, “Lullabies for Lucia,” children’s songs in Italian and translated to English compiled by Nonna Rita, Bisnonna, and Zias. I can still hear my mother and Rita singing the first song, substituting my children’s names, “Lucia, Lucia piangeva, Voleva le caramelle, La momma non ne aveva, Lucia, Lucia, piangeva, E verso mezzanotte, Passava un aeroplano, E sotto c’era scritto; Lucia, Lucia, sta zitta!” I have Rita’s CDs of Tyrolean Songs, her recipe books, and journals. Tucked in one book was a handwritten recipe for polenta with blue cheese – Rita, you never shared this one with me. I would give anything to make polenta with you again.


On behalf of Rita's husband, Mario Tarolli, my brother, Joseph Cominolli, and all of our relatives here and in Italy, I would like to thank Filo for sharing Rita's story. - Sarah Cominolli-Chauncey, Nanuet, NY


Renowned Research & Development

he Edmund Mach Foundation is situated 10 miles north of Trento, in the municipality of San Michele all’Adige and in the heart of the Rotaliana Plain. It stretches out over a 35 acre campus, with classrooms, greenhouses, laboratories, offices. The institute, formerly the Instituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige, was founded on January 12, 1874. Activities began in autumn of the same year, and were organized by Edmund Mach, the first Director, who had worked at the experimental Center of Klosterneuburg (Vienna). Over the years the institute has achieved important results internationally in the fields of both research and training. From its initiation, the Foundation concentrated on studies regarding viticulture and oenology. The Autonomous Province of Trento is responsible for its role and function. The work of the Foundation is performed by several individual centers dedicated to education, training, research, innovation, technology transfer. It also operates an experimental farm. The Education and Training Center provides education and training activities for agriculture, food processing, the environment and forestry. It includes the training and preparation of graduates in viticulture and oenology. It offers university agricultural courses and training for young entrepreneurs. It trains wine technicians and experts in the environmental and forestry sectors. Each year it is attended by almost 1000 students coming from Trentino and other regions. There are four departments: technical high school education, vocational training in the field of agriculture, further and university education, educational and careers support. The Research and Innovation Center carries out research, using the most advanced scientific approaches and cutting edge technology to enhance agricultural production, biodiversity, human health and the quality of life. The focus is on the development of sustainable agri-

Mach Foundation students at class in the fields

The Edmund Mach Foundation - San Michele all`Adige

culture and the safeguarding of biodiversity. The Center pursues genomics and plant biology, food quality and nutrition, the environment and natural resources. The Center is quickly becoming an acknowledged learning and research of learning and doctoral research... In an effort to encourage spin-offs and the promotion of a knowledge based economy, it promotes creation of consortia, agreements with entrepreneurs.

The Technological Transfer Center supports develop the development of the agricultural and forestry system throughout the Trentino. To effect technological transfer of resources, it organizes and disseminates researchexperimentation and productive sustainability regarding the environmental, social and economic standards. It anticipates the needs of the area aiming to develop advanced technical solutions, consultancies to support businesses seeking to enhance their productivity and improvements to companies. It supplies analytical and informative services regarding chemistry, agricultural and oenological microbiology, phytopathology diagnosis and technical messaging.


The Farm grows and processes products, but also has an educational and experimental role. It has 247 acres of land dedicated to the cultivation of vines and apples, a winery and a distillery. The cultivated areas are subdivided into numerous separate branches of the farm businesses, situated throughout the Province. At the farm’s winery, housed in the former Augustinian monastery, only grapes coming from the farm’s best vineyards are processed. It attempts to produce a range of wines providing exemplars and standards for the whole oenological panorama of the Province. Written by Silvia Ceschini, Media Director, Edmund Mach Foundation

Old Zambana’s Two Lives


uring the year of 1955, on the night of September 7, a frightening rumbling awakened and startled the population of Zambana. To the deep sound of rocks that were tumbling down to valley, there were sounds of the hammer struck bells. In a couple of minutes the whole village were on the roads. The desperate screams of the panic stricken women, the shouting of the men who moving towards the cable car (begun 1925, uniting Zambana with Fai of the Paganella). They were overwhelmed with the deep sound of the earth slide, getting larger as it plunged to the valley. There were tell tale signs of the collapse were ever more evident since 1951. Four years passed of apparent tranquility until August 7, 1955 when there began the separation of chunks of limestone from the east face of the Paganella mountain. The situation worsened when the gravel and boulders cascaded down the valley due to due to streams engorged by violent rains. In the days and the subsequent months, the newspaper reporters finally became attuned to the frightened community living on the slopes of the Paganella mountain.After the scare of September 7, 1955, the Zambana community returned to the rhythms of their contadini lives: the harvesting of the potatoes, the grapes, and the maintenance of their livestock and stables. On October 21, 1955, around noon, a violent storm caused the flooding of the their cellars and the village church dedicated to Saint Philip and James. Several homes were cleared but a couple of days after the alarm again sounded. Another month went by.On November 24, the monitoring instrumentation installed by geologists on the mountain were indicating an immanent collapse. That night, the face of the Paganella mountain was illuminated by the spotlights of the army. At 7:08 in the morning a massive boulder detached itself from the mountain. On Sunday, November 27 1955, the first Sunday of Advent, the entire community of Zambana were gathered in the church for Sunday mass.With great

Cable car from Zambana to Fai

Historic Zambana

emotion, Don Roberto read the ordinance of the President of the Province that the entire population the village within 36 hours. Infants and the children were transferred to Levico in the Valsugana to the facility of the Italian Red Cross.Many of the village people were contadini, farmers and had their stables and livestock to maintain. The animals were gathered and tended by the Agrarian Institute of San Michele all`Adige. In the meantime, a plan evolved to move the village’s population and to re-construct a village in the area of Ischia, between the Adige and Noce Rivers. From Milan and other cities, there began to arrive the first pre-fab dwellings. On March 24, 1956, after new rain storms, there was an enormous landside the submerged over half the homes. The next day, yet another landside created a huge blockage along the Maor River and demolished yet other structures. The families, who had returned to the village for a couple of days to work their fields, were forced to flee yet again. At his point, the reconstruction of the village fu avviata in Adige plains in the area of village of Lavis. The sun dial image, painted in 1893 on the bell tower of the church that had been abandoned needlessly continued to sound the hours. To the few passerby’s the frailness of time. “As the shadow of our days...” Besides the burying with rocks and destroying the homes of ancient Zambana, the landside of the Paganella mountain destroyed the cable car service that connected Zambana with the village of Fai della Paganella. Written by Alberto Folgheraiter. writer & journalist.

Zambana buried


Zambana’s Devastation

Farewell, Mountains

Editor’s note: Farewell, mountains…was the wrenchingly painful expression of our Tyrolean forebears as they left their valleys to survive their poverty and nurture their families. Before I actually traveled to the Tyrol in 1948 as I looked out from a tenement to other tenements in Greenwich Village in NYC , I was puzzled what possibly was the gripping nostalgia of my parents who so often reminisced about “ I nossi monti” to themselves, us and our Tyrolean paesani. Their mountains were truly personified and were the steady presence, the immovable and consistent memory of their ancestors and their way of life…their very identity. Poverty took them out of the Tyrol but no one ever took the Tyrol out of them. Daniela Finardi, a constant and consistent contributor to the Filo` …and sings in a choir in Mezzocorona provides with the further development of Alpine choral singing first revolutionized by Antonio Pedrotti who was the first to make the popular choral songs to a state of an art arewell, mountains" is one of the most sung songs ever in the world of popular choral singing. It was written in 1965 by Giancarlo Bregani, Lombard in origin, Bellunese by adoption, a composer, a known musicologist and music critic, a director of the choir Cortina d'Ampezzo for twenty years. Bregani is known to have proposed a new way of singing based on highly expressive vocal effects in order to propose folk songs enriching intense suggestions. The author expresses the farewell for its mountains of Valtellina. The lyrics are is sad and melancholy with a melodic fabric of profound poetry and love along with painful nostalgic expressions for the abandonment and ultimate resignation and goodbye.


Cade lenta già la sera sulle cime incantate ed or lassù solo il vento può cantare, sol la luna può arrampicar. Montagne addio, addio vallate, io parto, addio, non so se tornerò. Qui lascio il cuor, qui lascio la mia vita, montagne addio, non vi scorderò!

Farewell, Mountains...

The evening slowly descends on the enchanted peaks up high Only the wind can sing them Only the moon can climb them.. Farewell, mountains, Farewell valleys. I am leaving, farewell I do not know if I will return I leave my heart here, I leave my life. Mountains, farewell, I will not forget you

The song "Farewell, Mountains…", harmonized by Master Mattia Culmone, is sung by the Choir Rigoverticale of Mezzocorona which was founded in 2002. Over the years, the Choir welcomed singers from Piana area but from the Val di Non, Vallagarina. In recent years the choir has included a wide and varied repertoire ranging from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary music, both sacred and profane. The choir has enjoyed lively praise and won competitions, on the occasions that have seen the Choir involved in festivals and concerts both in Trentino and in national and international festivals. 10

Coro Lago di Tenno


Teroldego...Tyrolean Gold etween 1848 and 1853, the Noce River was deviated and redirected. The soil, finally freed from the threat of flooding, has unique physical and chemical properties, that vary markedly from place to place depending on the distance to the ancient river bed: gravel, sand and pebbles of different origin and nature (granite and alpine limestone from the Presanella ranges, porphyritic sandstone from the Ortles - Cevedale, quartz porphyry from the Penegal, superior alpine limestone and dolomite from the Roen and the Brenta mountain group, slate), smoothed by water and carried downstream, are found in varying proportions deep underground, covered by a layer of fertile silt and fine soil. A poor, loose soil with excellent drainage properties that make it warm and dry and, despite being totally flat, its properties are amazingly similar to the soil found on slopes and hills. The richness in minerals and the low water retention combined with the mountains’ influence, which in their embrace protect the Campo Rotaliano from cold winds and temper both the winter cold and the summer heat, help to create a perfect microclimate for the cultivation of grapevines. This is where Teroldego has been farmed for centuries, a grape variety that is rooted in the history as well as the stones of the Piana Rotaliana. The oldest known document referring to the vinum teroldegum dates back to 1383 and the fields between Trento and Povo. It is necessary to wait until 1540-42 for it to be referred to in the area of Mezzolombardo, to which the history of this variety has been bound for centuries until today. As early as 1231, however, a document reports the excellence of the vineyards in the area of the Mezo, indicating precise references to place names and highlighting already the dramatic contrast between the fertility of farmland near the Noce river and the devastating effects of its frequent floods. In the thirteenth century, the administration of the day-to-day running of the viticultural practises together with the management of the dispute between the Principato of Trento and the Tyrolean counts regarding the causa vinaria, occupy a privileged position in a number of administrative texts of the area, proof of wine’s central role in all levels of society. Its position on the border between Tyrol and Trentino - South and North respectively of two very different cultures and languages – as well as continually influencing the direction of trade, has shaped the history of the region and its inhabitants due to constant comparisons, clashes and exchanges. Land of passage or of convergence, over

time this area has developed the richness and complexity that only border regions have. A richness and complexity that is reflected in Teroldego, a wine with a unique and complex character that due to its popularity was exported to Germany, Switzerland and the Habsburg Empire until the end of the nineteenth century and the First World War. Subsequently, the political divide and the closure of central European markets determined a reversal in sales that went back to a local scale and to a renewed but shy interest among Italian consumers. The need for a new reconstruction in the aftermath of World War II was followed by a deep restructuring of the agricultural system focusing on high yields achieved also thanks to the prolific scientific research in the field of chemistry. The conversion was favored by a gradual fragmentation of land property into smaller and smaller fields. The 60’s imposed a focus on high yields, high mechanization and mainly catered for a uniform and standardized taste which promoted the spread of 'international' varieties while drastically depleting the genetic heritage of local ones. The newfound economic stability culminated in the establishment of the big cooperative wineries to which the farmer – a vintner no more, but simply a grapevine farmer – brought his grapes, valued only for their weight and sugar content. Teroldego was thus planted, mainly with the pergola trellising system(ancient system used by the Romans), and focusing on the endless repetition of very few clones selected for disease resistance and hyper-productivity. Elisabetta Foradori, the owner of Azienda Foradori had a vision to bring Teroldego back to its forgotten qualitative potential that 15 different clones were re-introduced by selecting older Teroldego vines and grapes at Azienda Foradori over the past 30 years. The wine estate successfully succeeded in producing Teroldego that reflects its land of origin to the fullest through the conversion into biodynamics and the use of clay amphorae for its natural fermentation on the skins, conveying the sand, gravel and pebbles of the Campo Rotaliano in the glass. Written by Myrtha Foradori Zierock. Salorno, Alto Adige.


Elisabetta Foradori-Renown vinter- Owner of Azienda Foradori


Castles of the Piana Rotoliana he 'plain' of Rotaliana, once known as the field of Rotaliana, is the largest expanse of flat land in the Trentino. Straddling the Adige River and the torrent of Noce it extends northward to Chiusa del Salorno on the border with the Sudtirol. The Adige River and the imperial road known as the Via Claudia Augusta made the Rotalian Plain a north/south hub of vital importance since the days of the Roman Empire. Not far from the city of Trent, small centers of habitation provided way stations for travelers along the road and farmland for the inhabitants.The rustic villa at Mezzolombardo nd especially the late Roman era farm at Mezzocorona date from the first to the fifth century. There is documentation indicating the presence of vineyards in those locales, confirming the importance of viniculture in the area.

Catello Monrealle

The area's value is also confirmed by the ring of fortifications protecting the zone. At Mezzocorona, the castle Corona di Mezo, better known as St. Gotthard, dominates the valley from its craggy perch. Lower down, the Firmian Castle and the Sonneg tower stand guard over the approaches to the higher castle. The castle of St. Gotthard was held early in the 12th century by the counts of Appiano, who founded the monastery of San Michele all'Adige in 1145. They were the most powerful lords in the Adige, awarded both the title and office of 'advocat of the church' by the Prince Bishop. But in 1181, the counts Federico and Enrico of Appiano had to renounce their title and their castle to the Prince Bishop Solomon. Two years later, in 1183, Solomon conferred these on the brothers Arnoldo and Anselmo of Livo. These nobles, stationed here in the Non valley became feudal lords of the principality of Trent and assumed the title of Lords of Mez. Later they became vassals of the counts of the Tyrol and were thereafter known in German as von Kronmetz, and from 1323 onward assumed the name Schenk or Schenken von Metz.

The appearance in the Rotaliana of the powerful Maynard II of Tyrol, put him in a position to seize possession of the castles of St. Peter at Mezolombardo and of Koenigsberg at Faedo. And in 1293, he got his hands on the Corona di Mezo, buying it for 1500 Veronese lire from Adelpreto of Mezzocorona. The sellers, in turn, became vassals of the counts of Tyrol, Thus began the reign of German captains and the subsequent germanification of the area. In 1380, the Hapsburg Duke Leopold III of Austria returned the castle to the von Kronmetz family, and conferred upon them the jurisdiction of Mezzocorona which extended to the towns of Grumo and Roverè della Luna. The family remained in control until 1465 when Giovanni di Mezzocorona died without male heirs. His only daughter, Dorothea married Mattia von Wolkenstein with whom she had two sons. After Mattia died, Dorothea married the nobleman Nicolò Firmian, a marshal of the Tridentine church, vicar general of the valleys of the Non and the Sole and captain of the Alto Adige. Nicolò busied himself with the construction of a more comfortable residence, situated on the slopes below St. Gothard. This residence became known as the Firmian Castle and is still occupied by the descendants of the family. Adjacent to the castle was a small church dedicated to St. Gotthard, which many devoted followers, both local and foreign, visited. In 1489, a controversy sprang up between the priest and the Firmian dynasty over the disposition of donations left by these pilgrims.

Castello della Torre -Mezzolombardo

In 1526, the castle was listed among the ring of fortifications which had to be equipped with cannons and other defensive weapons. It was part of a network of fortifications which could communicate with each other This network extended up to the Brenner Pass. But from 1600 onward, the castle lost its defensive function with fire and smoke signals.


was renovated to provide comfortable shelter both to its occupants and to pilgrims; in 1735, the central part was redone to accommodate the 'eremiti' or hermit monks. With the decline of such devotions and the suppression of these hermitages by Joseph II, the castle fell into decline and was stripped of its cannons and other weapons by the Austrian general Leinengen.

polygonal tower and some of the adjacent structures are indications of its reconstruction in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The most charming part of the structure is the portico, with its two rows of sturdy columns, forming three naves. The inner courtyard houses the water cistern and is adorned by two windows which bring light into two grand rooms, the hall of the caminetto (a small fireplace) and the hall of justice. The hall of the caminetto is decorated with a frieze of Today, a few visitors still make frescos , while more frescos, featuring the their way to the castle along a long apostles can be seen in the chapel. An and dangerous path. They come to admire the magnificent fresco on Firmian Castle (lower) & Castello San Gottardo early document, dated 1216 and written by Odalrico of Konigsberg, tells of a its portal featuring the coat of arms of the Kronmetz family with its dragon, long the meeting here between the Prince Bishop Vanga and the guardian of this old structure. After more than five cen- Firmian family.

turies, the castle is still the property of the Firmian family, which actually resides below it in the castle which bears their name. The Firmian Castle was reconstructed near an ancient 14th century tower. By order of Nicolò Firmian it is a fortified residence protected by towers and a surrounding wall. The plaque over its entryway bears Nicolò’s coat of arms as well as that of his wife Dorothea von Kronmetz. It bears the date 1480. In the 1700's, the Firmian castle was renovated, adding an upper level, affording more comfortable quarters for the residents and adding a grand portrait gallery. After Nicolo`, who himself was a valorous soldier serving at the court of Maximilian, came many illustrious members of the church. Among these, were Leopold Antonio Eleuterio. The Prince Bishop of Salzburg up to 1774; Leopold Ernest, Prince Bishop of Trent named a cardinal in 1772; and Leopold Maximilian, Archbishop of Vienna who baptized the future Emperor Franz Joseph.The most important descendant of the family was Carlo Firmian, born in 1718 at Trent. He was a prominent personage at the court in Vienna, who, in 1758, was appointed by the empress Maria Theresa of Austria as Plenipotentiary of Lombardy. He instituted the first census of the region, was a patron of the arts and supported commerce and industry. He is credited with introducing Mozart to Milanese society.

Castle of Monreale (Konigsberg) The castle of Monreale is a short distance from the village of San Michele all'Adige in a hilly zone in the town of Faedo. From the valley, the imposing facade of the castle can be seen, with its battlements facing the plain. Up close can be seen the oldest part of the castle with its hexagonal tower. This

Castello della Torre (The Tower Castle) The Castle of Mezzolombardo, known as the Tower Castle, is located in the higher ground above the sector of the village called Piaz. The present day complex is the result of reconstructions, additions, and restorations of different eras. It is considered the descendant of the old castle of Mezzo San Pietro, which had been bequeathed to the Count of Tyrol Maynard in 1271. The earliest documentation on this castle are from 1541, the year in which the Prince Bishop Madruzzo gave it to Sigismundo Spaur. The oldest section of this castle, built on the slopes of St Appolonia, is the tower itself, possibly dating from the 1400's. In the 1500's, this tower, along with another two newly built towers, was included in a baronial palace. In this palace was born Michael Spaur, the future parish priest of Mezzocorona, and then Bishop of Trent from 1695 to 1725. The palace was inherited by the Welsperg family. In the courtyard before the castle, rises the little church of St. Apollonia, built in the 1500's. Inside the church are two baroque altars and tombstones of the family members buried there. Today, the whole castle complex is in private hands.. Written by Leone Melchiori, author and scholar of the Piana Rotoliano.


Castel Gottardo high up lodged in the mountain


Prehistoric Tyroleans…

ealizing that our history did not begin in 1919, our people have been living in their beautiful lands for thousands of years! Relatively recently, there was discovered the “nonna” of Zambana. She might have or not have been a genuine nonna but could have been the model nonna (nona in our dialect)...Let’s explain...In February 1968, the Brennero highway, between Trento and Bolzano, was being built. In Vatte of Zambana, Mesolithic Nona di Zambana a village along the Noce River under the Fausior Mountain, there was discovered a Mesolithic site of the Transpadane of Italy. Between May 29 and June 19 of 1968, Dr. Gino Tomasi coordinated a digging site where he discovered a cave replete with crafted flints. In the cave, he discovered a pre-historic tomb covered with rocks and originating from prehistoric times. The tomb contained a human skeleton with a crushed cranium and missing the bones of the feet. Carbon testing indicated that it originated 6000 years before Christ and thus 8000 years old. Drawing on the analysis of the bones, the anthropologist Mgr. Cleto Corrain (19212007), director of the Institute of Anthropology of the University of Padua, attributed the skeleton "to an individual who died at an age of around 50 years," female, with a height of 148 centimeters. That petrified skeleton of the Nona Zambana is even older than Ötzi , the Tyrolean Iceman, Homo tyrolensis. Otzi was the nickname given to the well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived around 3,300 BCE, and found in Ortzal Alps in the Alto Adige. Besides the differences in ages, the Nona and Otzi were neighbors and Tyroleans, one a petrified skeleton and Otzi a classic mummy, the oldest in Europe…Otzi is on display in Bolzano while the nona is now on display at MUSE, the museum of natural science in Trento and is seen every year by tens of thousands of visitors. Written by Alberto Folgheraiter, author and journalist. Otzi, the 8000 year old mummy in Bolzano, Italy


The Exotic Gardens of Ciucioi

he Bortolotti garden ("the Ciucioi") is an example of Romanesque that The Bortolotti Garden seeks to offer a fantastic and picturesque landscape. Tommaso Bortolotti of Lavis completed it in 1860. Situated on the slope of Bristol, constructed with rocks, it recalls an ancient prehistoric fortress. In its heyday, the garden hosted a picturesque setting of rare and exotic plants arranged in two greenhouses inserted with elegance among large cultivated terraces. Palms, magnolia, lemons, oranges, Japanese medlar, medicinal and aromatic plants stand out against solid walls with gothic arches, oriental features punctuated, with the presence of some big cypresses. The complex The Ciucioi Gardens is an imaginative exhibition of architectural styles reminiscent of the features of the romantic gardens of the nineteenth century northern European gardens with their eclectic and adapted styles. Tomaso Bortolotti, the esteemed Lavis citizen and mayor in the years 1830-32 built this scenic complex investing over 60,000 florins hoping to create a work that would draw interested foreigners to Lavis. The goal was largely achieved and "Ciucioi" continued to engage the curious gaze of the traveler for several decades. During the Great War, the garden suffered extensive damage, while in 1921, following a severe drought, the cypress trees that crowned the Castle Terrace dried up and were eliminated. Over the years, the succeeding owner guaranteed the maintenance of the gardens although the ancient splendor remained only the memory. Currently owned by the town of Lavis, the garden is next is due to further rehabilitation and restoration. Written by the Comune of Lavis, where the gardens are located. 14


Piana’s Monumental Place

an Michele all'Adige has always enjoyed a strategic location along the north/south axis of the Via Claudia Augusta. Historically, it was located at the confluence of the Adige which flows from the Lake of Resia and the Noce which crosses the Sole and Non valleys. However, in the mid 1800s, the Noce stream was diverted and it no longer meets the Adige at San Michele, but at Lavis, to the south.

Because of its position, the fortified monastery which dominated the town of San Michele assumed a strategic importance from its very beginning. Traditionally it has been said that the funds for the original castle were donated by the counts of Appiano in the Tyrol, to the Augustinian friars of Novacella, an abbey near the town of Bressanone. In fact, the seal of San Michele preserves the symbols of the counts of Appiano – a half moon and half a star!

Display in the Museo di San Michele all`Adige

In the oldest part of the complex, with its characteristic triangular cloister lies the most important local ethnographic museum in all Italy – the Museum of the Customs and Costumes of the People of Trent. It has an outstanding collection of giant water machines and is distinguished by the care and attention given to the agro/pastoral life of the people of Trent. Its displays include many artisanal objects designed and constructed to support their mountain life, their religion, their music and their folklore. Written by Daniela Finardi, Communications Director, Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina.

Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina-San Michele all`Adige

Consecrated on September 20, 1145, on Saint Michael's Day, the monastery was the seat of the Augustinian order until late in 1807. The monks were tasked with the care of souls and the collection of tithes in a group of churches in the area. In addition, they owned large plots of land in the adjoining area. In 1807, upon the death of the last provost, the Bavarian government presided over the dissolution of the monastery, which already had undergone plunder by Napoleonic troops. In 1874, the Tyrolean Diet founded an Agriculture School in the buildings of the ex-monastery. It is now the Edmund Mach Foundation of the Provincial Agrarian School, a renowned center for research and education in the fields of agriculture and environmental science.

The church in the center of this complex is one of the finest examples of Baroque art, with stuccoes, gilding and marble artifacts, along with frescoes and paintings of the school of Giuseppe Alberti.


Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina-San Michele all`Adige


The Great War in the Piana

he First World War, 1914 – 1918, was called the Great War because of its duration, the extended area of combat and its dramatic events. The Trentino was fully involved in it, especially from 1915 on, when the Italian government declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire after thirty years of friendship under the Triple Alliance. As a result, the Italian speaking Tyroleans had the war on their doorstep along a front of more than 300 kilometers, from the Stelvio River to the Marmolada peak, (another 350 kilometer war zone wound down to the Adriatic.) In the Trentino, 25 thousand men left almost instantly for the front. By the end of the war, the number reached 55 to 60 thousand fighting in four regiments of the Kaiserjager, 3 regiments of Landesschutzen, and two regiments of Landsturm. Their destinations were Russian and Polish Galicia along with the Carpathians, fighting against the Russians who had intervened on behalf of the Serbs. In 1915, with the opening of the Italian front in the south, troops were pulled from the North, to the detriment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. More than 11,500 Tyroleans died or were missing in action, and 15,000 were taken prisoner,. This in a population of 380,000! The towns along the border with Italy were evacuated and destroyed and the population displaced. About 75,000 people were moved to camps in Austria ( Bohemia, Moravia and northern Austria) by the Empire and on the other side, 35,000 persons were scattered in various localities in Italy. In total, more than 160,000 people, roughly 42% of the population, were displaced.

The town of San Michele on the Adige found itself on the northern border of the fortified region around Trent, along the main road and the railroad of the Adige valley . It was therefore a strategic location providing access to the valleys of Non and Sole and the Tonale Pass. At 3:30 in the morning on August 1, 1914, after a warning telegram on July 31 , the town of San Michele received from a military aide, a mobilization order for all men between 21 and 42 years of age. Within 24 hours, they were to present themselves at their respective enrollment centers, along with a community official. This official was also responsible for the delivery of wagons and previously picked livestock (oxen, horses and mules) with sufficient food and forage for at least 5 days. The first trains left Trent during the first week of August. By the end of the year, there were many dead


and wounded, as well as missing in action, and prisoners. These last did not make it back until 1919 or 1920, some via China, Siberia and the Indian Ocean. That first year of war was just mass slaughter!

Some facts about San Michele and Grumo: Of secular importance at San Michele was the Agrarian Institute, founded in 1874 on the site previously occupied by the Augustinian Institute which had been closed down in 1807 by the Franco-Bavarian authorities upon the Napoleonic invasion. This complex – the only one of its kind in the area - was the seat for the organization of troops, sustained economically by local resources derived from the fields, stables and woods of the region. It was of enormous importance in the war economy during the time of the naval blockade imposed by the Triple Alliance, totally responsible for supplying all the needs of the Austro-Hungarians from food for men and beasts to metals and fabrics. Its wartime task was the collection and distribution of food, beverages, animals both for slaughter and for work, forage, and every sort of metal, including church bells, in order to make cannons. At the end of the war there was the terrible epidemic of influenza, introduced into Europe by the American troops. The disease exterminated more people than the war had, but the number of deaths was kept secret by the censors of the various fighting units. It was the Spanish, neutral in the war and therefore free from censorship, who made this data known to the world. The AustroHungarian maps of 1857 reflect the strategic position of San Michele and Grumo. These maps were updated around 1900 to show the addition of homes, but, the bridges over the Adige were missing,as welll as the Trento-Male` railroad. The bridges had been built, in wood, in 1884 and then in steel in 1909 by the railroad. Written by Marco Zeni, Lavis, Trentino.

The Departure from Trento of our Soldiers to the Russian Front


Family Stories: The Zeni Family

y grandparents came from the Tyrol. Raffaele Rudolf Zeni (from Faedo), married Agar Emma Widmann (from Coredo), crossing the Atlantic while Nana was pregnant with my Aunt Ida. In 1904, Rudolph Raphael was born in Clifton, NJ. With baby Henry, the family settled in Garrison, NY, by the Hudson. As new immigrants, they had little money. In time, Grandpa ran a tavern, led an Italian construction crew, worked on the Brooklyn Bridge. Nana raised 3 children and kept house for a German family. The Zenis spoke Tyrolean at home, slowly adding new languages.

The children attended a one-room school a couple miles away. Rudolph, my father, often tuned in to lessons with the older kids, but at age 12, his schooling ended. Grandpa told him to chop firewood. When Rudy had a big pile, he asked to play. “No!” The boy chopped with more anger than caution, cutting a gash in his leg. The wound grew infected, the leg was lost, and school was too far to walk — but his teacher coached the 6th grader for NY’s 8th grade exam. (Dad was proud of that diploma, and determined I’d get an education.)

As a teenager, Rudy set type for the Graymoor friars, and later worked in NYC’s “garment district.” At 38, he married Doris Auclair. I was born in 1945, grew up in suburban NJ. Dad worked downtown, as an import-export agent. He’d talk of faraway lands, showing me the Tyrol (and Quebec) on a globe. So when kids asked, “What are you?” I’d say, “French and Austrian.” “Australian?? You’re a kangaroo!” At Teaneck High, I began studying French and German. My Italian best friend also took German. Since we were always together, Dad invented a multilingual game of “telephone”: Mom would whisper a line to me in French; I’d pass it to my friend in German; she’d whisper it to Dad in Italian; then he’d

Jane Zeni & Marco Zeni in Faedo

Raffaele & Agar Zeni; Children: Rudy, Henry & Ida

recite it aloud in English. Usually, the line got lost, but if Mom concurred, we all won!

Growing up, I had little contact with my Zeni forebears. Nana died young. Grandpa remarried, returned to the Tyrol, died in Mezzocorona (1973). I graduated from Harvard (English), with later degrees in English Education, and 30 years teaching at U. of MO-St. Louis. An early marriage had brought two sons. Born in Santa Fe and adopted as babies, they too have a complex heritage: Adam Pablo is Hispanic; Mark Hosteen is Navajo and Kenyan. We chose middle names to reflect their roots, first names that don’t invite “You’re What???” My enduring marriage came with Owen Vandenberg, of Cape Town, S. Africa. He rebuilt his career as a university teacher in St. Louis. We retired (2007) and today enjoy good health (after surviving a few crises). We love camping and walking in America’s National Parks and in little-known gems. We return to South Africa often, and enjoy grandchildren here and abroad.

Today I also have an extended family in the Tyrol. My cousins discovered me (2000), after a long research for Raffaele Zeni’s offspring. Lydia Lusser, her sister Anna Muehlmann, and brothers Beniamino and Antonio Calovi lin the Austrian Tirol/Osttirol; their grandma was Raffaele’s ister. Across the “Sprachgrenxe” in the Trentino live Marco Zeni and his large family. Owen and I traveled to meet everyone in 2002 and in 2007, and we’ve kept in touch, exchanging emails in German and Italian. This summer (2017) we look forward again to visiting our Tyrolean family in Kartitsch, Austria and in San Michele all`Adige, Italy. Written by Dr. Jane Zeni, St. Louis, MO



The Tyroleans of Ouray ith a backdrop as beautiful as the Dolomites, the town of Ouray sits in a bowl surrounded by mountain peaks 12,000 to 13,000 feet in elevation. Founded in 1875 by prospectors looking for gold and silver, it is located at the northern edge of the San Juan Mountain range in southwest Colorado. Ouray County was established in 1877. The region is one of the most mineral rich areas in the United States. By the 1880s, Ouray County’s production of ore made it a leading producer in the state. At first, small operations mined the ore. But by the end of the nineteenth century, large mining companies arrived. Settlements sprang up around the mines which are all but abandoned into ghost towns today. Over 10,000 shafts and prospecting holes were scattered around the county and 175 mines operated. The large mining companies needed miners, and immigrants, needing work and trying to get a foothold in their new country, provided their labor. The county’s population at the turn of the last century swelled to almost 6500, the majority being immigrants.

The word was spread to the men of Tyrol that mining jobs were available. They travelled with Austrian passports but spoke Italian. Many were poor peasants, not miners. Some came from Pennsylvania having first worked in the coal mines. The Revenue Mine, located at 12,000 feet and eight miles from Ouray, employed the most Austrians. Of the approximately 375 men who lived in the Revenue boarding house in 1900, 163 were Austrians. The Revenue shipped 27 million dollars in ore between 1876 and 1940. Mine operators liked the Tyrolean immigrants because they were hard workers and could be paid less. What the Tyroleans found after arriving were almost unbearable conditions. Foremen gave little training to these newcomers. They learned how to mine from their fellow immigrants. They worked long days underground in dark and wet conditions. In 1889, 27 gold and silver miners were killed in Colorado, seven lost sight and hearing, and 200 were maimed. Josie Moore Crum in her book Ouray County Colorado (page 71) wrote the following: “Cave ins or explosions or other accidents around mines and mills were everyday affairs when so many mines and mills were operating. Some accidents were unpredictable. Others were due to lax enforcement of safety rules and little care for just some old foreigners.”


The headstones in the cemetery record the many Tyrolean deaths from accidents, avalanches, cave ins, rock slides, and pneumonia, and silicosis. The exact number who died will never be known. In 1908, Giovanni Bazanella fell 100 feet down a shaft at the Atlas mine. He was 28 years old. Ralph Benasa, 34, died of pneumonia. He left a wife and three children in Austria. Giuseppe Patritti from Corsolo narrowly escaped being buried in an avalanche. Candido Visintin from Romeno died from pneumonia. Because of poor sanitary conditions, a typhoid epidemic hit the Revenue in 1904; John Toncolli, 24, died from typhoid. Father Charles Ferrari, born in Calabria, had the responsibility of notifying the families in Austria and Italy of their loved one’s deaths. In 1901, Pietro Leonardi, after having been Ouray for only two weeks, fell down a mine shaft. At the age of 33, he left Tyrol to help support his family. Father Ferrari wrote the letter to his wife telling her of the accident. Being alone with her six children, his wife had a difficult life. Pietro’s family never knew where he was buried.By World War I, the mines had begun to peter out although some mines have been in operation off and on until the present day. Conditions in the mines vastly improved with mine inspectors insuring safety measures and boarding houses made more comfortable. With a lack of jobs, many of the Tyroleans left the area to find work elsewhere, but some stayed. In the early years, they were separated into neighborhoods in the north part of town.

Fred, Bruno, and Angelo Zanette 1946

They suffered much discrimination being called Wops and Dagos and children were made fun of at school. But they raised families, started business, and became part of the community.

Albert Fedel, whose father came from Bedollo, said of the miners: “They were tough men, good people. Talk about camaraderie. People were very close.” (Colorado Mining Stories by Caroline Arlen, p. 15). His mother Mary Fedel was the step-daughter of Fred Moscon from Revo. Moscon worked in the mines, but he tired of the work and partnered with Henry Zanella selling ice to the town. (This was before refrigerators came into use.) Using a frozen pond north of Ouray, they cut the ice into small blocks, shipped the ice by train to Ouray, and then delivered it to homes. Mary’s father eventually bought the Belvedere Hotel, a rooming house for miners and railroaders. Al Fedel worked at the Treasury Tunnel during the Depression years. Mules were still being used to bring ore out of the mines. Al served in World War II as did his brother Francis. His brother Norman had a construction company. He later opened a Conoco Garage on Main Street. In 1968, Al became mayor of Ouray and served until 1971. His daughter, Pam Fedel Larson, a geologist, is Ouray’s current mayor. Henry Zanella bought the Cascade Grocery Store in 1947 and ran it until 1970.

Others who started businesses were Joe and Christina Bonatti. Joe ran a hotel in Red Mountain, a small community south of Ouray, and served as its mayor. He married Christina Svaldi in 1907. She had emigrated from Bedollo and travelled to Silverton to reunite with her brother. In Ouray from 1926-1928, Christina and Joe operated the Columbus House, a rooming house for miners. In 1937, they bought a building on Main Street and operated Joe’s Pool Hall and the Pick Restaurant.

Rosa Debiasi Zanett, from Cles, and her husband John Zanett owned a building on a Main Street corner. Upstairs, Rosa rented apartments and rooms to miners and old folks. Downstairs, the family ran the Blue Bird Café, and their sons opened a hardware store. Left to Right: Fred, Angelo, and Bruno Zanett Joseph Fellin came from Revo and settled in Ouray in 1898. He saved enough money to send for his wife Serafina. In Tyrol, she was a mid-wife, and Sarafina helped deliver babies in Ouray. Their sons operated a freighting company and later a filling station.

when they went to work in the mines. From 1939 to 1974, their son Leo “Tuffy” Flor was Ouray’s mortician. Dominic Mattivi, from Rignana, worked as a blacksmith at the Idarado and Camp Bird Mines. In 1955, he travelled back to Italy to meet a young woman from Bedolla, Gemma Casagranda, who was a friend of his uncle. They married in Italy. Their daughter Irene taught first grade for 33 years, and their son Dominic Junior is sheriff of Ouray County. Traditions remained important. Several men started a lodge with the Italians called the “George Washington Society.” Along with social gatherings and dances, the society provided money to widows of miners and to their members who became sick or injured. Miners living in boarding houses sang folksongs in the evenings and along with other immigrants from Sweden and Scotland, gave performances during the holidays. Families celebrated the arrival of new babies with christenings and dancing parties. Grandfathers footed the bill. Large processions of bereaved families and friends, travelling by foot for five miles, escorted the deceased to the cemetery after funeral masses. Nonnis gathered for morning mass sitting in the back rows, whispering back and forth. Families left in Tyrol were not forgotten. Their love ones sent letters, money, and packages to the old country.

Wine was an important part of meals and the Tyroleans made their own. Grapes shipped from California arrived even during the Prohibition years. Shipped in wooden boxes, the grapes were trucked up the back alleys at night and word was spread from one family to another to be on the watch. Some crushed the grapes with clean mining boots and fermented them in wooden barrels hidden in basements or sheds. Eating was definitely a tradition. Families claimed secret mushroom spots in the surrounding hills, and they gathered berries in the summer. Women stirred polenta in copper bottomed pans and simmered in broth Canenderli, a type of dumpling made with salami, bread, and onions. They made Luganega sausages using ground pork or deer with spices that reminded them of home. In most homes, Italian was spoken until the first generation passed on. Still, memories and traditions are an important part of being a descendant of these Tyrolean immigrants. Their culture of hard work, ingenuity, and love of family left a wonderful inheritance.

Floro and Marie Flor purchased the Western Hotel in By Gail Zanett Saunders. Gail is the photo archivist for 1916. When first arriving, single men from the old coun- the Ouray County Historical Society and is the co-author try stayed here and then left their trunks at the Western of the Arcadia book Images of America, Ouray. 19

Piana Rotaliana


The Legend of the Basilisk

bushes. When the basilisk woke up he was hungry again. He saw the bucket full of milk and went over to it and began to lick up the milk greedily. How delicious it was! But suddenly he saw another dragon identical to himself right in front of him! Not only did it look like him, but his new friend was also copying all his gestures. How charming of him! When the basilisk turned round, the other Castel Gottardo, set in the cliff, hideout of the dragon turned round, when he Basilisk, with Castel Firmian just below it bent over, the other dragon did the One day, the dragon, who was hungry because he’d had no food for several days, began looking same, when he rolled over onto his back... But this was around for something to eat. He attacked the farmers in the moment Count Ugo Firmian was waiting for! He their fields and soon had spread panic in the town of jumped up out of his hiding place in the bushes and Mezzocorona. The people had to find a way to kill the plunged his sword into the dragon’s belly, the only vulbeast if they weren’t all sooner or later going to end up nerable point on his body. Taken by surprise, the terrible in the dragon’s stomach! But how? Suddenly, from beast gave out one last, enraged groan and slumped to the ground, dead. amidst the desperate crowd rose the voice n the rock face overlooking Mezzocorona there is a large cave. In the Middle Ages, there was a castle inside it known as the Corona di San Gottardo. While its real history is lost in the mists of time, a legend survives, perhaps the oldest in the Trentino. The old castle had already been abandoned leaving only scattered ruins in the cave when a basilisk sought refuge there from the weather. The basilisk resembled a huge serpent, its body covered in impenetrable bony scales, with a pair of powerful wings that enabled it to fly.

of Count Ugo Firmian: "Calm yourselves" he cried, "only the cowardly surrender before having even confronted the danger! Trust me. I will take on the basilisk. Either I will win, in which case we can all go back to our hard-working, peaceful lives, or he will kill me, but that will still give you time to escape. All I ask of you is that you stay hidden in your wine cellars for a few hours. Do you agree?"

Gotthard’s grotto, and eventually arrived at the level ground in front of the cave. Inside, the dragon was sleeping soundly. Very, very slowly, trying not to make a noise, Count Ugo of Castel Firmian crept ose to the entrance of the cave and set down a bucket full of milk with a mirror next to it. Then he went and hid in the

Mural of Knight skaying the Basilisk

With cunning and courage the knight had overcome the basilisk’s brute force and beaten him with just a bucket of milk and a mirror. Victorious, the count hoisted the beast's head high on the rock in a triumphant display to his fellow townspeople. But a drop of powerful poison had fallen through a crack in his armour and slid along the Knight’s arm turning him in an instant into a human torch. When the first townspeople from Mezzocorona arrived at the cave they found only a dead basilisk and a little pile of ashes inside a suit of armour. Written by Irene Coslop, Val di Cembra, Consorzio Turistico of the Piana Rotoliana.

Statue of San Gottardo with Basilik at his feet


Mural of St. Michael slaying the Basilisk


Family Stories: Pete and Fannie

memoir of the faith, the 1915-- on the cusp of the WWI courage, and the adventuralliances precluding Austrian pasous spirit of my ancestors sage from an Italian port. [Of hisfrom the south Tyrol. My toric note, the ship Emma sailed, maternal grandfather, Pietro “Pete” the Stampedia, would be sunk by a Edwardo, was born to Ednenio Cattani German submarine within a year.] and Fostina Menestrina Cattani on June In correspondence, Emma intro25th, 1887, in Quetta. Baptized in duced Fannie to Pete. Determined 1887 and confirmed in 1897, informato secure a better future for herself tion on his early years is sketchy but and her daughter, in late April of included studying for the priesthood-- a 1921 at 29, Fannie boarded the pursuit influenced by Menestrina family Regina d Italia in Genoa (14 knots, tradition. But while Pete possessed a steerage 1900) and sailed for the US. gentle nature, he lacked sufficient Again, conditions were brutal. patience and obedience for the calling. Unwilling to uproot her daughter Pete and Fannie on their wedding day with their He abandoned his studies in the early before she was sure the union would dog Lola 1900s and quickly discovered he was elibe successful, Anna, now 6, gible for military service. His pacifistic nature rebelled remained in Mezzocorona. It would be 6 years before and he served his term in a garrison. After his release, arrangements could be made for Anna’s transition. with no future for an Italian-speaking conscientious Due to mining operations, the Dennison/Uhrichsville objector in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he contacted area of Tuscarawas County Ohio had an enclave of his father’s brother, Alberto Cattani, who had emigrated Southern Tyroleans. Here Fannie reunited with her sister, to Goshen, Ohio in 1897. Alberto sponsored his Emma, her husband Carlos (Charles), and met Pete’s sisnephew’s petition for immigration and secured a job for ter Ernesta, his uncle Alberto, and their spouses. For him in a coal mine. Cleared for immigration, in 1907, Pete, it was love at first sight. Nona died at 89, but nono, Pete, now 20, made his way to Le Havre France and continued to recount their courtship (she was so tiny he booked passage on the California (355’ by 47’, 12 knots, could ferry her on the handle bars of a bike). Married 900 3rd class passengers). Conditions for the March 5th September 21st, 1921, they would have 6 children: Elida sailing were brutal. A little over 2 weeks later, on March (Irene), Sylvia, Clara, Ernesto, Gilberto, and beautiful 21st, 1907, the ship arrived in New York. Pete proceed- Alice who would die in childhood. Life was not easy, but ed to Ellis Island and then to Dennison, Ohio where his Pete and Fannie were bright and resourceful. They uncle now resided. taught themselves English from Elida’s primers. Pete’s My maternal grandmother, Francesca “Fannie” Maria Endrizzi was born in Mezzocorona October 30th, 1892, to Alfonso Endrizzi and Maria Rossi Endrizzi. Blondhaired, blue-eyed and tiny, she was an incurable romantic with a thirst for adventure. Fearless, one fond memory of the Tyrol was the day she flew in a bi-plane. During the Great War, she had a union with a soldier, lost him to the war, and on May 17th, 1915, bore her first child, Anna. To her dismay, in the wake of WWI, control of the Tyrol was ceded to Italy. Despite her minority status as an Italian-speaking Tyrolian, Fannie would forever insist she was Austrian. Worse, now a single mother in the war-torn Tyrol, she found jobs few, marriage prospects fewer. Her sister, Emma came to her rescue. Emma had emigrated to the U.S. from Genoa in May,


garden produced tomatoes, green beans, and a host of other vegetables in profusion. They raised chickens. Fannie canned produce from Pete’s garden and fruit purchased in bushels; her daughters assisted. Frugal but practical, she once purchased “oleo”-- white with a stirin yellow dye packet. She used it, but forever after there was money for butter. She sewed and crocheted. For Pete and Fannie family was the center of the universe. Children and grandchildren crowded the kitchen every Sunday for polenta, meat in rich gravies, canederli and comradery. Truly their finest achievement was a family bond that will remain forever strong. Written by April Stull. Dublin, Ohio


Tomasi -A Tyrolean Family

verytime I think about the origins of my family, I cannot help but feel an inner sense of gratitude toward my parents and grandparents, as well as to all the ancestors that preceded me and offered me a deep connection to my roots and a sense of duty to pass on this tradition. As with many other European family names, the history of the name Tomasi dates back millennia. However, there are three specific features of this name which makes its history very interesting.

Maria & Joseph Tomasi Ceolan

The first is related to the noblest branch of the family, the Tomasi-Leopardi, whose modern representatives are the Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Pietro Tomasi della Torretta and Alexandra Licy Tomasi von Wolff-Stomersee. This branch of the family belongs to the Roman noble family of the Thomasi-Leopardi, and appears to follow the Greek etymology of θαῦμα (thauma), related to “wonder”, “admiration”, and “marvel”. However –and this is the second important feature of this name– it is very difficult to estimate the links between this branch of the family and the northernAlpine Tomasi family. Although “Tomasi” (spelled with only one ‘m’!) is among the most identifiable and traditional names of North-East-South Tyrol, its spelling varied many times through the centuries, most recently due to the process of “ethnicization”: from Rhaetic to Germanic, from Germanic to Roman/Latin, from Ladin/Rhaetic to German and finally (with Ettore Tolomei and the Option für Deutschland between Hitler and Mussolini) from German to Italian. Furthermore, due to the Völkerwanderungen from Scandinavia and other German as well as Celtic areas to Tyrol, some of the Tomasi family names might share completely differ-


ent roots. To provide a quick example of the changes in spelling, we find Tomasi (throughout Tyrol, as well as in Switzerland, Carinthia, and Bavaria); Tomàs/Thomas and Tomàser (Innichen, in Kaltern, Toblach, Bozen, Innsbruck, Kirchbichl, Kitzbühel, Landeck, Reutte, Schwaz); Tomasèt (Urtijëi and Innsbruck); Tomaseth, Thomasöth (Welschnofen, Ellmau); Thomsen, Thomson (Dornbirn, Landeck) and many others, including the Slavic or Slavicized versions Tomašević, Томашевић, Томашевич&Tomaševski,Tomaszewski, Томашевский. Due to the multi-ethnic, mult-lingual and multi-cultural composition of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Of note, all of the names above were Italianized by Tolomei and the fascist regime in Italy in 1923 and subsequentially spelled as “Tomasi” (as usual, the Italian/Latin “i” at the end of the name denotes the genitive case, not the plural). The third aspect of the study of this family is related to the very history of Tyrol. In fact, in 1564 the capital city of (now Welsh) Tyrol, Trent, hosted the famous Council of Trent where, for the first time in Europe the ecumenical law established the use of the cognomen for everybody. Before the council, in most of Europe people were known by their praenomen (first name) or a patronymic. Only the noble families were also given the nomen, indicating the Gens. Throughout the alpine region, and especially in some areas of Tyrol, it is still common to have a fourth indicator, which is generally given either as a patronymic (preceded by von/van/vo) or indicating the geographical area. In my case, my name would be “DaVid Låg Tomasi van Lino za Tütschenhof.” Although this spelling is not used commonly in the Unterland/Piana Rotaliana where my family lives (friends might call me “der David van Lino” or “der Låger”), it is still very common in other areas of Tyrol, for instance is Lusèrn, Bersntol, and Ladinia.

Sorni-Comune of Lavis-Grandmother Pia’s village

A similar thing happens however also to ly”, sometimes jokingly, but also because of first names. Aside from the very obvious the Ånsitz (a small noble house/castle typical biblical reference, my name has been quite of Tyrol and Bavaria) which belonged to my common throughout the history of Tyrol mother’s side of the family for centuries, and and the German, Ladin, Rumantschwhere today my parents, Lino and Rosa, still speaking areas of the Alps. XVI make wine, würstl, and pizza (they like to comcentury.Thus, you might find old spelling bine northern & Mediterranean flavors) and … such as Vid, DagVid, Vider, Da Vid, Davit run the Arts Museum of and Dalvit. In many cases, an “Ålter Mezzocorona/Deutschmetz, called “CRAM” Name” (Older name, as opposite to the (Centro Ricerca Artistica Mezzocorona), cele“Newer names” of Judaeo-Christian bibbrating the 10-year-anniversary this year. The lical tradition) was morphed into a biblical name of the museum originates in the prename for the purpose of baptism. A comRoman (possibly Rhaetic or Celtic) name CårnMy nona-Pia Zatelli Giovannini mon example is the name change of the Crån indicating a castle inside a rock spear, diminutive Doff/Dolf (Rudolf, Rodulf, etc.) in “David” whose root is also found in the name of the town, while since the Historical / etymological reasons aside, it is not the symbol is actually integral part of the castle very difficult for a Tyrolean person whose family still Tütschenhof and stems from the Germanic custom of lives in Tyrol, to research her/his ancestry. My family has identifying a clan or family with a specific rune. Some been living in Tyrol for at least 500 years, and in order to research has been conducted on the name “Tütschenhof find my ancestors I only needed to go the Church ” as well and the predominant position in this regard archives. Not surprisingly, I found other spellings of my identifies the combination of the German word “Hof ” name, together with all the relatives on my father’s side (in our case indicating one of the three most ancient (North & South Tyrol, for instance Oberosler and Ånsitze in the area) and “Tütschen” which generally indiDestefani) and my mother’s (South & Welsh Tyrol, for cates a Germanic element, cognate of the Protoexample Weber and Giovannini).On my father’s side, Germanic *þiudiskaz, itself related to Deustch, Dutch, aside from the strong Tyrolean tradition of serving the Tusk, Deutsch and other words indicating a tribe or a community in the church and as volunteer firefighters “Volk” (cfr. Theodiscus). This origin might also be (although South Tyrol currently belongs to Italy, the explained in the alternative spelling of “Tütsch”/ Union of Fire Departments or Landesverband der “Tuetsch” / “Teutsch”. Other hypotheses are related to Freiwilligen Feuerwehren Südtirols still follows Austrian the word tütschen, either from the German word for the regulations and trains in both Austria and Germany) town Watutino / Tučiai or Vatutinas in the Kaliningrad most of my relatives were woodworkers and winemakers, Oblast or in the German verb for “Egg tapping”, customary during Eastern. As the Tütschenhof used to be the only Mill in town during the Middle ages, and offered food and shelter to the local population, this last interpretation, albeit not very precise, is still a memory of mutual collaboration and help in the traditional customs of Tyrol.

My nono-Laager Sagewerk Mario Tomasi

in fact my father’s woodworking company had seen five generations of Tomasi honoring this ancient Tyrolean tradition. Similarly, on my mother’s side wine was also a very important part of the family tradition, although my father still refers to them as “the noble side of the fami-

Written by Dr. Låg David Tomasi, University of Vermont


David Tomasi and his son Lucas


Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect # 15

talian or Dialect? What did our people speak? There are easy answers but some very complicated history. There have always been distortions and misrepresentations as to who we were and what we did. Italy as a nation did not come into existence until roughly 1861. What is simply called Italy was just simply and solely a collection of city states…each with their own quasi-language or dialects. Most of the south belonged to the Regno delle Due Sicilie; the middle of the Peninsula belonged to the Pope, a papal state and governance while the North had a variety of jurisdictions e.g. the Veneto. Beginning in 1848, there was a movement to “unify” these city states and create a nation…We were the Tyrol, the Welsch Tyrol, the Sud Tirol. We were not a part of this effort of “unification” since we had a historical different identity and… our own unity. Beginning in 1000 we were a feudal state of the Prince Bishop of Trento and Bressanone…for a total of 800 years followed by the Hapsburgs or the Austrian Hungarian Empire., a total of 1000 years totally apart. To enter the newly “unified” area of this newly created nation of Italy, we needed a passport. In 1918, the Tyrol was eliminated and annexed to Italy by the chicanery of President Wilson and the Allies without a plebiscite!!! But who spoke what and where? Dante gave a start to a form of “Italian” along with his fellow Tuscan bankers. When the “unifying” effort attended to “unifying” the regional dialects, they looked to Manzoni who wrote the Promessi Sposi in the Tuscan tongue. The Tuscan parlance won out over another author” Goldoni, a Venetian…Tuscany won out over Venice…So you had…La lingua Toscana nella bocca Romana…The Tuscan tongue in the Roman mouth (its pronunciation). In 1861, with “Italy unified” (we were already united for centuries to the Principato and to Austria-Hungry!”), a mere 2.5 % spoke the standardized Italian. We had an exceptional circumstance. In 1774, while almost all of Italy was illiterate, Maria Teresa of Austria imposed a reform on the Tyrol obliging its citizens to have 5 years of schooling so that the Tyrol continued to speak their dialects with the ability to revert to Italian as did my mom and dad when encountering an “Italian” in NYC. In my 2 or 3 annual trips to the now Trentino, I am sometimes challenged by some…who say in either Italian or dialect…Lou, you speak Italian, ergo you are Italian…My response is simple and irrefutably historical, I speak English but I am neither a Canadian, nor an Australian nor British. 97% of our emigrants arrived here prior to the annexation and did not have the experience of Irredentism nor Fascism. Had the Abyssinians taken over the Tyrol in 1919, it would not make us Abyssinian…but we would remain who we were… Americans with a Tyrolean heritage. In fact, being regarded either as a scholar or an eccentric, they speak to me in perfect Italian and I respond: Scolta… mi no capiso il talian, parlame in dialet se no parto” I do not understand Italian (not really true), either speak to me in dialect or I am out of here. Hence, the Filo` simply brings to you the sound and shape of the language of our people, replete with their thoughts and sentiments.


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. The Italian equivalent will not be cited. These words and nomenclatures are derived from the dialect around Tione. Rocol Bait Cacia Corno Volp Petiros Cavriol

Bird blind Mountain hut Hunting Horn Fox Robin Mountain goat

Taola Bacheta Selvagina S-ciop Scalz Ciaciador Bala

Animal foot trap Stick Game Rifle Rifle Stock Hunter Bullet

Cana Rifle barrel Cartuccia Cartridge Balin Gun pellets Bosolo Cartridge case Bird trapping tools Archec Bird trap Ciaf Key Laza Tight string

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



The Parolot crafts the Polenta Pot


Editor’s note: Polenta was made in a copper pot and placed over an basin had reached 10 inches wide , 4 inches deep, the open fire or inserted into a hole on top of wood burning stove. The parolòt trimmed the irregular edge. It worked further hole was created by removing concentric iron rings from the surface with iron pincers. #6 At this point, the parolòt would of the stove to enable the pot to be totally immersed and surround- reheat 6 basins of copper and placed them inside other. ed by the stove’s fire. Then, holding firm with pincers, he worked them all with y grandfather (nono in our dialect) would the drop hammer or drop press. #7. He thus obtained 6 say that polenta must be made on a wood deep basins 5 ½ inches deep. #8 He would then take 12 burning fire.That which is made on a gas such basins and once again placed them within each or electric stove is simply other. To keep them not polenta! The polenta that one buys together, , he would bend the edge of the pre-made and simply needs to be heated basin of the largest. Again he pounded away is unimaginable. Polenta is only made on with the drop hammer.#10 Finally, he would wood burning fire!!!If some spark winds cut the edge with the shears and would obtain up in the polenta…even better!Nor is basins 11 inches wide and 7 inches deep. The polenta made in whatsoever pot! Do not work with the drop hammer was done. The even mention a pressure cooker!!! My parolòt who then take a long wooden mallet nono, born in 1896, had clear ideas and and bent the edge of the basin down. So he clearer opinions! Polenta should only be formed the rim. #11 Then he reheated the cooked in a paròl, of clay…or better of basin and with the wooden mallet, while he copper. But how does one make the continued adjusting the form of the basin’s Parolòt paròl…????? Today, the paròi (plural of bottom and the sides. He would then place paròl) made in a factory but once it had been made by the basins over night in a barrel with a solution of water hand with copper.The parolòt (coppersmith) was the and sulfuric acid. Finally, he would place the basins on craftsman that worked with copper. Using copper, there first anvil.#12 On this anvil, he beat the bottom using a were crafted utensils of different shapes and dimensions: very long iron hammer. With the bottom completed, he pails, pots, coffee pots, roasting pans, cake tins, molds beat the side on yet another anvil.#13 This hammering and huge cauldrons to make cheese. In his work place, rendered the copper more durable and more smooth. At the parolòt had a huge smelting furnace fueled by coal. this point, , the parolòt cuts a round iron rod and bends Into the smelting furnace, he placed ingots of copper as it to form a ring. This ring had the diameter of the basin. well as scraps and scraps of copper. Above all, he placed The parolòt placed the ring to the rim and then bent the in the furnace old as well as irreparable copper contain- flange in a way to cover the ring. #14 Now only the haners #1. paròi and pots were repaired several times before dle was missing. For the parolòt two junctures of the substituting them with new ones. When the copper in handle, the ramaio took a sheet of copper, rolled it and the furnace was smelted, the parolòt would take a long bent it round. Then he flattened and punched the ends. stem ladle and would insert the liquified metal into the In the holes, the rivets were fitted to secure the attachforms #2. These were made of clay and ashes formed in ments to the edge of the bowl #15. To make the handle, the shape of cup. They were small or large according to he took another iron rod and bend it to the bow. He the dimensions of the form desired by the parolòt. The passed the end of the bow in the flanges and finally bent form of the paròl was quite small. The ingot had a diam- the bow inwards. The paròl was ready #16. And it was a eter of about 4 inches, a thickness of one inch and paròl that could last for ten years, because the parolòt weighed 4 pounds. #3 Before the ingot cooled, the made the bottom thicker than the sides of the paròl. The parolòt would grip it with tongs and would work it with bottom is in contact with the fire. And then it is on the a hammer. #4 The drop hammer was an enormous and bottom that supports the polenta stick, la trisa when you heavy tool. The hammer of the parolòt was similar to make the polenta. Instead, at the factory, the paròl is that of a blacksmith but its head was longer and narrow- made uniformly with a thick sheet of copper. So they last er.#5 When the copper cooled, it was reheated and for less. worked again and again with the drop hammer. Little by Written by Luca Faoro, Museo degli Usi e Customi della little, it began to take the shape of a bowl. When this Gente Trentina, San Michele all`Adige. 28

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My nona’s paròl

“Parolot” was also the nomenclature for the itinerant craftsman that went door to door in villages to mend pots. There were other ambulatory “menders”: the ombreler, umbrellas; the knife grinder, the moleta, did the same not only in the villages but subsequently throughout Europe and then in streets of our American cities. In the Val dei Mocheni, the krumeri carried on their shoulders a chest with drawers full of needles, thread and other household goods. In the best sense of the word and well before on line marketing and Amazon, they were peddlers facilitating the needs of the contadini. The paròl above on the right was my nona’s. It hangs over my kitchen sink. It was made by a parolòt.. Look out the window to view Maria’s Tyrolean house



Zambana’s Risotto con Asparagi

he special qualities of the alluvial soil of the Piana produce not only the unique Teroldego wine (Tyrolean gold) but also a white asparagus hardly found here in the USA and hardly available in our markets. Since I could get a hold of white asparagus at my local supermarkets and since the Zambana asparagus are truly special. Asparagus Zambana is a completely white asparagus, which has its unique characteristics of the particular soil and climate conditions and the cultivation techniques: delicacy, tenderness and absence of fiber. The first information about the cultivation of this particular vegetable date from the early nineteenth century. Today, as then, the collection is performed by hand or with traditional tools, from late March to late May. Producers in Zambana must respect precise rules to get the trademark of Asparagus Trentino.

The Harvesting of the White Asparagus in Zambana

Ingredients 2 1/2 lbs. of peeled asparagus 1 3/4 cups of Arborio Rice 6 tbs of butter 6 tbs of parmigiano cheese 1 cup of cream Vegetable broth 2 or more cups of wine Onion

Procedure Peel the outer stalks of the asparagus, keeping the tips aside Sautè the chopped onion in extra virgin olive oil. Insert asparagus, adding white wine. In another pot, “toast” the arborio rice in olive oil adding white wine and adding the broth incrementally. Add the chopped asparagus, the cheese rind and the asparagus tips.

Festa degli Asparagi The festa last about two months, from late March to late May. During that time period(usually the first few days of May), in Zambana. (article prepared by Gabriele Christe-Pro Loco Zambana`)

Gabriele Christè & Ruggero Pilati making risot- The Mezzocorona Pro Loco group organizing the to con gli aparagi festivities.


Ruggero Pilati stirring the risotto


The Mountains of the Piana

he Piana Rotaliana is a flood plane situated between the Adige River and the Noce Torrent that descends from the Val of Non. It is renown for its vineyards and its celebrated wine: Teroldego Rotaliano. Teroldego is translated Tyrolean gold. Raising one’s view from the vineyards, one can observe some interesting mountains.

The highest peak is the Paganella Mountain (2105) which has two sides completely different. The side that faces Lavis and Zambana is a high and very steep rocky wall. The other face towards Andalo is a grassy slope.The Paganella Mountain was the destination of first mountain excursion by Trentini. In 1905, Cesare Battisti, a geographer, politician and an Irredentist, with his companion Riccardo Trenti accomplished the first alpine ascent of this mountain, climbing along the Canyon. The Paganella Mountain is also famous for its ski trails. Regrettably, the widening of the ski trails eliminated many trees and the destruction of the grotto, il Bus de Giaz, the Grotto of Ice. In fact, on the Paganella Mountain, there are many caverns and caves, some quite

Sample Cave-Burrone

long like the Grotto Cesare Battisti (2.3 km). Quite visible from the valley below, the great fissure, il Bus de le Grole, that is connected to Cesare Battisti Grotto.

The first refuge on the peak was constructed in 1906, while there ae many Alpine trails along the wide walls of the mountain. Recently, a “via ferrata” was built. A via ferrata is a narrow pathway equipped with a iron cable that the hiker attaches a rope attached to the hikers belt. Such an equipped trail permits even non-professional hiker to enjoy the thrill of the void. Just north of the Paganella Mountain, one finds the Fausior Mountain, a low mountain but wild and pristine. Here too, like on the Paganella, one can encounter a bear, the great predator of the Alps. Not far and close to the village of



Spormaggiore, one finds a Faunistico Centro belong to the Natural Park of Adamello-Brenta that comprises 16 km of the Brenta Dolomites and that of the Adamello terrain, the highest mountain of the Trentino. In these areas, one can observe bears, wolves and other animals. On the Fausior Mountain, there are no refuges but one can pursue very interesting trails. On this mountain, one finds the Grotta della Lovara, 350 meters long. Its name recalls when hunters were trappers of wolves.

The village of Mezzocorona is dominated by Monte, a mountain, “panettone” like accessible by a small cable car which originates from Mezzocorona. It can be reached by foot by a maintained trail. Only residents on the Monte are allowed to arrive by car. The road is very steep and not recommended. As a result, there are very few cars. It is a small “paradise” of pastures, trails along with characteristic hotels which serve a local favorite: torte di patate, a “potato cake” served with typical cold cuts. The excursion up to the top of Monte is sure to offer peace, serenity and a splendid panorama offering a view of 650 meters of the vineyards below. Hikers can ascend the mountain by the Via Ferrata del Burone Giovanelli. The via ferrata permits one to explore an interesting gorge, through which pass a torrent and waterfall. Written by Ricardo DiCarli, Museo della Montagna, Trento

Piana Rotoliana-Paganella


Schutzen: Guardians of the Past

t was February 4, 1982 when 13 persons from Mezzocorona decided to revive the history of the Schutzen of their village. This history stems back to the Landibell (decree) of Maximilian I in 1511 addressed to all the Tyrolean counties/territories to provide war services for the defense of the Empire. The Landibell formed part of the Tyrolean state constitution and thus regulated the organization of the military system. Its validity and updating extended to 1918, until the annexation of South-Welsh Tyrol to Italy. The Schutzen had only one purpose: to defend the territory of the Tirol. There was no intention to conduct a war offensive outside the borders of the Tirol itself.The Association of the Schutzen even today is a group of free citizens defending the Piana’s historical, cultural and moral identity as opposed to the actual and historical and physical defense of the territory. Thus on Sunday, May 1983, the Schutzen Company-“Nicolo` Firmian” of Mezzocorona became the first group to revive in the Trentino suppressed during the period of Fascism. It was only after World War II for other companies to emerge. The first company established in 1950 was the Bund (Federation) of Northern Tirol. In the 70’s, during a period a delicate political period for Italy, the Schutzen activities were suspended due to a suspicion of promoting subversive activities. As this period and climate diminished, the Bund (Confederation) of Southern Tirol (Welschtiroler Schutzenbund-Southern Tirol) was established at the San Romedio hermitage and now shrine and once the pilgrimage destination of Andreas Hofer in 1809. The Mezzocorona Schutzen belongs to this particular association. During the celebrations of that occasion, among the comments there were the following remarks. “While people tend to forget their history, forget their very own roots, we applaud the Schutzen for having recovered and

The Schutzen Company of Mezzocorona

revived the memory of their past because the people who forget the roots of their origins, lose everything.” Hofer (1767-1810), became the very first defender of the Tirol for which he gave his life. Originating from the Val Passiria in today’s Alto Adige, he was the commander of the Tyrolean insurgency. against the invasion of the Franco-Bavarian forces in 1809. He was the emblem of the Tyrolean mindset and the promoter of the ideals summarized in the phrase, “For God, the Emperor and the Country.” Andreas Hofer leading many Schutzen fought for the defense the Tyrolean territories from the invaders. At the command of numerous Schutzen he fought for the defense of the historic boundaries and after a series of initial successes, he managed to save the Tyrolean borders from the invasion of Napoleon's troops. He had to capitulate on November 1, 1809 in the dramatic defeat of Bergisel. He was imprisoned and then brought to Mantova to face a military tribunal. The people tried in every way to get him released, collecting 5000 scudi to release him but to no avail.. On February 20, 1810 he was brought before a firing squad and, with a crucifix adorned with flowers in his hand he uttered his last words: "I stand before Him who created me and standing I want to give him my soul.” To this day, the charismatic character of Andreas Hofer is commemorated in Mantua and at the Shrine of San Romedio in the Val di Non and remains an inspiring example to every Schutzen in the Trentino. It is a disposition suggesting a very strong attachment to one’s homeland, one’s hometown, one’s childhood, and one’s affectionate language. It is indeed these values and attachments that are promoted by the companies of the Schutzen in the face of an indifference to the past or the very denial of what is our history sometimes sorely tested by totalitarian regimes such as Fascism and Nazism who have tried to totally destroy such awareness. We send a warm greeting to all our Tyrolean American friends and paesani...while nonetheless thousands of miles away but joined and united in defending, sharing and promoting our heritage. From our hearts, we thank the Filò for giving us the opportunity to declare the affinity and affection we mutually possess for our heritage. The Schutzen Company of Mezzocorona (Kronmetz-German for Mezzocorona) awaits you either in our or your homelands. Scutzen Heil. We salute our Schutzen! Written by Matteo Permer, Assessore of Mezzacorona, Fahnenleutnant Lieutenant of the Flag.



Genealogy Corner # 3

elcome back to “Genealogy Corner”. In the first two installments, we took a tour of our ancestors’ surnames (cognomi and sopranomi), as well as their first and middle names (nomi). This time, we’re going to look at the challenges of finding your FEMALE ancestors using parish records.

Why am I devoting an entire article to the women in your ancestry? Well, apart from the fact that they constitute 50% of your genealogical heritage, finding information about your great-grandmothers can often be far more challenging than finding out about your male ancestors. This is because women’s names were not always documented as thoroughly as they are today. In fact, sometimes a priest might not record them at all! In this article, we’ll look at what you can generally expect to find in parish records from the 1560s (when they began) to the early 20th century.

Baptismal Records

1500s – The name of the mother of the child is often absent. The name of the father is always given, and the name of the father’s father is frequently given. The father’s frazione (village) of origin is always given. 1600s – The first name of the mother is usually given, but not her surname. Information about the father is the same as what you find in the 1500s. 1700s – It gradually becomes the practice to include the full name of the mother’s father (hence, you know her surname), as well as her frazione of origin, especially if it is different from the husband’s. As before, the name of the father, the father’s father, and the father’s frazione of origin are given. Early 1800s – After 1806, printed templates are used for the parish records, with specific columns for the information. This makes the records far more detailed and consistent. From this point, you will normally find the surnames, fathers’ names and frazione of both parents, but not the mothers’ names. Late 1800s – From about 1880, you will start to see the names of both parents, as well as the full names and villages of origin of both sets of grandparents. Some priests will also list the midwives, and make a note if the child is the couple’s firstborn. Early 1900s – As you enter the 20th century, some priests will also go BACK to baptismal records many years later, and make a notation of the child’s


Was Your Ancestry Somebody’s Godmother? Whenever you scour baptismal records, be sure to check the names of the godparents of every child. As in death records, godmothers are always designated by their relationship to either their father or their husband. Hunting for godmothers helped me discover the first name of one of my great-grandmothers (especially in very early groom. Towards the latter part of the 1800s, you will also start to see the names of the mothers of the bride and groom

Marriage Records In nearly ALL marriage records, regardless of era, you will find the full names and villages of origin of the fathers of both the bride and the groom. Towards the latter part of the 1800s, you will also start to see the names of the mothers of the bride and groom.

Death Records Funnily, death records for women often prove more informative than those for men, as they are more likely to describe a woman’s family relationships. For example, a death record for an unmarried woman will typically designate her as the daughter of so-and-so (her father), while that of a married woman will designate her as the wife (or widow) of so-and-so. From the late 19th century, you start to see more rigorous details for both men and women (names of parents, spouse, dates of birth and marriage, etc.). So, don’t overlook death records as a rich resource for finding your great-grandmothers.

That’s all for this edition. I hope you found this article to be useful and informative in your search for your Trentini ancestors. Next time in Filò, we’ll start looking at how to work with parish records, without having to travel all the way to Trento. Until then, if you’d like to read more articles, see my latest research or ask me any questions, I cordially invite you to visit my blog at, and to join our Trentino Genealogy group on Facebook LYNN SERAFINN is an author, marketing consultant and genealogist specializing in the families of the Giudicarie, where her father was born in 1919.


A Tyrolean Genius...

n my on-going reading about of his kinsman Martino Martini, and his newEusebio Chini, I am amazed that so found patron saint, Francisco Xavier. Eusebio few if any realize that he could not wanted to follow the exemplary Jesuit missionhave been neither Italian nor ary Fr. Martino Martini of Mori who left a legAustrian since the whole area was part of endary example of his missionary service in the feudal state of the Principato of Trento, China and became the Father of Chinese a state ruled by the Prince Bishop of Trento Geography. Instead, he was to be sent to New while Italy did not exist and the Austro Spain (Mexico). In the preparation to leave, he Hungarian Empire had not absorbed the experienced travel delays in crossing Europe, Tirol. While Fr. Bonifacio Bolognani is cormissing the ship on which he was to travel and Eusebio Chini with gazing upwards rect that prior to the forced annexation to had to wait a year for another ship While waitItaly, we were 1000 years under “German” sovereignty ing in Cadiz, Spain, his extensive work in astronomy led while many authors have a tinge of racism asserting that to the publication in 1711 of Exposicion Astronomica Chini’s genius was more “German” than “Italian”. Such de el Cometa, an account of the Great Comet of 1680 statements do not understand the complexity of our his- also known as Kirch's Comet or Newton's Comet. It was tory and our culture. Eusebio Franciscus Chinus was discovered by Gottfried Kirch in 1680. Eusebio was able first educated by a high school in Trent staffed by the to chart the comet's course, beginning his observations Jesuits of the German Province. He continued to be in Europe and concluding them in Mexico. He precisely educated by the German Jesuits in Innsbruck, then in charted the position on a daily basis of the route of the Freiburg, Ingolstadt and Landsberg of Bavaria. So what Great Comet of 1680 where it appeared in the sky in can we say about his “genius”. His parents were ordinary November and December 1680 and in January through peasants with possibly no education since it was only in March 1681. Fr. Bolton, Eusebio’s biographer writes… 1774, when Maria Teresa imposed five years of school- For these and his many more accomplishments Father ing on the Tirol. Maybe it was some super charged Chini accepted no personal credit. In the opening pages canerderli or polenta that stimulated his brain but there of one of his books, Favores Celestiales, detailing his is no doubt how he was universally recognized as a math- work and explorations, Eusebio writes "that these new ematical genius by the Princes of Austria and Germany conquests and new conversions are to such an extent due who vied and competed with each other to capture to the celestial favors of Our Lord that they cannot be Eusebio for their universities. The more recent scholars attributed to human forces." and authors reiterate the declaration of his genius in For two centuries, Fr. Chini’s publications were literally regards to his profound mathematical expertise. At lost and now newly discovered. Consider googling Ingolstadt, as at Freiburg, he distinguished himself as the Favores Celestiales, for more details regarding his most promising and brilliant of the students under the work. famous Jesuit geographer, Father Heinrich Scherer. Noticed by all the royalty of Germany and Austria as We move forward in well as his very own religious order, he had a choice to future issues of the make. Would he accept the chair of a scholar at some Filò to consider Fr. university or become an important figure within his own Chini the cartographreligious family? He had, in fact, his choice to make er…the agronomist… between two possible courses of life. He might rise to the organizer…the fame as a mathematician and map-maker under the kind- advocate of his peoly guidance of Father Scherer, to whose teachings he ple. What a man…one always, then and later, awarded praise. Or he might by of us...and truly our diligence and shrewdness advance in the zealous ranks of brother! the Company of Jesus. . But there must have been a leaven of restlessness working in the staunch soul of Eusebio Chini. Before him, moreover, were the examples Chini’s Study of the Kirch Comet


Our Partners are . . .

Alberto Chini - President of Father Eusebio Chini Museum, Segno Italy Alberto Folgheraiter - Author, journalist and specialist in Trentino culture, Trento Tomaso Iori - Museo della Scuola, Rango, Val di Giudicarie Giorgio Crosina-Director - Phoenix Informatica Bancaria, Trento Ivo Povinelli, Director - Federazione Trentina delle Pro Loco e loro Consorzi . TrentoDaniela 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 Alexander DeBiasi - Trentino Sviluppo SpA Verena Di Paoli - Writer, Researcher, Scholar, Terlago Veronica Coletti - Teacher, Bronx, NY Lynn Serafinn - Geneology specialist, Great Britain

Our Contributors are . . .

Francesco Anderlini, Azienda Turistica Piana Rotoliana Dr. Sarah Chauncey, Nanuet, NY Silvia Ceschini, Fondazione Mach, San Lorenzo del Banale Gabriele Christè, Mezzocorona, Trentino Irene Coslop Agenzia Turistica, Zambana, Trentino Luca Faoro, Museo San Michele, Meano, Trentino Daniela Finardi, Museo San Michele, Mezzocorona Leone Melchiori, Mezzocorona, Trentino Matteo Permer, Mezzocorona, Trentino April Stull, Dublin, Ohio Dr. David Tomasi, Colchester, Vermont Gail Saunders, Ouray, Colorado Dr. Jane Zeni, St Louis, Missouri Myrtha Foradori Zierock, Salorno, Alto Adige

Photo Credits

My Maria’s Tyrolean casetta-little house in the corner of our yard

Trentino Sviluppo; Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina; Agenzia Turistica Piana Rotoliano; Alberto Ceolan, Azienda Foradori, Gabriele Christe`,Edmund Mach Foundation, Diego Luchin,Ugo Visciani,Pio Geminiani

Our sincerest thanks to Giorgio Crosina and Phoenix Informatica Bancaria for making the distribution of the Filò possible throughout the United States and Canada

Some Images...

When space needs to be filled, permit me to share some glimpes of “cose mie” regarding my heritage...Here are some of carpentry built in my ancient home in the Val delle Giudicarie using a transformer for my American power tools, a self centering dowel jig and pipe clamps...My bed with my Tyrolean heart set in what was once a stable, a kitchen table, and mini counter stove top.

One of two beds with heart s... here formerly a stable

Table & Cooking area


Cooking counter top

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Profile for Louis C. Brunelli

FILO 2017 Volume15 Piana Rotoliana  

A Journal for Tyrolean Americans - Piana Rotoliana

FILO 2017 Volume15 Piana Rotoliana  

A Journal for Tyrolean Americans - Piana Rotoliana

Profile for cbrunelli