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A Journal for Tyrolean Americans Volume 18



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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 914-734-9644 or submit them by email to Middle-Monti di Nago to the right la Rocchetta, Riva: in the distance, center: Monte Cadria; to the right, Cima Pari`of the Ladrensian Alps. Village is Valle San Felice. - Foto: Lorenza Miorelli



Introduction to the Val di Gresta

he Gresta Valley ( Grestatal in German , is located in the southern part of Trentino (once the Tyrol) located between the Adige valley and the Sarca valley, closed to Mount Stivo (6562 ft.) on the north, to the south by the Loppio plain, to the west by Mount Creino (4265 ft.) and to the east by the mountain Biaena (5249 ft.).

find two other towns Manzano (2263 ft.), Nomesino (2585 ft.). The villages altogether have about 2,000 inhabitants. Val di Gresta is divided administratively into two municipalities: Ronzo-Chienis and Mori

The climate is mitigated by the proximity of Lake Garda , and its south-west exposure benefits from the particular climatic conditions of the lake. In the summer temperatures reach 77-86 ° F , while in winter it generally drops below 0 degrees, even if the snowfalls are less frequent than the other Trentino valleys due to the influence of the mild lake climate. In addition to the favorable climate, the characteristic stepped conformation of the territory enhances agriculture. Walls surround the small fields that are carved out of the slopes making the most of the roughness of the mountain and they are the tangible result of the hard work of local people Currently the valley is famous for the cultivation of organic products, especially potatoes , carrots , zucchini and cabbage : this is why it is called the "organic vegetable garden of the Trentino"

Val di Gresta Village San Felice

This valley differs from the other Trentino valleys because, as its name Gresta also suggests, it is a valley of glacial origin shaped with mountain ridges that give rise to terraces where the various inhabited centers have been developed. It is crossed by the river Gresta, which rises near the village of Ronzo Chienis and which supplies water for the irrigation of vegetable gardens in the middle and lower valleys, ends in the plain of Loppio and flows into the Rio Cameras, which in turn is a tributary of the Adige River.

Like all the valleys of the Tyrol, the Great War came to their lands, villages and families. Val di Gresta directly experienced the drama of the First World War with deportations and with many remnants of the war. Territorial testimonies: military equipment, trenches, fortresses and walkways. On July 31, 1914, following the outbreak of the First World War , mass order was issued for the skilled of the valley. The men between twentyone and forty-two years left to reach the regimental depots, the closest ones were in Riva del Garda, Rovereto and Trento . The Grestani soldiers were sent to fight on the eastern front , in Galicia , Bucovina and Volinia .On July 31, 1914, following the outbreak of the First World War , mass order was issued for the skilled of the years left to reach the regimental depots, the closest ones valley.The men between twenty-one and forty-two

. The Valley progresses starting from an altitude of 400 m above sea level reaching the top of the fields in Bordala (4102 ft.). Driving through the valley from the bottom upwards, the villages you meet are: Valle San Felice (1903 ft.), Pannone (2494 ft.), Varano (3281 ft,), Ronzo Chienis (3281 ft.). On the slope to the east of Mount Monte Biaena overlooking the Valle dell'Adige we

Val di Gresta’s cultivated fields


Cultivated Fields

Child viewing the Lake of Garda from the Val di Gresta

and present the events narrated in Luke’s Infancy accounts. Over the years, in a rotating manner, the students assumed ever different roles in the tableau so that today the roles keep increasing and engaging the adults who were once the original children. It occurs on December 26 gathering people, choirs and various groups from the Valley’s villages concluding with festivities involving roasted chestnuts and spiced wine (vin brule`). The Come All ye Bethlehem gets transformed to Come all ye faithful‌to Ronzo. The valley of Gresta is not only an area with agricultural production but also a tourist area for families and for sportsmen offering innumerable scenic, historical and naturalistic excursions in quiet and suggestive environments (a balcony on Lake Garda) kissed in the summer and autumn months by the hour del Garda breeze that refreshes and purifies the environment. Also interesting are mountain hikes and mountain bike trails and Annual Live Nativity Celebration in Ronzo paragliding flight schools.Today the Valley is considered ed the dividing line between the two fronts. The town of an oasis for the organic horticulture of Trentino, territoRonzo stages an event that parallels the noted Passion ry without industrial and artisan settlements, with roads Play of Oberammergau in Bavaria. For the past 22 years, only relegated to access to the VALLE is proposed as an as an effort to enhance the religious education of their area for a relaxing and regenerating tourism of spirit and children, Virginia Massucci and her fellow catechists cre- body in the name of the tranquility and healthiness of its ated a Nativity tableau. Their students created costumes products were in Riva del Garda, Rovereto and Trento . The Grein Galicia , Bucovina and Volinia stani soldiers were sent to fight on the eastern front , 1915, following the entry into the war of the Kingdom of Italy. The position of the valley was extremely important as it allowed to control the traffic from and to Riva del Garda and towards Rovereto. Moreover the Val di Gresta dominates the Cameras valley , which together with Loppio , constitut-

Rock climbing in Val di Cresta

Cultivated fields


Bike riding along Monte Creino


Trentino’s Garden...

he cultivation tradition regarding field vegetables dates back to early 1900s. The horticultural production was mainly cabbage used for the preparation of sauerkraut. After World War I, there began the cultivation of the potato and mountain cereals. In the 1950` after the World War II in the 1950s there occurred a real explosion in the cultivation of vegetables. With the introduction of carrot cultivation in the 1960s, a productive revolution began, allowing the Valle di Gresta to spring to forefront in carrot production industry at a national level. Carrot cultivation reached 6000 tons in the valley enriching the economies of the villages. In the 1970s, the area of Rovereto, the chief city in the Vallagarina where the Val di Gresta is located experienced a rapid development of industrialization, resulting an abandonment of agricultural activity in favor of employment in industry. In the 1980s, industrialization was in crisis, there was a return of people to agriculture. Since 1986, there began the first production experiences of organic vegetables.

Fields of cabbage

of 2300 tons. The valley has recently obtained the recognition as a recognized and certified biological district. The typical products of the area include summer and autumn vegetables. The marketing of the productions takes place mainly in the specialized bio-markets in Northern Italy. The vegetables grown are: carrots, beets, celeriac, onions, leeks, cabbages, Savoy cabbage, cauliflower, string green beans, borloti beans, chard, celery leaf, red chicory, chicory, lettuce, and other types of vegetables . A traditional production is simply cabbage for sauerkraut. The amount of this production had been recorded until the early 1900s showing a fluctuating trend over time. Now the CRAUTI product obtained from cabbage and then fermented with salt in an anaerobic environment is regarded as a healthy food and is consumed both cooked and raw. At the Val di Gresta consortium there is the traditional cabbage processing factory in sauerkraut while other private companies have been organized to produce this typical acid fermentation product.

The continuation of agricultural production in the area was strengthened by the constructive presence of the Consortium Ortofrutticolo Cooperative of the Val Di Gresta .It linked and associated the vegetable producers with the collecting, preserving, processing and the selling of products. The Consortium currently collects and sells 2000 tons of vegetables which are more than 50% of the Valley’s production harvested from small gardens of 90 producers. These Grestani producers grew their produce from small fragmented plots, supported and defined by stone walls, notwithstanding the difficulty of their roads and the need to mechanize. The Grestani farmers created a sustainable system of organic vegetables that has led to the enhancement of the territory as well as its economy. Currently the organic cultivation of the Gresta valley has reached 70% of the total area with a certified production


possible frauds during the whole production chain.

The product is sold in glass jars or in plastic buckets. The traditional mountain potato accounts for another 25% of total production. The potatoes are harvested in the fall and kept in the company’s lower vaulted cellars without the use of growth retardants or pesticides. Subsequently they are consigned to the Consortium for sale on the market and in stores in specialized cardboard boxes or in nets with description and guarantee of origin of the product. The promotion of horticultural products in the Valle di Gresta started 47 years ago through the first fair market with direct sales of products to consumers in September and October. It had represented the best strategy for publicizing the territory and its typical products. The success of the very first market event involving direct participation of farmers in 1971 was characterized with the slogan DAL CAMPO ALLA DISPENSA "FROM FIELD TO the SALE".All production is obtained by following production protocols that respect strict cultivation rules, controlled by national regulatory bodies that issue product certificates according to European organic farming techniques. In this way, the final consumer is guaranteed the wholesomeness and safety and the provenance of the vegetable, avoiding

Written by Gabriele Chistè , Agronomist, Horticultural consultant, Edmund Mach FoundationSan Michele all'Adige

Cultivated fields


Castel Frassem...

he ruins of the castle of Nomesino, also called "castel Frassem", recalls the lordship of the Castelbarco family and the war between the Visconti of Milan and the Serenissima (Venice). In the war, which broke out in 1439, Guglielmo di Lizzana, Lord of Nomesino, sided with the Visconti and attacked the Venetians who were barricaded in Rovereto. He was defeated and his possessions were destroyed. The castle of Nomesino was devastated in April 1440. Even the village of Corniano, which depended on the castle, was burned. At the end of the fifteenth century, a plague epidemic at gave the village the definitive blow. Corniano was abandoned because it was considered a cursed land. In the summer the farmers came back to cultivate the land. Today, some houses in the village under Mount Biaena have been rebuilt. Some houses open in the weekend or in the summer months. From the Adige valley and the plain of Mori, the villages of Nomesino and Corniano are not seen, as they are shielded by the cliffs and terraced slopes of Bazee and Zéle that protect them from the south. It was a natural defense, already exploited by the Romans when they built the Bordom-Lenzima road. The farmers of Corniano cultivated wheat and other cereals in the deforested fields above Mont'Albano. At the time of harvest, they would carry their sheaves up a thousand meters of steep slopes to Corniano. Now someone has planted a vineyard, howsoever experimental. The site is sheltered from icy winds from the north but the altitude exceeds the traditional threshold of vine cultivation. Either he is a foolhardy or has found a magic potion, perhaps abandoned by the three witches who according to a legend would have had a house nearby. Castel Gresta & Frassem

Written by Alberto Folgheraiter, author, Journalist 7


Family Story: Benedetti-Graziola

his story is about my father, insisting on all peasants Lodovico, and my maternal being educated. An interestgrandfather, Domenico, who ing fact is that in 1917 when emigrated to the U.S. in differmy parents married, my ent years, from different sides of the same mother became an alien, as mountain in the Sud-Tyrol. Lodovico my father was not a citizen Carlo Benedetti (dei Nadai =clan name) until 1924. Therefore, she was born in Chienis (then pronounced was required to get her own Cheneess), Val Di Gresta, Austria in 1892. citizenship papers. At the He emigrated to America in 1910, and died end of World War I, in in North Adams, Massachusetts in May of 1918, the Austrian 1970. Domenico Graziola was born in provinces of Bolzano Castellano, Vallagarina, Austria in 1856. (Bozen), and Trento (Trent) He first travelled to the United State in were won by Italy. This 1884, after having worked in France. He occasion automatically conmarried my grandmother Alice Chouniere ferred Italian citizenship on (Sweeney) in 1886. At the time Lodovico’s both of my parents. I have Margaret’s Baptism in the arms of her mother Mary; her father trip started, there was a shortage of oppor- Ludovico (sitting); Lisa & Moderato Mazzucchi (standing) 1919 often wondered where my tunities for persons of the Austrian ‘peasparents and grandparents ant class’ to work to support themselves and their fami- met their spouses. The paesani from Tirolo formed a lies. His relatives had worked to pool together enough society called “Societa` Tirolese di North Adams e dinmoney for his voyage. I often wonder how he came torni”. The members helped one another by contributing down the mountain, found the Port of Genova and how dues used for medical services. The society was also an he felt leaving the village. He joined other paesani, from opportunity for social gatherings at members’ homes. I the Tirolo, who had preceded him. They first worked in remember some affairs were held in my parents’ kitchen. Burlington, Vermont, in a hotel. Some of the paesani, They sprinkled cornmeal on the linoleum floor to make including Lodovico, were cooks and railroad workers. In a dance floor and some of the members and non-memaddition, Lodovico delivered bottled soda for a soda bot- bers came and played different instruments such as the tling company. Unlike the immigrants who went to the accordion and mandolin. They called these events mines, many of the Tyrolean immigrants went to the “Kitchen Rackets”. New England states. Though many settled in Vermont, my father, and a number of other Tyroleans, settled in Not all families kept correspondence with the relatives at Massachusetts, specifically North Adams, in the home through the years. I am very fortunate that my Northwestern part of the state. Claiming a Tyrolean father did. We have enjoyed meeting and visiting with my identity was more complex than simply claiming an father’s sisters and their children. We have enjoyed Italian or Austrian identity, as noted in Bonifacio exchanging visits with their grandchildren and greatBolognani’s book “A Courageous People from the grandchildren.( The emigration continues with the marDolomites”:“A strange situation hindered the immi- riage of my cousin Renato’s daughter, Marisa with Tim grants from the Trentino, making life more difficult for Caffrey whose grandfather, Severino Benedetti, came them then for other ethnic groups that arrived at the from the same village.) My children and their Tyrolean same time. Though they spoke no German and were second cousins continue to exchange correspondence, Italian by language, they belonged to the Austrian empire emails, phone calls and visits. and held Austrian passports”. Considering themselves Austrian, or Tyrolian, they did not settle in cities as did Written by Margaret Benedetti Davenport-Westborough, most Italians. A search for their identity was difficult”. Massachusetts My father always considered himself Austrian and he was very proud of it. My understanding is that this pride came from the fact of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 8


The Rites of Spring... ntil a few years ago in the Alpine Tyrol area, one of the first spring rites to occur was “trato marzo”, the call of March. The “trato marzo” rite is celebrated the first three nights of March or the last two nights of February and the first of March. On this occasion, a group of the oldest boys (I coscritti) gather on the on hill above the town and light big bonfires. From these locations, they shouted joking remarks including the announcement of

rogation" took place on the feast day of San Marco, April 25, and was the first great propitiatory procession of the spring. But it was abolished by the Second Vatican Council because it came from a Roman rite not linked to San Marco. The processions route includes staging points, marked by way side shrines or crosses that indicated the border between locations. The way side shrines were adorned with embroidered tablecloths, flowers and candles. Often times the processions were also made to keep a vow, to celebrate a solemn feast in honor of a saint or a Madonna in a precise place with a fixed date. Almost always, the festival included a procession involving the local community singing songs and chanting prayers along the processional route, carrying a cross or a statue, with colorful banners specific to the local communities. Many processions are no longer practiced and have been abolished over time by the Church, since at the conclusion of the religious rite, there was a bit of merry making which had been judged negatively by the church.

Young men performing the trato marzo rites

real actual couples, other potential couples of the village or other possible relations among the inhabitants of the village. Everything was accompanied by songs and shouts of joy as well as the lighting of firecrackers as a sign of celebration. At one time, to amply the shouting, wooden megaphones or funnels were used. Each village had its own song or poem with which it acknowledged the couples.

In Holy Week, preceding Easter, one could instead attend the ritual of the tying of the bells that were muffled (engropade…a dialectal expression indicating the “tied bells”) from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday, when they were unmuffled (desgropade, the dialectal word for untied bells) at the singing of the Gloria of the Mass. To

During the spring, throughout the Alpine areas, there was the widespread practice of the rogations accompanied by processions. The “rogation days” included processions and were days of prayer, and formerly also of fasting, instituted by the Church to appease God's anger at man's transgressions, to ask protection in calamities, and to obtain a good and bountiful harvest. These religious processions were very widespread in all the Alps. The rogations involved the blessings of the fields, which served to wish a successful outcome of sowing and harvesting, to avoid hail, frosts and other natural disasters.

The week of the Ascension is also famous as the week of the Rogations or Week of the Cross. The “rogational cross” was carried in procession through the fields. Three rogations were celebrated and are still celebrated today on the three days before Ascension Thursday; hence, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the Ascension feast. With the reform of the liturgical calendar, the Ascension was moved to Sunday. The "major

Procession with crucifix


announce the Mass and at other times of the Holy Week liturgy the functions the bells were then replaced by the clatter of “raganelle” which were solid wood clappers, rattled by the children, who ran through the streets of the town to call people to church services . In the churches, the children would anxiously awaiting the order of rattle them (tenebre services) that simulate the shaking of the earth and the thunder at the death of Christ. Written by Daniela Finardi-Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina


Gresta’s Beloved Ferrer...

ferrer is the equivalent of a and forging iron, shaping new objects blacksmith but then some. He and creating new forms. is also an “iron worker” creatHe remembers how he liked to haming everything from tools, mer hardware for the harness of oxen utensils to decorative objects. Ferro is iron and make small billhooks (agricultural so the nomenclature for the iron worker in tools used by woodcutters); Luigino our dialect is a Ferrer similar to other recounts that he once built 250 of derivatives: the parolot who makes paroi them in just one night! Mr. Armani's ..polenta pots and the careghin…the chair life was certainly not easy and his maker. Iron working was truly a Tyrolean activity was interrupted by the World Luigino Armani craft. The Ladini and the Fassani made War II when Luigi let for the war. iron working or ferro battuto (wrought iron) along with With tears in his eyes, Luigi managed to return home house decorating a special competence that they export- after a tormented journey in, which recalls with tears in ed in their seasonal work and travels in Austria, his eyes. Returning home he starts the job in his forge. Switzerland and Bavaria. The Val di Gresta has a very Indelible memories remain in his mind as when he special, a treasure, and a distinguished ferrer: Luigino recounts that on the day of Holy Mass, he waited outside Armani, a young 97 years old. He represents a 200 year the church, with his banquet of wrought iron objects, the family tradition of ironworking beginning in 1790. Their people and peasants who stopped to buy the tools to be presence is in the Val di Gresta has become a brand…a used in the fields. His professional life is marked by many cherished tradi- works such as gates and monuments built in the villages tion. of the Valle di Gresta. The last major work dates back to Luigino’s ances- 2013: Luigino made an iron trident that was used to dector escaped a orate the historic fountain of Neptune which is located devastating flood in the center of the city of Rovereto. Despite the new in Riva in the millennium, Luigino continued to keep the laboratory Alto Garda, adja- alive: he worked there in fact until a year and a half ago. cent to the Val di And in these years he Gresta. The sur- invited students and visname Armani is truly a Riva/Arco name. His ancestor itors to see with their Armani lost his workshop and moved to the small town own eyes his workshop of Pannone where he rented the forge that had belonged and show them the malto the Castelbarco family, a noble dynasty that had many let, the grindstone, the properties in the Val di Gresta. Thus begins the story if strong hands and the not the fairy tale of the Armani family and their two cen- energy needed to forge tury tradition of craftsmen. . Luigino Armani is only the artifacts from a piece of last in order of time of Armani to dedicate his life to iron. Now Luigino lives quietly enjoying the affection of craft of ironworking. With tenacity, he has continued his his children and grandchildren in the city of Rovereto craft as a real artist, in a time in which the smiths have but when he talks about his work he still has a passion in now been replaced by technology. Nono Armani was his eyes and sometimes returns to Pannone to spend Luigino’s mentor and teacher. Nono Armani used to some afternoon in his forge. The work tools and the make hoes and shoes for the oxen serving the needs of workshop remain a heritage…a quasi monument of the the area contadini. The young Luigino Armani began Val di Gresta and of the entire community that will conworking in the forge at ten years old following in the tinue to remember Luigino and pass on to posterity so as footsteps of his father Leopoldo His first simple pro- not to forget the old crafts. Luigino is special life story, duction was making iron marbles as toys for himself and custodian of an ancient work that represents one of the friends. In his early teens, he begins to work daily in the oldest stories of craftsmanship in the Trentino (once the workshop for five years, spending whole days beating Tyrol). Written by Ornella Straffelini-Trentino 10

Ronzo Makes Christmas Come Alive…

While Oberammergau in Bavaria presents the Passion as a staged play with static spectators, Ronzo makes the Nativity alive, a spiritual event, a demonstration involving and engaging the entire village…children, adults, families, choirs, and a variety of local groups. It has been held for past 22 years on the day after Christmas. It was originally designed by Virginia Mazzucchi and her fellow catechists as a religious instruction regarding the birth of Christ as narrated in the Infancy accounts of Luke’s gospel. In the original staging of this wonderful event, the children dressed up to represent the usual gospel characters. The adults who now participate in the Christmas tableau are the same children who began this experience 22 years ago and each year they progressed and rotated to different roles and functions in the activity. Currently more than a hundred people of various ages and with different roles participate in this re-enactment of the Nativity of Jesus, creating new scenes year after year to make the representation richer, more engaging and complete. Each year a new born along with his or her parents are selected to represent the Holy Family while choirs sing carols. The wonderful community gathering concludes with roasted chestnuts (castagne) and vin brule` (traditional spiced wine). To our readers…O Come all ye Faithful…..O come yee, O come yee to Ronzo!!! 11


Il Bosco...the Woods

he territory of the ancient Tyrolean communities could be divided into four parts: the village, the fields, the woods and the pastures. The village buildings - houses, stables, barns - and the nearby vegetable gardens were privately owned by individual families. Even the fields around the village were family property. But perhaps, originally, the fields belonged to the community and were assigned in rotation. In fact, in the months between the harvest and the plowing, all the fields had to be open to the common pasture: the livestock of the whole village could graze freely in the private fields. The woods and pastures, on the other hand, were common goods, in the sense that they were collective property. In other words, they did not belong, as it happens today, to the commune or the municipality. They were, instead, an undivided property of the heads of the households of the village. Most of the woods and pastures of the Tyrol were collective properties. The private woods and pastures were few and few also were the state-owned forests. The woods could consist of deciduous or coniferous trees. The broad-leaved woods were at a low altitude and were called "white woods". The coniferous woods were at a higher altitude and were called "black woods". The trees of the “black woods” (spruces, white firs, larches, pines) were of considerable value (especially the larches) because they supplied the building timber to the villagers. Furthermore, timber could be sold at a good price. The money obtained from the sale could be necessary to overcome a difficult moment. A flood could cause serious damage to the woods, could force the community to use this asset and pay a large sum of money. The community then had to ask for a loan and could guarantee part of the forest as collateral. Later, he could sell the timber to pay off the debt. Often the communities decided to completely ban access to a section of the woods. In these sections, it was forbidden not only to cut down trees, but also to cut branches and gather wood or leaves. The trees of these woods were considered a reserve to be used in case of emergency. They were felled and sold only in case of serious necessity. The trees of the “white woods”, specifically the woods formed from deciduous trees, had a lesser value than those of the “black woods” conifers trees. This did not mean that the harvesting was not carefully regulated. In fact, the “white woods” were ever important for the survival of the mountain communities. They supplied fire-


wood, but also wood for processing lime and bricks. From the “white woods” material was derived for the construction of tools: forks, rakes, yokes for cattle; furnishings: bowls, ladles, furniture and means of transport: wagons, sleds, baskets.

For centuries, the issues regarding the forest were decisions by the heads of the village gathered in assembly. Every year or in special circumstances, the assembly assigned to the individual families a certain number of trees to be felled. The number was never more than strictly necessary. On May 26, 1726, for example, three men from Villazzano, a village on the hills near Trento, asked for some trees to rebuild their homes destroyed by fire. The assembly evaluated the request and granted one of the men four chestnut trees and four larches and the other two were granted five larches each "and not one more". This specificity was actually written and emphasized in the minutes. The assembly then carefully checked that the wood was not sold, but used by families for their needs. In fact, the wood was a collective resource and its use had to benefit the entire community and not gain to individuals. The assembly established each year the place where trees could be felled, established how many and which trees could be cut, established the time of year in which the felling was to be done and the way the logs had to be transported downstream. The assembly also appointed the people who had the task of guarding the woods and ensuring compliance with the decisions.

The rules related to the woods were intended to allow the exploitation of an indispensable resource and, at the same time, to ensure its conservation. Thanks to the careful and thrifty management of the woods by the village assemblies, over-exploitation was carefully avoided for centuries. Written by Luca Faoro, Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina

Museo model illustrating the village, fields, woods, forests and the pasturesMuseo degli Usi e co Costumi della Gente Trentina

Fragment of the petition & disposition of the assembly request to feel trees in Villazzano The 26th of May of 1730. In the assembly of jurors and deputies, in the presence of the mayor, three men come to speak of the village of Villazzano, that is, Andrighetto Comini and the sons of Bartolomeo Trentini and Francesco Segalla and these ask for permission to cut some chestnut and larch trees for the necessity of their houses, God protect us,burned; therefore to each of them it is granted as follows. First, in Andrigheto Comini are allowed four chestnut trees and 4 larches and not more; they are granted to the Trentini brothers five larches, in addition to Francesco Segalla are granted another five larches and no more

“These woods are referred to as “faggeta” o il “bosco di faggi” or beach-wood. This was the wood used to be burned as fuel in the homes. It was used to create handles for a variety of tools for the home, stable and the farming. It was also used to construct their carts and wagon as well as plowing tools.

These are the Pale di San Martino and its surrounding forests, referred to as a “black forest”. The trunks of these trees were in the past floated down by a succession of rivers and streams all the way to Venice where they were used to build the ships used by the Venetian navies as well as the pilings for the habitations of Venice itself

These are the same “black forest” in the winter. Select trees were used for musical resonance instruments such as violins, violas, and cillos. The wood for the famous violins of Stradivari were procured from these forests. See the article in the Val di Fiemme issue. Go to the website:



Women in the Great War-

uring the First World War, women were already engaged in managing the family and all the details and tasks of the household. With the breakout of the war, they were also mobilized to perform the work and tasks vacated by the men who left for the war and support the morale of the soldiers. Some of the women accepted the war as a calamity while other engaged in protests and others sided to support of the conflict. The women were called to assist and in many cases also to replace the men in a wide range of occupations: many were employed in the war industry, as red cross-nurses providing assistance to the soldiers while yet others made clothes to be sent from home to the front. They worked as agricultural laborers, cooks, doctors, telegraphers, typists, machinists and policewomen, while continuing to perform the domestic tasks that included the care of the noni, the children, the animals, the fields, meal preparation, washing and cleaning‌and the religious education of the children. In some extraordinary cases they also served as combatants. There were few female voices that made themselves heard publicly criticizing governments. Among these few, the Austrian Marianne Hainisch, who in 1914 assumed the leadership of the Peace Commission of the Union of Women's Associations in Austria / Bund Üsterreichischer Frauenvereine. What was more known was the fundamental contribution that women made in the care of injured and sick people, sometimes directly at the front, in field hospitals. However, there were women who served as doctors. There were about 200 in the AustroHungarian army alone. Countess Marie DesfoursWalderode was one such doctor graduating in Medicine from the University of Vienna in 1909. She worked in the Red Cross in Serbia and on the north-east front. before being transferred to the Italian front, where she directed the hospital of San Daniele del Carso from March 1918 until the end of the war. Another Countess, Lucy Christalnigg, a Red Cross collaborator, was one of the first women victims of the war. In 1914 she had to take an ambulance to Gorizia via the Predil pass. Her journey had not been announced so when her vehicle approached the checkpoint in the town of Serpenizza without stopping at the command, the guard gendarme as ordered fired killing her on the spot. In Trento, which had been transformed into a fortress city, the bourgeois Anna Menestrina kept a diary of her

activities and the events of the city during the war. In some women the enthusiasm for the war was so great that they wanted to participate in the fights by pretending to be men. Many were employed as militarized bearers and workers, but some were engaged on the Nurses assisting Austrian Hungarian soldiersMuseo della Guerra front on a voluntary basis to secretly cross enemy lines and gather information. Another woman who distinguished herself for her value in the field was the Austrian Viktoria Savs, who grew up between Arco (Trento) and Merano (Bolzano), who volunteered with her father in 1915. In the years 1916 and 1917 she fought in first line on the plateau of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Here she was decorated several times for merit as having captured 20 Italian soldiers alone. She wore the uniform of the StandschĂźtzen thanks to a special permission of Archduke Eugene, commander of the southwestern front. In June 1915, the sixteen year old Viktoria had asked to be able to accompany her father. Only the officers, however, were informed of her true identity. For everyone else she was the young Hansl. Because of a serious wound that caused her partial amputation of a leg she had to leave the front, but she entered service in the Red Cross, where she was awarded the silver medal for first-class military valor. She died in 1979. In Trento, which had been transformed into a fortress city, the bourgeois Anna Menestrina kept a diary of her activities and the events of the city during the war. In some women the enthusiasm for the war was so great


Victoria Saks

that they wanted to participate in the fights by pretending to be men. Many were employed as militarized bearers and workers, but some were engaged on the front on a voluntary basis to secretly cross enemy lines and gather information. Flora Sandes is often remembered as the first woman who fought to initially volunteer for the British Red Cross and worked in Serbia in the Second Infantry regiment. During the retreat to Albania she remained sepa-

Women dealing with the laundry of the troops-Museo della Guerra

rated from her group and for safety joined a Serbian regiment. She was the first English woman to be officially recruited as a soldier. This was not as rare in the Serbian army. Thanks to the example of Sergeant Milunka Savić and female soldier Sofija Jovanović, female heroism was already well known regarding the Balkan war of 19121913. In the Russian ranks, there were entire female battalions referred to as "Battalions of death"). In the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian combatants, there was instead a Ukrainian Legion of volunteers (Ukrainische Sitschower Schützen). They were comingled with the regular troops and the young women fought from the beginning shoulder to shoulder with male colleagues. These female “legions” were composed of volunteers belonging to ethnic minorities or unrecognized political groups in their homeland, who enlisted in the "enemy" ranks. They were the ones in which women more frequently enrolled under a fictitious identity . This is why it is not easy to estimate the number. After an initial diffidence, there developed publicity that highlighted the value of these stories of female courage. There began appearing in newspapers articles about their exploits. There appeared the story of Stanislawa Ordinska, who

fought under a fictitious name in the Polish Legion. She was wounded, discovered and treated with honors in the hospital for officers in Vienna. In 1915, her heroic deeds ended up in the New York newspapers. The Ukrainian legionary Olena Stepaniwna told a reporter: "Life in war is at every step a real battle for our ideals. And if there is no ideal, there is no warrior.”

A hundred years from those events we can recall the transformations prompted by the war a stage in the process of emancipating women which would be destined to last decades. The war ruptured the behavior patterns and relationships between genders and age classes, as well as between the various social classes. Thanks to the war, structures previously considered unchangeable and hierarchies, distinctions and authorities considered immutable were questioned. The war also caused great changes in women's fashion.The Rovereto War Museum relates this story in their published book "The women, the fashion, the war: the emancipation of women and fashion during the First World War", Between June and July 1914, when the international crisis exploded,, women were still almost everywhere without the right to vote and had no chance to participate or even comment on political issues of the times. Written by Daiana Boller of the Union of Trentino’s Families Abroad

Editor’s Notes

Consider reading the story in Vol 14...Silvia’s Memories of the War. Written by Olga Polli Beltram Rowan, it presents the heroic service of her mother Silvia serving in the Field Hospital in the Val Genoa of the Val Rendena.

There is no written account of another set of women in several valleys e.g. Val delle Giudicarie who lodged and hosted the refugees from other valleys whose villages were being bombarded by the Italian Army during the Great War. Often with their husbands away seeking work in Europe or in the USA or involved in the armies of the Empire, these women maintained their household, noni, children, cattle, fields, food and laundry...and the refugees. They were indeed heroines. We salute them! Many valleys were evacuated to Austria and Bohemia where the women had to improvise a “household” for their families. We salute them too!

The Union of the Trentino's Families Abroad The Union of the Trentino's Families Abroad has been working since 1969 to maintain strong ties between the Trentino-Tyrolean emigrants and their descendants with their homeland. The Union publishes a newsletter in several languages and has a website ( and a very active Facebook page: For information and to request the sending of the newsletter: 15


Family Stories:The Girardelli`s

y mother grew up in a French friends but going to English small village called Valle schools. My dad’s letters spoke of a San Felice in the beautiwilderness full of wild game and fish ful Val di Gresta. As was and his excitement hunting and fishnormal in those days the youth left the ing. He also spoke of how well his village to work in other neighboring sons were doing in school and that we countries of Switzerland and Germany. would be going to university. My mother's two brothers and two sisTrentino immigrants were quickly ters went to work in Lugano area of embraced by the construction indusSwitzerland but she stayed in the village try as solid hard workers trustworthy looking after her widowed dad (my and inexpensive. My dad found work grandfather). In those days fellow as a helper, unskilled construction immigrants in Switzerland got together labor and was able to tolerate the hard Friday nights for camaraderie, friendwork because it gave him time to ship, mutual support and liquid liba- Girardelli Family-1955-Nila Girardelli, on lap-Ivo enjoy his passion for fishing and hunttions My uncle told me that during ing. The immigrants knew each other Finotti-Father: Eligio Finotti one of those Friday evenings in Lugano someone insist- and were willing to help each other assimilate in this ed they can make twice the money in Australia. Not to strange land. This led to the formation of the Trentino be outdone someone else said “I heard you can make club of Montreal of which my uncles and my father were three times more money in Canada”. The decision was founding members. Key things for this club at that time made that Friday night in 1952 that my older uncle would was to continue their sharing of information and supdo the application for immigration to Canada as he was port. I remember during our first 10 years here we the most educated and skilled and he spoke French. always had borders in our house. My brother and I After a year in Canada he was able to provide the finan- shared a room and the second room was made available cial guarantees that the Canadian government wanted to to newly arrived immigrants. sponsor his other brother to come over. In the mean- My mom did everything she could to make sure that we time my mother and father had married and had a couple had a normal childhood. She became the cook for the of rough years as a farming family with surplus crops Boy Scouts for their summer camp to permit us to expemaking for low prices and continued poverty. So the rience the Canadian outdoors. My mom would babysit decision was made to join my mum’s brothers in Canada children of French professionals in exchange for advice and my two Canadian uncles sponsored our family. By and pharmaceutical vitamins and minerals for my brothnow we were four as both my brother Ugo and I had er and I. I can now appreciate the sacrifices that both my been born. The pattern replicated with my mum’s third mother and father made leaving the Trentino (Tyrol) and brother but after two tries he could not tolerate the cold starting a new life in Canada. winters of Montreal and returned to Trentino. I cannot explain the spiritual feeling that overcomes me As I continue my genealogical research, I was offered when I visit the graves of my ancestors in Trentino. Or letters that my mom and dad had written back to their the peace I feel when I first see those beautiful mounfriends in Trentino. There was a stark difference in let- tains on my return visits. We constantly strive to mainters. My mum spoke of the heartache for her family tain our connection to the Trentino using modern techback home and the difficulty assimilating in a foreign nology like email and social media like Facebook and land. In Montreal in the 1960s the immigrants were not WhatsApp. My aunt in San Felice sometimes jokes that embraced by the predominantly French culture and we I know about things in the valley before they do. The were delegated to English schools Immigration in last Girardelli family reunion in 2016 attracted over 200 Montreal was predominantly from the southern part of Girardelli from Canada, the USA, Argentina, Brazil., Italy. There was then a cultural divide between south and France and Germany, all descendants of the Girardelli’s the north of Italy so northern Italians did not live in from Besagno &Valle San Felice. Written by Ivo Finotti, what was then defined as Little Italy. We ended up living son of Nila Girardelli, Port Perry, Ontario, Canada in a predominantly French neighborhood playing with 16

Legends from the Val di Gresta


The Treasure of the Motta Doss

n the cliff of Albano, exactly on the Moss hill, a treasure had been hidden by the Devil himself who also defended it for centuries from the bad guys.Nobody, not even this legend can tell us when and how come Satan had gone and stop the guarding the mythical treasure. The fact is that one evening the inhabitants of Mori heard a great noise, a horrible roar repercussing from one mountain to another, followed by a terrible and nauseating smell of sulfur. At dawn the next day, when the Moriani left home and looked up at Monte Albano, they saw a deep rift in the rock that had not been there the day before. The cleft in the mountain was called Pe `del diavol (dialect for the devil’s feet) because' it was said that from there Satan had taken the momentum to soar into the air and disappear far away.


Montealbano- Cleft in the Mountain referred to as Pe` del Diavol-The Devil’s Footprint

The Cave of Barbaz, the Bearded One

ccording to another legend, in that same canyon, there lived a long time ago, an old man with a white beard, who was nicknamed Barbaz. The canyon adopted his name as well‌the Canyon of Barbaz. He was an evil man and according to the women who gathered for the filo`, he fed on human flesh. He remained up in the heights alone since , because he had to defend the fabulous treasure hidden in the bowels of Monte Albano. The legend further states that even today that if someone has the courage to venture into that canyon, he would find at the bottom of a cave the old man who would reappear from the spirit world and would point out, to the courageous and reckless seeker, the place where the precious casket is hidden. But nobody, thus far, has managed to have all this courage.


The Refugee Bishop

Cave of Barbaz

t the time of ancient Rome the life of Christians was very hard. These first sons of God paid their choice of faith very dearly. They were hunted and persecuted, mistreated and mocked, forced to hide under ground or in the mountains. In 304 after Christ, there came a holy man to Gresta, a preacher, a bishop named Felice. He came seeking shelter from the many persecutions..His voice was sweet and strong at the same time, but above all his goodness, his mild look and the wise advice soon breached the hearts of the inhabitants of the area. They welcomed him as a saint and almost everyone was baptized and embraced the new religion. Large crowds of the faithful gathered in the meadows of Gresta every Sunday to hear the words of Bishop Felice. His popularity did not go unnoticed. One day guards arrived in large numbers surrounding the assembly in prayer, arresting the saint and taking him away. The people were furious but helpless.The prisoner was summarily tried by the head of St. Felice- Bishop and Martyr the guards and sentenced to death; the sentence was immediately executed, after which the body of the saint was thrown into a lime pit. The ministry of the good Felix was of such significance and importance that he was remembered by all the people of Gresta.. His poor bones were recovered and the relics of these bones began to travel around Italy and beyond. His cult was widespread and he remained known as the saint who had chosen this valley to preach the word of the lord. Valley that still bears his name. Written by Verena DePaoli, Terlago 17


The Great War and the Grestani

al di Gresta and Vallagarina were the Southern boundaries of the historic Tyrol which stretched from the Brenner Pass to the little town of Borghetto proximate to Rovereto. These two “border” valleys were surrounded on the East, West and South by the Veneto and Lombardy that had been brought into the Kingdom of Italy. Accordingly and prior to the Great War, Austria to

Our soldiers leaving for the Russian Front in Trento

protect the Tyrol and to anticipate potential hostilities, fortified the valleys with trenches, cutouts, forts and fortifications.

Our people did not watch CNN or have newspapers. They were identified with their villages and valleys and lived challenging lives in their poverty and struggles with their mountainous terrain. They were quite removed and unaware of the politics and polemics of the Trento elite and politicians. In 1914, upon the assassination of Archduke in Sarajevo, Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Emperor Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary had previously entered into a pack… .the Triple Alliance with the newly created Kingdom of Italy that did not include the Tyrol. The Triple Alliance was Italy’s commitment to remain neutral and not join the Entente or the Allies of France, Belgium, Russia and England. Two days after the assassination, Emperor, Franz Joseph, lovingly referred to as “bepo”, issued a call to arms, a conscription of the able bodied men. The proclamation was actually read from the pulpits of the churches.

70,000 men between 21 and 42 years old were conscripted. In the Val di Gresta, the skilled of the valley left for regimental depots in Riva, Rovereto and Trento. The Grestani soldiers were sent to fight on the Eastern front

in Galicia, Bucovina, Grodek, Przemyl, Volinia and the Carpathian Mountains. They were part of the Tiroler Kaiserjaeger(Tyrolean(Tyrolean hunters of the Emperor), Landesschutzen(Protectors of the nation), and Kaiserschutzen( (changed to Tiroler Landsturm in ). In the meantime, while Italy was seemingly “neutral”, they were secretly meeting with the Allies in London bartering their neutrality for territories in the Balkans, North Africa, some Islands and the Tyrol creating the Treaty of London, (April 26, 1915). This secret treaty between “neutral” Italy and the Allied forces of France, Britain, and Russia aimed to bring Italy into World War I. The Allies wanted Italy’s participation because of its border with Austria. Italy was promised Trieste, southern Tyrol, northern Dalmatia, and other territories in return for a pledge to enter the war within a month. Despite the opposition of most Italians, who favored neutrality, Italy joined the war against Austria-Hungary in May. Austria regarded this reversal as a treacherous betrayal. Some specialists that were interviewed regarded this reversal by Italy as “vergognosa” shameful”shameful. Hence in May 1915 with Italy in the war, they became the adversaries of the Tyrol that included the Val di Gresta. Val di Gresta was declared a militarily strategic area since it could control the traffic to and from Riva del Garda and south to Rovereto. It was the dividing line between the two fronts. The Austro-Hungarian forces had planned to situate themselves in Val di Gresta since it was the link with Riva and Rovereto and was well equipped with the aforementioned fortified and easily defensible positions. In addition, the relatively low number of inhabitants (2370) would make the displacement of the population less problematic. On May 26th, 1915 with a 24 hour alarm, the valley was evacuated...These evacuations were humane initiatives that removed the populations from


Tyrolean troops at Santa Barbara shrine-Ronzo-Chienis

Tyrolean troops in the cavity of Seraòm-Ronzo-Chienis

their villages by the Italian army. Val di Ledro, Alto Garda e the Val delle Giudicarie Inferiori had all been evacuated. The evacuations while sparing the lives of the Grestani were a tremendous hardship. They had to give up the cattle to authorities and bring with them a bare minimum of 5 kg. They were transported to Bohemia, Moravia, Mitendorf or Braunau am Inn while few stayed and went to Italy. They were housed in “case di legno,” wooden barracks. Food was scarce as it was throughout Europe. Schools were set up in Italian. Men and women were given opportunities to work in local factories. Illnesses were prevalent yet they knew they had saved their lives.

The Italian army occupied several mountains peaks: Mount Altissimo, Corna Piana, San Valentino, Vignola and Postemone. In October 1915, the Italian Army occupied Brentonico and got control of the Nago-Mori road. In January 1916, Italian troops reached the Val di Gresta occupying the localities of Piantim and Carpeneda. The Gresta theater of war considered secondary for the entire duration of the war. The Italian army had withdrawn troops from the Vallagarina and Val di Gresta since the Isonzo front had become the main front so that the Val di Gresta experienced patrols and small offensives but not the full fury of the war. General Cadorna, the Italian Army`s general, ordered his army not to attempt any new advances but to defend the position they held. Meanwhile the Italians combatants were amassing along the Isonzo River since the Trentino front was of less strategic importance. On May 15, the counter offensive was launched by the Austro-Hungarians on the Italian Front nicknamed Strafexpedition ("Punitive expedition"). It was an unexpected attack that took place near Asiago in the province of Vicenza (now in northeast Italy, then on the Italian side of the border between the Kingdom of Italy and Austria-Hungary. In 1916 and 1917, there occurred 12 battles of the Isonzo in which the Austro Hungarian forces were trying to cut off sup-

plies from the army of the Kingdom of Italy. In particular, in 1917, there ensued the 10th battle of the Isonzo, Caporetto, where the Italian army experienced an enormous set back. 40,000 were killed or wounded; 280,000 were captured while 350,000 deserted.. The 4th of November brought an end to the war and the refugees began returning February 6, 1818. Facing the destruction of their habitats, they felt traumatized. Their homes were devastated and in ruins; the fields were over run in their absence; the cattle had been taken or disappeared; debris was everywhere. The landscape was punctuated by trenches and bomb craters. The timbers of their roofs had been sequestered to build fortifications. The roads were impassable while so much of their woods had been stripped bare. The enormous suffering can be seen in the diary of Cecilia Pizzini of Nomesino that had been destroyed. “ dicono voi siete Italiani ma poco ci importa italiani ho tedeschi basta sia finita e potere tornar al paesello abbondato”. They tell us you

Village of San Felice heavily bombed

are Italians but it does not matter Italian or Austrian so long as it is over and to be able to return to our little village that we had to abandon”.The resettlement was slow and long since they had to start again from scratch. They had to reconstruct their homes, their relationships, recover their fields and their cattle. They had to come to grips with loss of their loved ones, scattered or buried in far off places. It was to be a long and painful road to recovery but their determination to continue and survive was strong and subsequently prevailed. 19

Cecilia Pizzini

Val di Gresta


Corniano’s Ancient Church he sun, which rises behind the Coni Zugna, at dawn on February 5 no longer perfectly, intersects the cross-shaped window of the apse and the corresponding cross shaped window above the portal of the ancient church of S. Agata in Corniano in Val di Gresta. The sun did not move but the days moved with the reform of the Julian calendar (1582) when one night passed from October 4th to October 15th.

Church of Sant Agata-Corniano-Val di Gresta

The chapel of Corniano is a product of the Carolingian times, the time of the dynasty of Charlemagne who had passed through the Tyrol and left his marks. The Carolingian Renaissance was the first of three medieval renaissances, a period of cultural activity of the Carolingian Empire which occurred from the late eighth century to the ninth century and took inspiration from the Christian Roman Empire of the fourth century. The church is part of a cluster of high-medieval rural chapels that were built along millenary paths "in high places, sometimes on ancient remains of pagan memories or on the edge of inhabited places, a solid sign of the nascent spirituality "... It is a simple rectangular hall with a square apse. The one in Val di Gresta is dedicated to Agatha di Militello. She was a young virgin of Catania, Sicily, who lived in the first half of the third century, and was martyred, for her faith, after horrible tortures, on February 5, 251. Although modest in its appearance, the walls are constructed with local stones and strong carved stones of limestone. The chapel has a pitched roof, a gabled facade and a massive quadrangular bell tower. The roof is composed of slate shingles. It was restored for the first time in 1970-1972. A second conservative restoration was carried out in 2006. The ancient Romanesque building (of the IX-X century) was just over half in size of


the current one. Inside there was a holy water fountain from the Carolingian period (today at the diocesan museum in Trento) and a large stone basin kept in a private house. The community of Corniano suffered their Diaspora after the pestilences of the late Middle Ages. The parish church, more than that of Saints Felice and Fortunato at Gardumo, was that of Mori. In the Middle Ages, around nine hundred people lived in Corniano. There is no one left for at least the last hundred and fifty years. Around 1865, the last family, parents and five children, was surprised by an exceptional snowfall. Those of the Manzano took two days to dig a path in the snow. When, finally, they arrived to the chapel of S. Agata they saw a filament of smoke rising from the chimney of a house isolated in the snow. They were cooking a pot of small potatoes, the ones that were usually reserved for the pigs. It was the only food left. They left the cabin with rescuers and sought refuge in the village.

During the First World War, in these parts, there were the batteries of the Austrian army. The population was displaced in the "wooden cities" or wooden barracks of Austria-Hungary where so many of our people from various valleys were housed after being evacuated from their villages to escape the bombardment and hostilities of the invading Italian army. When the town people returned, they found the village all destroyed. They found the villages had become rubble, the fields uncultivated and collapsed. They rebuilt houses and drystone walls to create trellis with great care. These trellised plots of land became their means of survival. Today many fields are uncultivated and abandoned, but the steps of overlapping stones in long lines for two or three meters of height define the landscape and keep it alive.

At the bend of the road, above the village of Nomesino, towards Corniano, a way side shrine dedicated to S. Rocco recalls the cholera of 1856. It was built the following year because the epidemic had reached the border of the village and had stopped there. This episode is celebrated on August 16th, the feast day of St Rocco. Written by Alberto Folgheraiter, author, journalist author of.. �Le Terre della Fatica�

Family Story: Benedetti-Rosà


ike many family stories, February 4, 1911 at St the one about the revAnthony’s church in North enuers and the grappa Adams. The priest served may contain some truth. It seems them breakfast and for that despite Prohibition, my their honeymoon they grandfather, Severino Benedetti, took a trip to Troy, NY - 38 like many Italian immigrants of miles by rail over the that era, preferred to distill their Hoosac and Taconic own grappa rather than go withmountains. They returned out. Fortunately, Severino had to Hoosac Tunnel and both a son and a son-in-law on rented a house from the the police force in North Adams, railroad, paying $4 per Massachusetts. When the revmonth in 1930. Eight chilenuers came to North Adams Family year 1937- Back row from the left are Rodolfo e Dosolena dren were born there (twins), Alma,Henry, William, Livia, Erminia-Sitting are parents on the trail of local distillers, between 1912 and 1925. Severino e Bettina. Mary is standing next to her mother. blood ran thicker than water Like many emigrants of and Severino was alerted in time to hide his still in the that era, Severino insisted that his children speak English hay mound of his barn until his “fiol” and “zendro” on at home, saving the Trentino dialect for those of his genthe police force gave the all clear. eration. Severino Cesare Benedetti was born in Chienis, Austria (now Ronzo-Chienis in the province of Trentino, Italy ) In 1931 Severino was made a foreman, and the family in 1881. Chienis was (and is) a small farming village with moved to North Adams, Massachusetts where they purlimited opportunity and Severino emigrated to the chased a house, barn, and several acres for $8000 cash. United States in 1903, arriving in New York via Le In 1937, Bettina returned to visit her sister in Nago Havre, France. He was bound for co-paesani in western which was, as a result of the disintegration of the Massachusetts with $32 and an Austrian passport. He Austro-Hungarian Empire after the Great War, now part took a job as a trackman with the Boston and Maine of Italy. Soon after her arrival, she contracted typhoid Railroad in the hamlet of Hoosac Tunnel in Florida, fever and died on August 5, 1937 at the hospital in Torbole, near Nago. The sudden loss left the family devMassachusetts. astated, especially my mother who was only 12 at the According to the 1910 census, he lived in a boarding time. She is now 92 and has one surviving sibling, her sishouse run by a woman named Assunta Vivaldi who came ter Alma Benedetti, who is 102 and still lives in the house from a village near Chienis. In the summer of the same with the barn and several acres. year Assunta made plans to go back to visit her family in Austria and she asked Severino if he wanted her to bring Growing up, my mother always insisted that we were him back anything. He asked her to bring him back a Tirolesi, not Italian, and she has fond memories of growyoung lady. And so she did. My grandmother Elisabetta ing up in the Tyrolean community in western Luisa Rosa’ came to the United States with Assunta and Massachusetts and southern Vermont. One memory $30 as a steerage passenger on the SS St. Paul leaving stands out. When the family joined other Tirolesi for picNew Southampton, England on 7 August 1910 and nics at the picnic grounds in Readsboro, Vermont, they arriving in New York on August 13. Elisabetta, or wouldn’t be able to eat until they sang the Austrian Bettina as she was called, was born in Nago, near Riva sul National Anthem. Garda in 1890. She was the daughter of Antonio Rosa’ Written by Tim Caffrey, MD- married to Marisa and Santa Mazzoldi. Assunta had clearly chosen well because shortly after Benedetti from Ronzo-Chienis Bettina’s arrival in Hoosac Tunnel, a request went back to Italy for her baptismal certificate, a requirement for a Catholic marriage. Severino and Bettina were married on



Capus en Bronzom....

long with potatoes, the Capus has always been a close second in the Tyrolean food hierarchy. While potatoes are so high on the Tyrolean cuisine, the cabbage ranks a close second. The cabbage is a “capus” and “capussi” in the plural. This recipe is called cabbage in a large bronze pot...a bronzon. And there is our blessed “krauti”..Sauerkraut which is nothing other than cabbage…capussi treated with salt in barrels, a process of pickling called lactic acid fermentation. Our people seem to salivate when you mention the wonderful couple of polenta con I krauti…polenta eaten with sauerkraut. In Italian, capus is cavolo which can be said as an expression as a “wow” or simply “darn”. Since the annexation to Italy in 1918, to non-Tyroleans or even Trentini, we sometimes have Cabbage production in the Val di Gresta been referred to as “sauerkraut italians” with sauerkraut being reminiscent of things Germanic…In fact, the expression is reminiscent of our history since our people had 950 years of Germanic sovereignty. the 800 years of the Principato and the….of the Austrian Hungarian Empire. This recipe is fresh cabbage made in a pot with pancetta, seasoning and olive oil. Ingredients & tool Head of cabbage 5-10 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Several twists of pepper Salt - 2 grams Lean bacon Procedure Strip the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut in half, and cut out core Cut cabbage in thin strips Cut bacon to small pieces Put cabbage, bacon, salt, pepper, olive oil and water into a pot Cook for 1 1/2 hours. adding water to avoid the cabbage sticking to the pot

Cut the cabbage into small strips

Cook in pot with the bacon, salt, pepper, oil & water

The recipe and its tutorial was the work of Mirko Martinelli of L`Albergo Martinelli. Mirko was my point man working with the Val di Gresta and in Italian..capo squadro, head of the team of the Filo`s collaborators along with his resourceful cousin, Dalila Bececchi who has been the source of so many suggestions and photography. The hotel includes the trinity of Mirko, his dad Gianni e Zia Stella. The cuisine is a family style restaurant specializing in both Grestani dishes and Trentino stables. The hotel is well appointed, proximate to the Lake of Garda and just 20 miles from Trento. 24

Capussi in piatto with a glass of red wine

Hotel Martinelli-Ronzo-Chienis


Genealogy Corner # 6

oday I want to share a few tips on how to recognize evidence of a person’s death when working with parish records (see my previous two articles in this series in Filò for more info on parish records). Recording deaths is often the most neglected detail in a family tree, as it can be all too tempting (if not addictive) to keep adding new people. But unless we have at least an estimate for when a person died, we might accidentally have the WRONG person down as our ancestor, or attribute facts to him/her that belong to someone else. Working with Death Records

Although it became mandatory for all parishes to keep records of baptisms and marriages in 1563, death records began somewhat later. In most parishes I have worked with, these records tend to appear around 1650 or later. And even when they are available, identifying the correct record for your ancestor is not always easy. Death records after 1850 are likely to give the (correct) age and/or date of birth of the deceased, as well as the names of parents, spouse and even the cause of death. But the further back in time you go, progressively less information will appear in death records. Sometimes all you will see is a name and date (although deaths of infants and children were usually recorded with at least their father’s name).

The problem is, without knowing SOMETHING about the deceased, the record could be referring to anyone with that name. You might think you’ve discovered the death record for your 75-year-old 6X great-grandfather, when the record is actually for his 20-year-old grandson. For this reason, before you go diving into the death records, you need to formulate an estimated death date based on evidence you find in other kinds of records. Finding Clues in Marriage & Baptismal Records

Marriage records typically contain at least the names of the fathers (and sometimes mothers) of the bride and groom. If any of these parents were deceased at the time of the wedding, the priest would frequently (but not always!) indicate it in the record.

When the record is in Italian, the name of a deceased parent will be preceded by the word fu (a past-tense verb literally meaning “was”), and if both parents were deceased, their names will be preceded by the furono

(the plural form of the same verb, meaning “were”). For example, say your great-grandfather Giovanni married in February 1880, and you see, “Giovanni fu Antonio e Maria.” You might translate this as, “Giovanni, son of the late Antonio and (the living) Maria.” Although the record does not specify Maria is alive, it is implied because the priest has used the singular form of the verb. Thus, in your tree, you can enter an estimated death date for Antonio of “before February 1880”, and “after February 1880” for Maria. If BOTH parents were deceased at the time, you would see the plural form of the verb, i.e. Giovanni furono Antonio e Maria (sometimes abbreviated as fur.)

Older records will be written in Latin, not Italian. In Latin, the name of a deceased person is frequently preceded by the word quandom (often abbreviated qm, usually in super-script), which literally means “formerly” or “the once”. Less frequently, you might see words like obit or defuntus. While all these same words will appear in baptismal records, if you happen to see the word posthumous before a father’s name, it means he died sometime between conception and the birth of the child. Thus, for his death estimate, you can put something like, “Between January 1880 and September 1880.” Following Up and Recording Your Sources

ANY time you see a reference to your ancestor’s death, it is important to keep updating your estimate until the “window” becomes narrow enough for you to try to find their actual death record. But even if you can only formulate an estimate, it is still CRUCIAL to record (in your tree) how/where you obtained the information. For example, you might put something like, “Cited as deceased in marriage record of son Giovanni (20 Feb 1880).” Otherwise, five years from now, you’ll look at your tree and scratch your head wondering where you got that date. I hope you found this article useful. Until next time, I please visit, and join our thriving 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.



Grappa - Q&A

hroughout the USA, in the Tyrolean communities from New York to California, there was the presence of the revered trinity: polenta, wine…and grappa. The polenta was made in the kitchen; wine in the basement and often furtively but actively…grappa as well. It was our Tyrolean culture that emigrated with our people, a sine qua non that also set our people apart in terms of tastes and culture. Our humble grappa was designated meritoriously as “aqua vitae”, the “water of life” in none other than Latin. Grappa enhanced our coffee while grappa itself was also enhanced with herbs and a variety of berries for both pleasure and curative remedies. It was produced in defiance of prohibition as well as other regulatory restrictions. Mary Keryk who lived in Solvay, NY, our Tyrolean capitol, wrote this in a past issue of the Filo` “My mother recalls Nonna selling “coffee royal "(coffee with grappa) to the rooming boarders each morning for 10 cents a cup. A gallon of grappa sold for five dollars. During the Prohibition era, Nonno's hardware truck doubled as transport for "special deliveries" to local speakeasies. Hidden compartments inside the truck cleverly concealed the potent cargo.”My dad Agostino, brother Nino and I would receive 90 cases of grapes delivered from the Washington market in Manhattan where the Twin Towers were to be built. That evening, Nino turned the wheel to crush the grapes, while set on boxes I pushed the grapes into the tines with a large wooden mallet while Pop smoked a cigarette with a smile supervising the joyful production making wine & setting aside the grapes residue to make our beloved grappa.

While very few of us still make grappa with the simplicity of our forbearers, in the Trentino today, Grappa is now highly protected and controlled. The Grappa Protection Institute of Trentino was born in 1960 from the initiative of five distillers: Bertagnolli, Pisoni, Sebastiani, Segnana and Bassetti. They understood the importance of having rules of self-discipline and quality controls on grappa. Today the Institute has 27 members of whom 24 are distillers and represent almost all of the Trentino production. The Institute has the task of enhancing the typical production of Grappa obtained exclusively from pomace produced


in Trentino and to qualify it with a specific mark of origin and with the inscription "Trentino Grappa". The brand certifies that the Grappa has been produced with Trentino pomace and controlled by specific norms and processes in this way, the Institute offers the consumer the guarantee of a quality certified by the Agricultural Institute of San Michele all'Adige, through laboratory analysis, and by the Chamber of Commerce of Trento. Accordingly, the Institute carries out a supervisory action on compliance with the regulation of self-regulation, recently updated and signed by all the distillers, and promotes at local and national level initiatives and studies designed to encourage the improvement of production and the increase in consumption of Trentino grappa in Italy and abroad Here are Q & A regarding the production of Grappa, prepared by the Institute

What is grappa? Grappa is an alcoholic drink made exclusively by distilling marc.

What is marc?

Marc is the solid residue of skins, pips and stalks which remind after the grapes have been pressed for wine making.

Is there such a thing as pear grappa, plum grappa, apple grappa, apricot grappa, etc?

No! Since 1951, the word GRAPPA has been used exclusively for the distillation or aqua vitae of marc. Since the EFC Regulation n. 1579 came into force, on May 29, 1989, the word GRAPPA has been reserved for the aqua vitae of marc produced in Italy. Therefore, the GRAPPA cannot be used to describe French, German, Austrian, Swiss or other distilled spirits.

How is grappa obtained from the marc? By a process known since memorial distillation.

What is needed for distillation? The apparatus called alembic (still) that has always been used. It is divided into four parts: a boiler (retort) closed with a lid (helmet or drum) connected to a tube (gooseneck or swan) that leads to the cooler (coil) immersed in a vat of cold water.

How does the distillation take place? The retort is filled with marc and water heated to the point where the liquid part “gradually” vaporizes and rises to the drum. The vapor goes through the gooseneck to the cooler where it condenses back to a liquid form: Grappa.

How can the tops and tails be cut and the heart of the grappa be saved?

A master distiller knows that up to a certain temperature the marc only releases bad substances-tops (methyl alcohol, vinegar, etc.) – that have to be rejected. Then the central part comes out the good part called the “heart”, with pleasant flavors and aromas, which is the only part that matters. As the distillation continues other impurities – tails- are produced that also have to be removed. In the subtle game of cutting the tops and tails the master distiller decides the quality of his Trentino grappa. How do you know when the “tops” have finished and the “tails” begin? Only experience and a particularly sensitive nose guide the work of the master distiller. Is the Master Distiller’s job important?



It is the master distiller who chooses the marc and keeps it fresh and fragrant until it is time for distillation. It is the master distiller who checks the working order and cleanliness of the alembic. And it is the master distiller who follows the distillation and decides hen to cut the tops and tales. Only a good master distiller is able to produce a good Trentino Grappa.


Why gradually? As the vapor goes through the marc, it takes with the alcoholic and aromatic part. Not all alcoholic and aromatic substances are able to offer pleasant sensation to the nose and palate. Therefore it is necessary to “separate” the `good` vapor from the “bad” ones and physics helps us to do this. Each component of the marc (about 300 are known)has a different boiling point. These various components have to be separated into different vessels during distillation. This is usually known as cutting the tops and tails and preserving the heart.


The Q & A will be continued in the next issue.

Old Grappa production machine


Nono Giovanni Guerrino Ciaghi

workers .The miners were expelled from iovanni Guerrino Ciaghi the company shacks and they set up a was born on October 15, tent camp near Hasting where Giovanni 1885. His parents were resided. On Easter Sunday, April 20, Felice and Rosa Benedetti 1914, the coal mine owners to suppress from Ronzo of the Val di Gresta. .He the actions of miners' rebellion had two brothers: Angelo (1887) and a deployed a militia to enter the tent camp sister Maria (1891). The Ciaghi family with an armored vehicle indiscriminately owned a small plot of land, two cows shooting with machine gun fire killing and struggled feeding the family. The 19 women, children and miners. . This poverty and misery of all the families of bloody episode is now referred to as the Tyrol in that period led Giovanni and his brother Angelo to emigrate to Giovanni Guerrino Ciaghi & Ludlow Massacre. Later, in the small town of Hastings, Voralberg, a region of the AustroElvira Job Hungarian Empire to work on the construction of the Giovanni met and developed a friendship with Pietro railways. In 1906, he returned to fulfill his military duties Bacca from the Val di Non, who lived in Trinidad, but was. declared unfit. Concerned about his family’s Colorado and was a founding member of the Trinidad poverty, he left for USA managing to raise a small National Bank. Pietro helped Giovanni transition from amount of money for the trip from his relatives. In the coal mining to becoming a restaurateur. Pietro Bacca furspring of 1909 he left Ronzo towards the coveted ther helped introducing Giovanni to his niece Elvira. "Merica" to New York passing through the rigors of After a brief courtship, Giovanni and Elvira were wed on Ellis Island. He took the train and reached Kosset July 11, 1921. Three children were born: Rosy, Felix Tunnel in Massachusets. His first job was Ironwood in Bruno and Louisa Viola. Giovanni and Elvira integrated Michigan. Between 1911 and 1921 Giovanni arrived in well into the local society. Following serious complicathe small mining town of Hastings, Colorado where he tions related to her fourth pregnancy, Elvira died March became a coal miner. His life in the mine was extremely 10, 1926. Giovanni in the grip of deep grief decided to difficult and very dangerous. The coal mines of liquidate his business and left Colorado on October 10, Colorado were notoriously the most hazardous mines in 1926 to return to Europe with his children. Upon returnthe world. There were numerous accidents caused by the ing home, he was very surprised by the changes of the explosions of the gases present in the subsoil. The min- Val did Greta in his absence in the passage of the Tirol ers were badly paid, without any insurance or services. of the Austrian Hungarian Empire to Italy. Between The miners were victimized by the mine owners who 1926 and 1927, Giovanni acquired a hotel in Ronzo. He obliged them to live in coal company wooden shacks was helped by Pierina Martinelli, a girl from the village without living essentials, buy their tools and provisions who assisted in the care of his children and who then from the company stores. These very difficult circum- became his second wife. They moved to the village of stances fostered discontent resulting in strikes and con- Valle S. Felice where they bought a home. Giovanni tinued tensions between the mining companies and the transformed the restaurant on the ground floor of the building into a trattoria, refreshing and renovating the restaurant and the hotel. From the second marriage, there were born Ezio (1930) and Lidio Mariano (1939) nicknamed today the "Mericani". In the years of the Second World War the Trattoria Ciaghi was frequented by many German and American soldiers who found themselves comfortable and familiar with a manager who spoke English well. Giovanni died on 25 July 1949 at the age of 63 and in 1950 his sons Ezio and Mariano opened a bakery that replaced the inn that had lodged his father for several years. Written by Manuela Ciaghi of RonzoVal di Gresta, Giovanni’s granddaughter-San Felice Nono Giovanni & Pierina Martinelli & Children 28


It Has Been Three Nights...

t needs repeating..Do Tirolesi, un coro! Two Tyroleans--one choir. I have heard so many such choirs...not in some Concert Hall but in our kitchen as our Tyrolean paesani and friends visited us..just to stop by or at a Tyrolean picnic. But our Tyrolean sound was not a Neapolitan O Sole Mio. It was the sound of a group or a family...two or more. It was the nostalgic remembering of their mountains, valleys, villages, their courtships, their love stories...and so often the two momentous events: the Great War and their having to leave it all behind. But in this popular repertoire of our people, there were fun songs, comical songs..divertenti..entertaining melodies. This song has no deep meaning. It is simply a playful song about an imaginary pet rooster who gets lost, is sought and is seemingly flirtatious with younger women but not with older ladies. Each line has the playful la-li-le-là. Go to our website: and hear the rendition of “It Has Been Three Nights” by the Chorus: Coro INCANTO ALPINO directed by Maestro Mattia Culmone of Rovereto

It has been three nights that I have not slept

Son tre notti che no dormo la-li-le-là sempre penso al mè galetto la-li-le-là l’ò perduto la-li-le-là, poveretto la-li-le-là l’altra sera avanti dì la-li-le-là ‘l me galeto

lt has been three nights that I have not slept la-li-le-là I think always of my little rooster la-li-le-là I lost him la-li-le-là poor little thing la-li-le-là The other night, just before morning la-li-le-là

A voi done raccomando la-li-le-là, se per caso lo trovaste la-li-le-là con maniera la-li-le-là – lo pigliaste la-li-le-là lo portaste con maniera qui da me la-li-le-là.

To you women, I recommend la-li-le-là If by chance, you might find him la-li-le-là Seize him carefully la-li-le-là Bring him here to me la-li-le-là

Ho girà tuta l’Italia la-li-le-là Una parte d’Inghilterra la-li-le-là ne la Francia la-li-le-là ne la Spagna la-li-le-là, ne la Cina, nel Perù la-li-le-là la-li-le-là.

I traveled throughout all of Italy lla-li-le-là Parts of England la-li-le-là Parts of France la-li-l-là Parts of Spain la-li-le-là Parts of China la-li-l-là Part of Peru`à

Mio galeto l’à ‘n bel canto la-li-le-là My little rooster has a wonderful song la-li-le-là quando vede ragazèle, la-li-le-là When he sees the young girls la-li-le-là ma se ‘l vede le vechierèle But if he sees oldà no ‘l fa più chi – chi – ri - chì. He does not sing any more...chi - chi - ri - chi. Prior to 1917, there had been two distinct choral groups representing two contiguous the communities of Mori and Ronzo Chienis of the Val di Gresta. They were the Coro Monte Stivo Val di Gresta and the Coro Voci Alpine Citta` di Mori. Not only were they neighbors but they shared the same chorus director, Mattia Culmone of Rovereto of the Vallagarina. The Mori choir had been the oldest choral group in the Vallagarina established in 1960 and was noted for its distinquished repertory and truly representing the city of Mori. It has been awarded the prestigious prize from the Italian government: “Foyer des Artistes”. Both choirs performed concerts throughout Italy and Europe. In 1917, the two choirs combined to become the Coro INCANTO ALPINO.under the choir master Mattia Culmone and managed by Marco Ciaghi 29


The Mountains of Val di Gresta al di Gresta is a small valley, located in the southern part of Trentino, not far from Lake Garda. To the north it borders with Mount Stivo, to the south with the village of Mori and Lake Loppio. The main mountains are Mount Biaena (6755 ft), Mount Somator (5308 ft ), Monte Creino (4238 ft) and Mount Fae (3173 ft).

Monte Creino

Monte Creino

On these mountains it is easy to see today some evidence of the First World War, because not far from the border between the Kingdom of Italy and the AustroHungarian Empire. In particular, on the Monte Fae and on Monte Creino you can see trenches and fortifications.

The most important and central mountain is undoubtedly the Monte Biaena, characterized by coniferous and beech forests, frequented by various specimens of wildlife, including the brown bear. The mountain is made up of the younger rocks (20 million years) that can be found in Trentino. On the Biaena side above Ronzo Chienis, between large blocks of an ancient landslide, today covered by vegetation there opens the Giazzera, a natural cavity with perennial ice. This cave was studied in the 17th century by the Danish scientist Niels Steensen

Val di Gresta is known above all for its fruit and vegetable cultivations, with many cultivated meadows and terraces, but it is also a wonderful place for holidays. You can practice many outdoor sports: easy walks or long hikes, mountain-bike tours, gliding (paragliding in the Bordala area) and skiing in the winter. Passo Bordala (1253 m) is one of the main starting points for excursions. From Passo Bordala you can take a flat walk to Malga Somator and continuing, you can climb to the top of Monte Biaena. Along the way there is also a via ferra-

ta. which can only be used by experienced hikers, with adequate equipment (helmet, harness, lanyard and carabineers(A carabineer or karabiner is a specialized type of shackle, a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate used to quickly and reversibly connect components, most notably in safety-critical systems). Another rather challenging via ferrata runs along the walls of Monte Albano, just above Mori. A popular destination for excursions is Monte Stivo (6755 ft), where the shelter of the SAT "Prospero Marchetti" is located. From the top you can enjoy a magnificent panorama, especially on Lake Garda. Another interesting place is Castel Corno, where there is a famous natural climbing gym for free climbers and numerous archaeological sites. In Ronzo Chienis, the main village in the valley, there is a SAT Section to which you can contact for information. Written by Ricardo DiCarli, Museo della Montagna, Trento


Rock Climbing in Val di Gresta



Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect # 18

t could be said that our people here in “merica” were eventually tri-lingual. They spoke their ancestral dialect with the nuances of their individual valleys; they spoke Italian due to the Austrian imposition of schooling until they were 12 years old; and they learned English...sort mother hardly… but just enough to keep the American speaking merchants honest. Here possibly is another linguistic influence referred to in Courageous People of Father Bonifacio Bolognani, our apostle and quasi-sociologist. A strange situation hindered the immigrants from the Trentino, making life more difficult for them then for other ethnic groups that arrived at the same time. Though they spoke no German and were Italian by language, they belonged to the Austrian empire and held Austrian passports”. Considering themselves Austrian, or Tyrolean, they did not settle in cities as did most Italians. A search for their identity was difficult” Although I can both speak and write in dialect due to my family, I am very sensitive to the distinct sound and intonation of our dialect. So I would urge you as I have been doing, just listen to it sound and intonation realizing that those sounds are echoes of your ancestors. Please make the effort to go the website to hear the sounds and nuances of how our people communicated. Website COMPARISONS The importance of comparisons (Beautiful as...;Sleep like…Ugly as…have been from time immemorial the significant way that a linguistic community interprets their realities Bianch com come la nèf Bianch come na pèza Catif come l ai Catif come la peste Strach come n asen Pièn come n óf Pègro come la son Nar d`acòrdo come can e gat

White as the snow White like a rag Bad like garlic Bad as the plague Tire as a donkey Full like an egg Slow like sleep Get along as a cat & dog

Mala` come en sas Lustro come en spèc Miz come l`ùua Content come n mèrlo Dolz come l zucar Vèc come l cucù Zidiòs come le mòsche Furbo come na bòlp

Sick like a stone Shiny as a mirror Soak like grapes Happy as a blackbird Sweet like sugar Old as a coo-coo bird Annoying like mosquitoes Wise as a fox

DIALECT SHOW & TELL La Casa Houses throughout the Tyrol had come features or nomenclatures..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 translate literally it into English. Piantola – small anvil to pound scythe blade Laras –larch tree EXPRESSIONS Cadena-chain Pra – meadow Bon di! Martel – hammer Muc – pile Good day! Fer – generic word for scythe Mucei – small piles Gho sè Cuni – wheel block I’m thirsty Spora – rope latch Vira/vera Gho fam! Ratel – hay net Restrel – rake I`m hungry! Spach –rope Resterer –tines head Tasi e maia! Fen – hay Dent-rake tine Eat and shut up! Preda – stone Fer – iron…scythe blade Bona nòt! Baza de Fen – Fer de segar – “iron” or the scythe blade Good night! Scaiadro –cart bed Brancol – pitch fork Va farti benedir! Caret de man – hand drawn cart Forca – pitch fork Baza –hay tarp Go and get blessed Vira/vera – Ratel – hay net Nemte Sion- scythe handle Coder de legn –wooden stone holster Let’s go! Manach – handle Coder de como –animal horn holster Fa prest Manecia – curved handle Preda- honing whetstone Hurry Up 32

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



I Proverbi:Wisdom Stories

ur proverbs are time capsules of the mentality or the ideation of our people. They reveal the understanding of the weather, their agriculture, their humor, their very morality. They are the oral traditions that affirmed cultural truths and insights of their realities and the norms and principles of both ordinary practical things as well idealized aspirations. As such they are treasures and insights of how our people conceptualized things. It could be said that it was an insight into the soul of the Tyrol. In 1948, I spent 5 months in the Bleggio of the Val delle Giudicarie and saw the villagers finding themselves at the fontana, in the piazza of the church, at their homes where their dialogs were punctuated with the badinage, the exchange of these proverbs. I saw or heard these exchanges when our paesani gather with each other in their homes in New York. I do miss those occasions. I miss the elders who were eager to linger and chat. Now it seems that villages are empty or paesi con I camini spenti…houses with spent chimneys. Everyone seems stressed as if they have become pseudo-urban Americans. Encountering someone, I often hear..I me speta…They are waiting for me as if everyone has become international diplomats.!!! Chi dorme col sol e laóra co la luna, non farà mai fortuna. He who sleeps by day and works by night will never make his fortune

Per star ben bisogna tòr el mondo come `l ven. To live well, take things as they come.

L`ospetal e la preson I e vizini a l`osteria. The hospital and the prison stand close to the tavern.

A taiarse el nas se se `nsanguina la boca. Cutting the nose, bloodies the mouth

Coll`aria della val nos vivef. With the air of the valley, one cannot live. Chi nasce more. He who is born dies.

Grestano Proverbs from Mirko and Dalila of Ronzo

Quei da Gardum(Ronzo), i fa' pu' en doi ca um! Those from Ronzo do more alone than two others.

Se el Stif (Mt Stivo)el ga el capel, o che fa brut o che fa bel.wsa When there are clouds (a cap) on Mt Stivo, it will either be inclement or fair.

Far e desfar l'è tut en laoràr Doing and undoing is all work.

San Biasi fa nèt St Blaise ( February 3)clears the clouds Con gnènt no se fa gnènt With nothing one does nothing

ATTENTION: MOMS & DAD...AUNTS & UNCLES...!!!! If you cherish and embrace your heritage...if you understand the link and significance of being culturally literate to become culturally aware to become culturally identified, then consider registering your children, nieces and nephews for the Filò. There is no charge but the information is priceless... Prompt your children, nieces and nephews, and Tyrolean friends to register either by mail Filò, PO Box 90, Crompond, NY 10517 Fax: 914-734-9644; Phone: 914-739-2313 or on-line at the website: who we are is who we were! 34

Our Partners are . . .

Alberto Chini, President of Father Eusebio Chini Museum, Segno Italy Alberto Folgheraiter- Author, journalist and specialist in Trentino culture, Trento Christian Brunelli. Teacher & Technical Consultant, Peekskill, NY Tomaso Iori, Museo della Scuola, Rango, Val di Giudicarie Daniela Finardi, Communications Dept.- Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina. San Michele Manuele Margini-Phoenix Bancaria Informatica, Trento Ricardo di Carli -Biblioteca della Montagna-SAT, Trento Alexander DeBiasi Trentino Sviluppo SpA Verena Di Paoli.Writer, Researcher, Scholar, Terlago Veronica Coletti, Teacher, Bronx, NY Lynn Serafinn, Geneology specialist, Great Britain Special thanks to Dalila Bececchi of Ronzo along with her cousin Mirko Martinelli and Manuela Ciagi of Valle San Felice. They were exceptional partners in presenting the Val di Gresta. Dalila contributed not only a constant commentary but so many of the images of her valley paesani.

Our Contributors are . . .

Dalila Bececchi-RonzoRonzo-Chienis Marisa Benedetti Caffrey-San Antonio, TX Chiara Bille-APT Rovereto Tim Caffrey- San Antonio, TX Alessandro Ciaghi-Valle San Felice Manuela Ciaghi-Valle San Felice Marco Ciaghi-Coro In Canto-Ronzo-Chienis Gabriele Christe`- Mach Foundation-Ronzo-Chienis Margaret Benedetti Davenport-Westborough, MA Anna Pisetti-Museo della Guerra-Rovereto Ivo Finotti-Port Perry, Ontario, Canada Mirko Martinelli-Ronzo Chienis Stella Martinelli-Ronzo-Chienis Virginia Mazzucchi-Ronzo-Chienis

Photo Credits

Two of my favorite climbing companions: Christian and Justin with me on top of Cima Sera that hovers 6364 ft above our village in the Bleggio of the Val delle Giudicarie Alberto

Ornella Straffelini-Ronzo-Chienis; Dalila Bececchi; Folgheraiter; Museo della Guerra; Trentino Marketing; Alice Russolo; Tommaso Prugnola; Daniele Lira; Alexander DeBiasi; Enrico Genovesi; Bruno Faganello; Andrea Contrini; Guido Benedetti;Anna Pisetti;

Some Images:

My climb to the top of the Catinaccio -Val di Fiemme with Don Martino as my guide.


Filò Magazine PO Box 90 Crompond, New York 10517

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Profile for Louis C. Brunelli

2018 Volume18 Val di Gresta  

A Journal for Tyrolean Americans - Val de Mocheni

2018 Volume18 Val di Gresta  

A Journal for Tyrolean Americans - Val de Mocheni

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