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A Journal for Tyrolean Americans Winter 2013


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 Front Cover: The Crozon di Brenta, Brenta Dolomites


Photos Trentino Marketing S.p.A. - R. Kiaulehn, D. Lira, A. Debiasi, F. Faganello, L. Schneider

Trentino sport, fun and sun.

The Dolomites are all the more beautiful viewed from a mountain refuge after a regenerating hiking in nature. The lakes are all the more magical because they mirror blue skies and green forests. The valley floor is all the more attractive because the vineyards are lovingly tended. All are pieces of the Trentino mosaic: your perfect holiday resort!



Don Guetti: His Ministry

of history and of the current social situation. This, alongside dedicated study of the spirit of the gospel as a message of hope for the poor, proved to be particularly formative for the young student. Seven years later he left the seminary a “man of God” and a “man of the people”, of his people, the Trentino people who had always known that life meant “to work, not complain and accept your fate.” He spent the 28 years of his ecclesiastical career in three communities in the diocese of Trento: eight years in Terragnolo, near Rovereto; then 15 years in La Quadra, in Bleggio; and the last five years of his life in Fiavè, in Lomaso of the Val delle Giudicarie. It was in Terragnolo where Don Lorenzo “perfected” in a sense, the formation of his character and his moral foundations, as well as his grasp of many aspects of the agricultural sector and life. Many insights came from contact with the local community, where he saw the extreme consequences of poverty, hunger and recurring disease. He learned how to walk alongside his flock, sharing the tears and hopes of the people he served.

on Lorenzo Guetti wrote that he was: “born a farmer and always living among farmers, I lived their misery, I knew their sufferings and troubles and tried to help them.” In a few profound and heartfelt words, he depicted his world in which he lived the 51 years of his short life, giving voice to the dedication that prodded him on even during the hard times of the late 19th century.

The small village of Vigo Lomaso in the exterior Giudicarie Valley was what he called home: a hamlet of about 500 residents at the time, nearly all small farmers. He worked the land alongside his father Girolamo and mother Rachele Molinare, as well as his thirteen siblings (he was second oldest), to procure the basic necessities for survival. At a young age he learned first hand the meaning of hunger and poverty, the uncertainty of life for those who depend on the land to scratch out a living and are at the mercy of the weather, in addition to the continual fear of illness and the burden of debt. In short, what it meant to live every day on the verge of falling further into poverty without relief in sight. His family was not alone; the story was the same among the other villagers in Vigo and everywhere in Trentino. He later wrote that “the poor workers of the land were left to their own devices, on the margins of society, and no one gave them a thought except for how to exploit in various and multiple ways the fruit of their labor, thereby confirming the old saying : scarpa grossa porga ogni cossa (cosa), farmers and laborers are born only to serve. Lorenzo Guetti carried these experiences with him when at age 16 he enrolled in the seminary of Trento, to finish in August 1870 at age 23. In this environment of study and prayer, the young Lorenzo came into contact with men were his teachers who were able to accompany his sensibility to social issues with a concrete and open study


At 31, Don Guetti arrived in La Quadra that comprise the four villages of Cavaione, Marazzone, Larido and Bivedo. Full of energy and enthusiasm, he saw the need to live among the people. He worked in the school to make it more welcoming and better equipped; he became interested in the serious issue of emigration from the exterior Giudicarie areas and subsequently from Trentino in general. To stem this tide and offer hope to the local people, he founded the co-operative movement, establishing the first Co-operative Consortium at Villa of the Bleggio and the first Cassa Rurale (Rural Bank) at Larido, in one of the church buildings. Don Lorenzo arrived in Fiavè in 1893 and continued to develop his project, which led to the founding of the Federation of Family Cooperatives (Cooperative Food Chains) and Casse Rurali (Rural Banks), for which he also served as president. Lorenzo Guetti’s boundless physical and spiritual energy and support for the community was cut short only by his early death on 19 April 1898. He had left his mark on the landscape and in the hearts of Trentino people, who had found in him the face of real hope for a better life. Written By Don Marcello Farina


In the Shadow of Charlemagne ust north of Madonna di Campiglio in the Val Rendena is the pass that connects the Rendena to the Val di Sole known as Campo Carlo Magno or Charlemagne’s Field. At first, the north German Emperor’s name may seem out of place in this bucolic Tyrolean valley, but in the 8th Century, the Tyrol hosted a real-life “game of thrones” with the Val Rendena as one of the center stages. After the Barbarian Invasions and the fall of Rome, most of Western Europe lay as a collection of warring kingdoms ruled by various Barbarian Tribes. The Merovingian Dynasty of the Franks established itself in the area that is now present day France and Germany. Meanwhile, the Lombards, who give their name to modern day Lombardy, took advantage of the exhausted Byzantine and Ostrogoths who had fought each other to a stand still in Northern Italy to invade. They managed to dominate the Italian peninsula until the late 8th century through deft diplomacy and military campaigns against the Papacy.

Charlemagne invaded Italy and laid siege to the Lombard capital of Pavia, south of Milan, in 774. However, Desiderius’ son was raising a new army in Verona to break the siege. Keeping a force to maintain the siege of Pavia, Charlemagne lead a force north through the Trentino from Bergamo through the Val Camonica. Next, he lead his host through the Val di Sole and south through the Val Rendena, stopping at Campiglio, Carisolo and Pelugo as shown in the map at the lower left. Although the there are no documents to further detail his travels, it is likely that he continued down through the valley through Tione, crossing into the Giudicarie through Passo Durone and approached Verona through Riva and the coast of Lake Garda. Charlemagne easily dispatched the Veronese force before completing the siege of Pavia. He crowned himself “King of the Lombards” before continuing his military campaigns in Saxony, Spain and Bavaria. Perhaps no person since the Roman Empire did as much to unite Europe into one political unit and to this day, Charlemagne is called the “first European.”

The last of the Lombard kings, Desiderius, tried to maintain control by becoming the Papacy’s official protector and married his daughter, Desiderata, to Charlemagne. Thinking this secured his northern frontier, Desiderius warred against the new pope, Adrian I, in the south. After the death of Charlemagne’s brother Carloman, the widow fled to the Kingdom of the Lombards as Charlemagne seized his lands. In response to Desiderius’ decision to protect Carloman’s widow, Charlemagne rejected his marriage to Desiderata. At the same time, conflict between the Lombards and the Papacy precipitating open war between the Lombards and the Franks.


However, Charlemagne’s impact and influence on the Rendena is well-documented. Legend tells of miraculous works and healings by Charlemagne as he passed through the valley. In addition to Campo Carlo Magno, the memory of Charlemagne’s passage is shown in the Bascheni frescoes in San Stefano in Carisolo known as the “Privilege of San Stefano” (A complete view of the mural can be seen in this issue’s article on San Stefano). Below the fresco is the text of the original document of Charlemagne’s grant to the local bishops. The text describes the conversions of the local “pagans” to Christianity and the construction of many churches

including Carisolo’s San Stefano. In the image below from the Bascheni Fresco, Charlemagne (left) is shown approvingly witnessing the baptism of a pagan attended by the Pope and several bishops. In addition, to Charlemagne’s “Privilege” -- which echoes the grants that would legitimize the creation of the Papal States in central Italy -- many Lombard nobles, seeing Charlemagne’s certain victory, donated their lands to church authorities, including many of the valleys along the path leading to the Val di Sole and the Val Rendena.

architecture of region. One of the most distinctive features is the octagonal dome that can be seen in such buildings such as Trento’s Saint Vigilius Cathedral (Duomo). In addition to buildings in Germany, many similar buildings can be seen in Bergamo, Brescia and other stops along his journey through the Trentino. Charlemagne would return to the Rendena on his path to his coronation as the Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III (the Great) on Christmas Day, 800 AD. Fittingly, Pope Leo is often thought to be the one responsible for the December celebration of Christmas. Written by Christian Brunelli

Charlemagne’s influence can also be seen in the art and


The Carnival Project

he Museo of San Michele all’Adige is at the forefront in the project Carnival Kin of Europe. Its objective is to research the commonalities of Carnivals throughout Europe regarding the costumes, personalities, and the sequence of fear, the dance of the spouses, the satirical masks, the appearance of the plow as a wish for a good harvest and the bonfire, to burn a puppet that representing the Carnival. Go to view images, film clips and documents (the site is in English). Displayed below are some examples of the masks made and used in the Trentino and on display at the Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina



Our Music . . . Girolemin ere is a song that not only presents you with the theme of the moleta, but includes his dialect and the very sound effects of the mola…e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san. The grinding wheel spins making the sound of sin e son la mola. It is is neither history nor romance except that it declares the delight of being a moleta…l`e bon mister en is a good job to have…and I am to be respected..while my father is a moleta and so am I…Girolemin is truly a “Rendener” expression…It refers to a person who embodies the chief characteristic of the moleta’s history…he is wanderer. It alludes to the generational succession of the moleta work in the families. Some words simply cannot be translated into English…not even into Italian. So there is the word for Moleta and is diminutive: Moletin…or little or small Moleta. The music for the song can be found on our website: Girolemin! Girolemin! Me pari 'l fa 'l molèta me fö 'l moletin me pari 'l tira i soldi e me gnanca 'n cinquin, e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san l'è n'arte che consola l'è 'n bon mister en man.

Wanderer! Wanderer! My father is a moleta and I’m a little one too My father earns some money but I hardly 5 cents, And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san. It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have.

Girolemin! Girolemin! Tre soldi de la pipa, tre soldi del tabach anca se son macaco me sü da rispatar e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san l'è n'arte che consola l'è 'n bon mister en man.

Wanderer! Wanderer! Three cents for a pipe, three cents for the tobacco Even if I am a jerk I am to be respected And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san. It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have.

Girolemin! Girolemin! Partì son da montan co' la me mola 'n man giro la mola 'n prèssa per guadagnarme 'l pan'. e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san l'è n'arte che consola l'è 'n bon mister en man.

Girolemin! Girolemin! M' molo par gli omeni e par le done ancor, se po' l'è giovanete ancora pü de cor. e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san l'è n'arte che consola l'è 'n bon mister en man.

Girolemin! Girolemin! Mi pari 'l bif el francol me 'n bil en francolin. Me pari 'l fa 'l molèta me fö il moletin. quant sarà mort me pari sarò 'l moleta me. e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san l'è n'arte che consola l'è 'n bon mister en man. Girolemin! Girolemin!

Wanderer! Wanderer! I left the mountains with my wheel in hand I turn the wheel fast to earn my bread. And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san. It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have

Wanderer! Wanderer! I sharpen for the men e for the women as well. If for the young ladies, I sharpen with more heart And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san. It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have. Wanderer! Wanderer! My father drinks a carafe of wine and I a glass, My father is a moleta and I am a moletin When my father passes away, I’ll be the moleta. And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san. It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have. Wanderer! Wanderer!



The Carnivals . . . ti ani…long ago…and even now as folkloristic celebrations, the Tyrol staged celebratory carnivals that were associated both with Christian celebrations as well as seasonal celebrations that have their roots in pagan pasts.

The word, “Carnevale,” means “so long meat” suggesting a vestibule for a period of abstinence…a Mardi Gras, a Fat Tuesday during which “the world is turned upside down” with an overabundance and indulgence with food and a freedom without rules. Reminiscent of these past customs, just prior to Lent, there are numerous and very different traditions associated with the Carnival. In the Valsugana, the evil Count Biagio is put on trial and sentenced (See Fall Filo` 2012). At Grauno and Romarzollo, there is focus on themes of woodland and forest perhaps simulating the importation of the woodland deities of the ancient Romans. In Valfloriana and Valle di Fassa they wear painted wooden masks. In the Val di Mocheni the rites celebrate the passage from adolescence to adulthood while in other valleys; there are itinerant troupes of dancers performing in village squares. The first of these celebrations replete with colorful masks occur in January on the feast of St. Antony the Abbot, patron of the animals and is repeated several times until Shrove Tuesday.

The notable carnival of the Valfloriana of the Val di Fiemme is itinerant and passes through all 13 sections of the commune from early morning to the evening. The different figures appear one by one… The first to arrive are the matoci with their typical wooden masks, totally disguised, carrying a bell, uttering imprecations. The villagers seek to stop them and engage them in a cross examination regarding their identity and place of origin. There follows the sonadori (musicians) followed by arlechini, the harlequins, clowns with high cone shaped hats dancing to the music of the accordions of the sonadori. They are followed by a procession of sposi, spouses, and The two principal masks of many carnivals are Bufon finally paiaci , clowns who do a mime. This diverse proand Lachè who pass from house to house announcing cession goes from hamlet to hamlet, enjoying vin brule, the celebrations. The Bufon has already abandoned him- mulled wine in each place. self to buffoonery and heralds the dance of the Lachè the big masks. Other times there is a procession with a The masks below can be found at the Museum of Ways and variety of masks and characters: comic figures, i belli (the Customs of the Trentino People. good looking), i brutti (the ugly), i vecchi (the old), the wild men and other frightening figures. Dottoressa Daniela Finardi, Communication of the Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina



Our Cuisine: La Torta Secca

n trying to track down the origins of Torta Secca ( translated “dry cake”), I inquired from friends in the Valsugana, Val Rendena, and the Val di Non. No one ever heard of it…mmmm. I had evidence that it was made in the Val delle Giudicarie since Mabel Riccadonna of St Mary’s, PA and Lisa Brunelli of Brockport, PA had made it for me when I visited with them as did Meri Caliari, Flora Benini, from Greenwich Village in Manhattan, Anna Noemi Paenelli of N. Canton, Ohio. More important evidence for me was my mom, Adele Bellotti Brunelli made for me lovingly. Each and every one of these wonderful paesani and my mom originate from the Bleggio in the Val delle Giudicarie so I was reassured that it had certifiable Tyrolean roots even if only one valley might have made it. This is not unusual since this could be another example of the effetto montagna, the mountain effect…those differences -- food or dialect -created by mountains, valleys, streams. It had another characteristic…it was a confection of the poor who used whatsoever left over (vanzadi) to their benefit. The challenge of so many of the recipes of our people has been that they were not formatted by Betty Crocker…so that you were told…en micol di questo e en micol di quest`altro…a little of this and a little of that ...Ugh! Here is how I demythologized the recipe to enable my children to make it…

Here are the ingredients represented as things easily found at your local super market somewhat pre-measured by their containers. They include: 22 ounce can of plain bread crumbs, 4 sticks of butter, 16 oz can of walnuts, a cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, half teaspoon of salt, two eggs and the rind of a lemon. Grate the lemon peel with a grater. Chop the walnuts by hand or by a food processor and combine the dry ingredients: the walnuts, breadcrumbs, sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Place the dry mixture in a mixer or in a bowl. Melt the butter and pour into the mixture. Mix thoroughly. Beat two eggs and insert into the mixture. Add the magical elixir of ancestors -- grappa or brandy -- the amount to be determined by you. Butter the pan, place the mixture into the greased pans, pressing it down with a fork. Sprinkle some white sugar on top. Cook at 350° for approximately 40 minutes. Cool before cutting it into squares. ENJOY!



Family Stories: The Povinelli’s

atteo Povinelli, my grandfather, first came to the US in 1903 from Carisolo. He was 18 and had already experienced more than most. At the age of 12 he had been sent off with an older man to Innsbruck to learn a trade. After a short period of time he ran away from his master and walked back to Carisolo. In order to cross the Brenner Pass without being picked up by authorities guarding the pass, he took the rim of a wagon wheel and used a stick to roll it as if he was playing with a hoop. By the time he came to America he had become a moleti or grinder. Settling in the NY area, he acquired a mola, the traditional grinder’s push cart, and began plying his trade in Hoboken and Weehauken, NJ. Between 1903 and 1921 he made another 2 trips back to Carisolo. In 1912 he married Maria Vanzo in Carisolo. In 1922 my grandmother was finally able to join her husband in the US, and in 1922 she arrived in NY with their three children, Theresa (8), Lena (my mother 2), and Louis (an infant). Many years later it was determined that the kind man who carried Lena down the gangplank off the ship that day turned out to be my paternal grandfather, Pietro Christe, who came to America on the same voyage. The Povinellis settled in West New York, NJ and had 4 more children, Raymond, Inez, Anne, and Marie. Growing up and surviving the Depression was difficult, but grandpop always provided and frequently brought food home that was given to Maria and Matteo Povinelli him in payment for grinding services. He was a generous man and often sent Louis with a package of food to the large family across the street. Once, when a son asked Louis about this story, he responded with, “Of course we helped them; what the hell do you think we’d do; the Povinellis are good people.”

Anne married Rudolph Maffei, a grinder whose family was from Carisolo. Marie married Herbert Haas, a police chief from West New York. In all, the seven Povinelli children had 24 children. Among these grandchildren the following occupations were embraced: grinders, teachers, business owners, entrepreneurs, home makers, army officers, school superintendents, bankers, TV directors, dental technicians, designers, photographers, emergency medical techs, and firefighters. We all are still immensely proud of our heritage and remember the many family gatherings for polenta dinners with canederlie, venison stews, and all the fixings of our people. The men singing the old Tyrolean songs was always a highlight of those events.

L to R: Lena, Inez, Raymond, Marie, Grandmom Maria, Louis, Theresa and Anne

I should note here that 110 years after my grandfather Matteo began his grinding business from a pushcart, then to horse and wagon, then to truck, M.Povinelli and Sons is still a viable business being run by Louis’s sons, Matthew and Paul. Rudolph’s son, Michael Maffei still runs the grinding business begun by his father, and Jeff DiSimone still runs the grinding business begun by his father in law Henry Cristoferetti. Though I did not become a professional grinder, many happy hours were spent working summers and spending vacations at my uncles’ shop learning about the cutlery business and being taught mechanic’s skills by my Uncle Raymond. My cousins and I frequently talk about how brave our grandparents were to embark on a new life in a new The seven Povinelli children all married in America. country. We also never fail to remember the wonderful Theresa married Alex Maganzini, a grinder and master experience it was to grow up in a family with such a hislocksmith from Giustino. Lena married Mariano Christe, tory. The Tyrolean heritage is unique and wonderful. To an accountant from Lasino. Louis married Ruth Carter, a be part of it is a source of pride, an honor, and a blessnurse from Brooklyn. Raymond married Ada Turri, ing enjoyed by few. The Povinelli story demonstrates a whose family was from Pinzolo. Inez married Henry beautiful and rich success story. Written by Ronald Christe` Easton. Maryland Cristoferetti, a grinder whose family was from Avio. 11


The Saga of the Moleti or centuries, the men of the Val Rendena and the other high valleys of the Tyrol engaged in seasonal migration as a way of life. The harsh winter environment of those valleys offered little opportunity for work or agriculture. Those migrations, beginning in the fall after harvest and lasting through the winter months till the men could return to work in the pastures or fields, took them at first either south into the other states of the Italian peninsula, or north into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the latter part of the 1800’s this pattern of seasonal migration evolved for many of them into one of actual. emigration for several reasons.First among these was the “miseria” caused by great economic depression. It afflicted every valley in the Tyrol. People were literally starving and afflicted by illness, natural disasters, crop failures and infant mortality.

The Rendeneri of the Val Rendena, long noted for their skill as knife and tool grinders and freed somewhat by the invention of the argagn from the difficulty of transporting their heavy grinding stones for long distances, pushed further into the cities of the “new Italy”: Mantova, Brescia and Milano. They went door to door to places of business, restaurants and private homes, pursuing their craft of the “mola” (the grinding stone) to sharpen knives and other tools. They slept where they could and for survival sometimes bartered their services simply for a meal. They pushed further, going beyond the Italian peninsula and the Empire into northern Europe and England, and eventually to the Americas and the world. The large urban populations in those countries offered many opportunities to ply their trade more profitably, but the greater distances also required longer or even permanent residence all`estero as they moved from itinerant craft to workshop based business.

This pattern of migration that evolved into emigration affected all of Tyrol. But the case of the Rendeneri arrotini was uniquely different, involving a hightly skilled trade that could be offered independent of employers. Unlike migrants offering labor as miners or agricultural workers, the grinders could turn a profit. Practicing a skill honed to expert levels by these craftsmen, a network of relatives and friends from a small number of villages in the Val Rendena – in particular Carisolo, Pinzolo, Giustino, Massimeno and Spiazzo – they quickly learned to organize themselves into trade organizations or guilds, thus regulating competition and maintaining a high level of quality with the craft. Especially at the beginning, greatly influenced by the cooperative movement of the same period in the Tyrol, these guilds regulated the trade for both the individual’s and the community’s benefit. They even developed a dialect with their dialect, the Taron, so that they could communicate privately among themselves in any situation. The mobility of the argngan created a real ambulatory work laboratory moving from the village to village, city to city and neighborhood to neighborhood. The mola then moved to a bicycle, a motorized bike, and a motorized moved to a bicycle, a motorized bike, and a


Vancouver, Seattle – even West Jordan, Utah! Wherever there were cities and people with knives and tools to sharpen, there were Rendeneri arrotini ready to do the work with a level of professionalism and honesty for which they became highly valued.

motorized wheel barrel. In the cities, the push carts were replaced with horse drawn wagons. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, the Ford Model further increased their mobility and their craft. These were replaced by vans.In the 1950’s, the moleti began to “rent” the knives, providing their customers with a dual set of knives. They thereby left the streets, worked from their shops and began delivering one set of sharpened knives to replaced another set.

The Moleti had a profound influence on the resurgence and prosperity of the Rendena Valley. The first generation of the Moleti of the Rendena Valley first relieved some of hardships by acquiring income in and through their travels and enterprise that had immediate effects on their families left behind while they traveled. This

At first the immigrants came mainly to New York, but soon their offspring scattered to stake out new routes – in Connecticut, New Jersey and Ohio; Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo, North and South Carolina and Arizona; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, St. Louis, Toronto,

M. Povinelli & Sons, 1950s -- 1960s

exchange intensified with the years as the original emigrant moleti called for and employed their families and paesani. With new means, the Moleti came back and forth to the valley, buying lands and building houses and creating tourist facilities. Many sold their businesses and retired in the Rendena while some even became tour promoters. The descendants of these original moleti turned the work of the moleta into small and large family enterprises and international companies. Others not only sharpened knives but also sold and repaired slicing machines, scales, vegetables slicers, meat grinders and all the different types of tools for a food equipment.

Patrick Grassi - Author and director, of a video-documentary ("Memorie di moleti"), the story of the Knife Grinders who emigrated over the past century from the Rendena Valley to England and the United States, then returned to invest in the valley's tourist boom years of the 60s and 70s. He is researching the new theme of the Road of the Moleti in the USA and would welcome American families to participate in this study. Contact: 13


Madonna di Campiglio rom the middle of the century, Campiglio is a “sanctuary …of tourists”. Yet the name, Madonna di Campiglio, is reminiscent of a Christian sanctuary which drew many of the devout and inspired many gifts. The ancient sanctuary razed to the ground at the end of the 19th century due to the damage that occurred in the fire of 1887 which devastated the first tourist facility that had been built proximate to the monastery of Campiglio. It was rebuilt several times. Franz Joseph Osterreicher, the son of the Emperor of AustriaHungary, Franz Joseph built a new church in 1895. It was a sanctuary notable for the flow of the wayfarers and devotional piety. The monk Raimondo, founder of the sanctuary, built a church, a Madonna del Fico -- Campiglio hospice for wayfarers and pilgrims at the end of the 13th century in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of God “for the salvation of souls, for the welfare of the poor and the defense of the pilgrims and the wayfarers”.The merchants of Giudicarie valleys, Val di Ledro, Arco, Riva and the Vallagarina who frequented the great fairs of the Alto Adige, the passage through Campiglio had fewer tolls and fees while under estimating its dangers. There was a long mule trail that served as an almost impassable passage between Pinzolo and Dimaro through the woods infested with wolves and bears, reeking with predators and assassins while it was impractical in the winter due to the snow and ice.

Hundreds of parchment records from 1207 to 1452, affirm that “Sancta Maria de Campeio” was the most frequented Marian shrine. The community that managed the hospice was composed of both celibate and married people regarded as “confratelli” (confreres). They were directed by a monk Prior to whom they pledged absolute obedience. In 1436, there were 13 monks. The community grew to 20 monks and 5 nuns. In effect, the “lay brothers” became the proprietors of the properties in the valleys around Campiglio. They left their goods to the hospital and in compensation; they were accepted into the community. The Prior would sell their deeded goods and properties and acquired ever more properties around Campiglio increasing the prestige and the strategic importance of their hospice. The importance of the commercial route was critical to guarantee the longevity and certitude of those who entered the hospice, adjacent to the monastery and the hospital. The merchants and the shepherds with their herds and flocks would find rest at Campiglio would leave generous offerings. It was this opulence that threatened the very foundations of the community. The Priors became involved in trafficking in both spiritual things and material goods. Vocations as well as gifts dried up. In 1525, the peasant farmers, angered by the increasing power of the prince bishops, attacked and burned the hospice and the monastery. Restored from the damage inflicted by this rustic war of the peasants, the hospice assumed a less prominent role.

It was the third hospice that arose in the Trentino, after that of the Tonale Pass (1171) and that of San Martino di Castrozza (1181). The monastery had no affiliation with any religious order but by papal order they chose the Augustinian order. Prompted by the bishops, hundreds of the Giudicarie valleys and the Valleys of Noce left Campiglio and the Brenta Dolomites their “gifts”, their inheritance to the hospice. With the surrender by all of their material goods to “chiesa di The decline of the sanctuary was inevitable. In the sucSanta Maria di Campiglio” many of the devout were peti- ceeding decades, the Prince Bishops of Trento contioning to be accepted as “lay brothers and sisters” in the ferred the hospice as well as the title of Prior to ecclesiastical noblemen. The latter should have involved them nearby monastery. 14

selves with the spiritual needs of people that lived in the valleys and gathered hay and pursued mountain pasturing. In the summer, the neighboring farmers and shepherds relied on the Sanctuary for the administration of the sacraments. Although the sanctuary was wealthy with agricultural properties, the sanctuary with absence of monks, the celebration of solemn feasts and devotional pilgrimages, was reduced to a shelter for herdsmen, woodsmen, charcoal makers, hay gatherers, wayfarers and criminals of every kind. With the absence of regular inspections on the part of the proprietors (the Canons of the local chapter) for the absolute neglect of the tenant farmers, the place became a herdsman’s hut without any controls. As the interest in the once popular sanctuary faded, the Canons sold the entire complex to a business man of the Rendena Valley, Giovanni Battista Righi. He transformed the monastery into a hotel appointed with all comfort luxuries of that time: reading room and salon along with a piano and baths. The hotel built in 1870 was destroyed by a fire in 1877 but was reconstructed. In July 1894, there came a royal lodger, Francis Joseph of


Campiglio in the late 1800s

Austria along with his wife, Elizabeth (called Sissy). Legend has yet another royal visitor passed through‌.Charlemagne. The Pass between the Val Rendena and Val di sole was named Pass Carlo Magno (the Charlemagne Pass). There is an ancient stain glass window that depicts Charlemagne surrounded by a variety of saints. Hence the one time revered sanctuary of

Vigilius: Patron of the Trentino

he Tyrol lay between the remnants of Roman and Mediterranean and the new Barbarian kingdoms. During this time, no one made as significant impact as St. Vigilius in establishing Christianity in the Tyrol. He was born a Roman patrician and was the associate and correspondent to the early Catholic Fathers of the Church, St Ambrose and St John Chrysostom. He led efforts to spreading Christianity throughout the region as well as establishing the infrastructure of the newly created bishopric of Trento. He had a classical education, studying at both Athens and Rome before joining his brothers Claudian and Magorian in the Trentino in 380 AD. He shepherded other missionaries including Sisinnius, Martyrius and Alexander to evangelize the pagan populace. Having interrupted their spring rituals, they were martyred in 397 in the Val di Non. Vigilius died three years later and was buried in the church built for the three martyrs. It is now the Duomo of Trent, its cathedral.

Spiazzo, where his shrine church is situated. The legend suggests that he was not only stoned to death but pummeled with their wooden shoes and even loaves of bread. The legend within the legend relates that from that date, June 26, bread does not rise in Mortaso, a part Saint Vigilius of Spiazzo. In the Trentino, there are 24 churches dedicated to Vigilius. This includes the historical church and cemetery in Pinzolo. This church is of special significance flanking the important road up to Campiglio and its exterior walls display the paintings of the famous Bishop Vigilius died a natural death. The legends relate Simon Baschenis. The paintings depict the Dance that he was martyred, stoned to death by the pagans in Macabre, the Dance of Death. Alberto Folgheraiter is the author of many books regarding the Trentino, including his definitive and colorful book I Sentieri dell`Infinito-Storia dei Santuari del Trentino-Alto Adige The Paths of the Infinite-The Story of the Sancutaries of the Trentino Alto-Adige sanctuaries.



La Vecchia Vetreria . . .

n the nineteenth century, the village of Carisolo was neither a center of tourism nor a natural commercial center. It was a village surrounded by rugged mountains in an isolated valley. Yet, these physical circumstances provided all the elements necessary to support of all things‌glass production. There had a subsoil rich in high quality quartz necessary for the production of glass, slopes teeming with timber that could provide fuel for the glass furnaces and plenty of torrential waters from the River Sarca with its tributaries that could drive the water wheels to mill the quartz and the sawmills for the timber.

No one knew this better than two families: the Bolognini family, who originated from Pinzolo and the Pernici Family Both lived in Riva del Garda where they were quite involved with glass production and had a commercial network of customers in many places. As far back as the 17th century, there were previous glass factories in the Val delle Giudicarie: Val Dalgone, just outside of Stenico and Tione. They began a glass production factory in 1805, the Vetreria of Carisolo. The Veteria of Carisolo engaged about 70 people, the workers involved in the crushing of quartz, lumberjacks, the glassmakers, who were imported from Bohemia and Alsace and Lorraine, apprentices and workers (wives and daughters of glassmakers), who shredded straw with which they packaged the finished product.

The production complex was a small village, where stood the home of the furnace, with its imposing chimney, the house of the workers, with their families, the home office, the barns and stables, the sawmill for the lumber and mill that crushed the quartz. The ore was mined in nearby Borzago and Giustino, carried by mule or on sleds over rough roads to the mil. The ore was pulverized in an impressive millstone providing the raw material for the


production of the glass. They produced delicate crystal glass as well as ordinary glass products for everyday use. In 1811, the Carisolo Vetreria was especially honored by competing and winning a coveted award in the Milan, the then capitol of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1855, the factory was sold to Alessandro Carutti who reconstructed the factory and began the production of window panes. He was joined by Bormioni Family who had a successful glass production factory in Liguria and transformed the Carisolo factory into a modern factory expanding its markets to Lombardy and the Veneto. The breadth of the market, the large number of workers and employed workers, and the quality of workmanship made the Carisolo Vetreria a commercial venture that lasteda century. The entrepreneurial strength demonstrated by the promoters, together with the creation of a multicultural community in this Central European mountain home, rendered the Carisolo Vetreria special and singular for those times. But politics caused significant changes with the wars of Independence of the emerging Italian state that created

new boundaries. The Sud Tirol faced an industrial crisis. Capital was less available so that the Vetreria could not renovate and convert to a modern industry. Moreover, wood became ever less available and was obsolete and in contrast with the many and new production technologies. The antiquated mode of transporting their products with carts and lack of a railway made the industry hopeless so that in 1888, the furnaces were extinguished‌so that silence returned to the valley where there had been an intense manufacturing activity for 80 years. Now after 200 years, the Vetreria has reemerged as a museum of its wonderful products, the tools‌and even glass production new and old for a new generation.

Leggende: La Presanella


Here is story told by our story teller, Verena De Paoli, that captures various elements of the Val Rendena. Presanella is one of the of highest gigantic mountains of the valley. It also includes the Cascata di Nardis that is the beautiful and principal water fall in the “mysterious” Val di Genoa. Let’s listen…. nce upon a time in the land of the Grigioni, there was a cruel and violent king that ruled his land with severity. He had a very beautiful daughter by the name of Presanella. She was beloved by the people not only for her sweetness but because of her generosity for the common people. She was also loved and admired by the woodland deities and fairies. She had the good fortune of having her very own fairy godmother, Artelusa who had taught her how to spin gold and silver. She grew happy and contented and was loved by all. At her 16th birthday, her father the king summoned her to his court to announce her betrothal to Cercen, a local prince, ugly and unkind. Presanella pleaded with her father to spare her this most undesirable of matches. Indifferent to her pleadings, Presanella ran to the forest to confide with the gnomes and fairies to find a way to escape this most undesirable match with Cercen. Returning to the palace where there were to be festivities and where she was to be presented to Cercen, she fell deeply in love with a traveling troubador, Vemiglio. Her father the king seeing the love between them threw Vermiglio into his tower prison.

Presanella held her ground and with magical words taught to her by Artelusa proclaimed …Earth be sky! Water be wind! Life be turned to stone! Immediately, the horses and the riders , Cercen, Vermiglio and Presanella as well were transformed into figures of ice. The only way that they could express their great sorrow were the abundant tears still flowing to this day in the Cascata di Nardis…the Nardis water fall. In the Val di Genoa of the Val Rendena.

Presanella devised a scheme to rescue him. She cut off a long blond braid from her hair and had her maids bring it to Vermiglio in prison. He escaped and along with Presanella escaped to the woods. Cercen, ever vigilant along with his guards and informers pursued them and caught up with them. 17

Verena De Paoli majored and specialized in the conservation of the cultural heritage of the Trentino. She has published eight books on the topic and has recited these stories to her four children.


Introduction to the Val Rendena

he Rendena Valley has a combination of history, art, and a remarkable environment. A narrow valley, its shoulders are the magnificent Dolomites of the Brenta on one side and the Presanella e the Adamello, the highest mountain in the Trentino, on the other. Down the middle of the valley, there runs the Sarca River, the most important river in the Province. Up and down the valley, there came Charlemagne with his warriors and bishops visiting churches and leaving behind legends. There followed the remarkable Baschenis, distinguished artists, who left their foot prints with remarkable art. In particular, there are the churches of San Vigilio in Pinzolo, San Antonio in Perlugo, and San Stefano in Carisolo. The magnificent frescoes of the Simon Baschenis are fully on display. One of their famous frescoes is the Danze Macabre, the Council of Trento interned here witches and devils. Dance of Death. There are many tales and beliefs in Val Rendena linked to The first villages you meet entering Val Rendena are Villa the Nordic cycles and medieval stories. Among the main Rendena, Iavrè, Darè, Vigo Rendena. Pelugo’s history is topics there are the monster of Nambino Lake, the linked to the cemetery church dedicated to St. Antonio, "Volpàt" of Ritorto Lake, the bread that doesn't rise in frescoed by Bergamo painters of 1500. Spiazzo was the Mortaso after Saint Vigilio`s death, the treasures guarded centre of all Rendena communities since it was officially by spirits and devils, the witches on Epiphany night and the “Pieve di Rendena” to seal the central position of the many others. village and the importance of religious history with St. Vigilio, the patron of the Trentino. Strembo, Bocenago In the second half of the 1800’s, the Val Rendena sufand Caderzone Terme are gathered around their bell fered from the great “miseria” and hunger and lack of towers, overlook Sarca River. They are characterized by basic needs of the period. There had been a glass factoan alpine rural culture that is in evidence in the architec- ry in Carisolo, some wood carving, and cattle breeding ture of the houses and in the religious frescos which but they could not sustain its population. These great often decorated the exteriors of their houses. In the high needs prompted a great revival with the migrating of part of Rendena Valley you find the villages of Giustino, very many people of valley as seasonal workers throughMassimeno, and Pinzolo – the main center of the valley, out Europe as knife grinders (moleti) and then subseand Carisolo that leads to Val Genova westward and to quently to the USA. These moleti literally went everyMadonna di Campiglio northward, passing through where, developed their own unique language to commuSant’Antonio di Mavignola. Pinzolo is the heart of the nicate with each other, and succeeded in creating quasi valley, with its churches as the cemetery church of Saint labor federations and cooperatives. With the arrival of the new century, the town of Madonna di Campiglio Vigilio. once a religious sanctuary and hospice for wayfarers and Val Rendena has many beautiful and wild little lateral val- for the devout transformed itself to a sanctuary and desleys: Val San Valentino, Val di Borzago, Val Genova and tination point for tourists ushering in a boom of both Val Nambrone, Val Brenta e Val d’Agola. The Genova winter and summer recreation and activities. It is the site valley is among the most important valleys because of its of ski competitions and…..Tourism prompted a great wild and varied landscapes. It has torrents and many building boom of hotels, condominiums and restaurants water falls including the spectacular Cascata di Nardis, to accommodate tourists and it has become the the Nardis waterfall. This particular valley always fasci- Rendena’s chief industry. UNESCO further endorsed nated the mountain people. It is linked to many popular the Rendena Valley by declaring its magnificent mysterious legends. According one of these legends, the Dolomites as part of the World Heritage. 18


Val Rendena


The Rendena’s Jewel: San Stefano

ominating the Rendena Valley is the lovely village of Carisolo where history, legend and art all combine to enhance its significance. Dominating Carisolo on a high granite promontory is the historic cemetery church of San Stefano erected in 1100 extended and decorated in the following centuries.. It stands as the gateway to the Val di Genova and the Natural Park of the Adamello Brenta. Once possibly a prehistoric fortress, records refer to it as early as 1214. No less than the great Charlemagne is said to have stopped and passed its very location. The legend narrates how he saw the church isolated on a rock, went to it and left a document regarding his exploits. This episode is part of the cultural and the oral tradition of the Rendena people but is in evidence in the magnificent fresco in the church along with its expressive legend underneath the images confirming this history or reinforcing the legend. San Stefano is a magnificent art treasure; the jewel of the entire valley. Its ancient interior and exterior walls are bedecked with contributions of a variety of artists, but in particular, its walls were the canvases of the Baschenis, a 200-year dynasty of iterant painters, who left their work throughout the Trentino. The Baschenis were able to establish themselves as the painters of the labors and sufferings of the people of mountain farmer. San Stefano has a magnificent display of their frescoes both in the interior and on the exterior walls.

Charlemagne The large fresco which can be seen on the inside northeast façade tells of the legendary expedition of Charlemagne through Val Camonica, Val di Sole and Val Rendena. The landscape of these valleys forms a background to the scene in which the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, surrounded by his retinue attends the baptism of a catechumen. This baptism is administered by the Pope in the presbytery of a chapel. In this fresco, Simone II Baschenis, recounts a Medieval legend in Renaissance style. Thanks to the bright colors and lush decorations of the garments, the painter conserves the legendary dimension of the story. Under the fresco there is a long inscription in the vernacular, explaining the painting. The text known today as “The Privilege of St Stephen’s in R e n d e n a ” recounts the story of the passing of Charlemagne in the area. 22

The Dance of Death The splendid fresco of the Dance of Death can be found on the external south-west façade. It is a late Medieval iconographical theme which shows humans and skeletons dancing together.The skeletons are a personification of death, whereas the humans are usually dressed in the representative clothes of the various social categories of the time, from the most powerful like the Pope and Emperor, prelates, princes and noblemen, to the most humble, like the middle classes and peasants. The fresco was painted in 1519 by Simone II Baschenis, one of the most talented 16th century artists, who belonged to the famous dynasty of Bergamo painters, the Baschenis family. This work communicates the inevitability and impartiality of death which strikes everyone without distinction, churchmen and laymen, rich and poor, young and old. The images evoke fear in observers and seem to exhort them to think in time about saving their souls.The inside of the church has a series of fascinating 16th century frescoes of great beauty.

The Last Supper The upper internal south-west façade of the church is covered with a fresco depicting the Last Supper. This famous scene is frescoed with spontaneity and immediacy despite the rudimentary prospective, typical of the Baschenis. The twelve apostles are looking towards the viewer and are seated with Jesus at a Renaissance table, covered with a white cloth. The table is lavishly set with an abundance of earthenware and food. The lamb, the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, is served on an imposing gilded dish. The plates are filled with fish and on the tablecloth there is abundant bread with bottles of wine and different types of glassware. The many red prawns spread over the table give the banquet a note of color and are a constant in the Last Suppers painted in the church found in the Alps. The artists painted the shellfish to create a direct contact with the people. In fact in the past the prawn abounded in the Trentino rivers and was an integral part of the diet at that time. This animal also lends itself to a symbolic reading. It can thus be seen as a reference to resurrection and the human soul, which returns to life after death. The color of the prawn, which turns from grey to red after cooking, also alludes to the Passion. The church is now used for special celebrations such as art exhibits and concerts. 23


Family Stories: The Ambrosi’s

y name is Narcisso Dominick Ambrosi. I was born in Carisolo (Carisol), Italy in March 1930. I was named after my twin brother and sister who died about two years before I was born. His name was Narcisso and her name was Dominica thus my name. Today, everyone calls me Nick. My father and mother brought me to America in 1932 with my two older brothers. I believe it was on the SS Roma. My father, Guido had been here in America from about 1915, working as a knife grinder or moleta. All four of my father’s brothers were also moletas. I am also one of five brothers and together our first initials spell out G-R-I-N-D (Gus, Remo, Italo, Nick and Dino). I don’t know if my parents planned it out that way but it is somewhat funny how that worked out! We made several trips back and forth between Italy and America when I was growing up. In 1939, my mother and two younger brothers and I all went back to Italy on the Rex. I won the bobbing for apples contest and earned the title of “Biggest Mouth”! We stayed with my Grandma Virginia Maestri when we got there and saw firsthand how the war was affecting families. My grandfather was in England under arrest because he was an Austrian born in Carisol. We were to come back in September but Hitler invaded Poland and no ships were leaving so we stayed until November. During the war, my brother Bill served in the Pacific and my brother Gus served in Europe. Even though I was a young boy, my uncle and I had to take over their knife grinding delivery routes while they were away. Eventually, I met and got married to my wonderful wife Cynthia . She was from Mount Vernon, New York. I got drafted into the Army

The Ambrosi Brothers: Gus, Remo, Italo, Nick & Dino

and did my boot camp at Camp Chafee in Fort Smith, Arkansas which is long way from the Bronx! During the Korean War, I served as a forward observer nd then chief switch board operator. I left the 69 Field Artillery in 1953 with the Korean Service Metal W/3 Bronze Service Star.

My wife, Cynthia and I settled down in northern New Jersey. I opened a little shop in Denville where I repaired lawn mowers, sharpened saws and of course carried on the moleta tradition and had a knife grinding route. I also learned the locksmithing trade which added to my successful small business. In 1962, I had a two story building constructed that had my shop/store on the first floor called Master Grinding and Security, and a spacious three bedroom apartment upstairs. This is where Cynthia and I happily raised our five children, Gerard, Michael, James, Christopher and Catherine. Many years have gone by and I have since retired from business. One of my sons did carry on the family business of locksmithing and even is a fourth generation moleta with a small knife grinding route. I have had the pleasure of traveling back to the old country over the years. One memorable trip and the most recent, was in 1993 when my wife and I went with two of our sons and their wives to Europe. We were fortunate to travel to Carisol and visit with relatives there. They loved seeing the beautiful country there and the warm friendly faces. It was a great opportunity to have my grown children see where their roots come from. I have enjoyed recalling my Italian heritage and how it has influenced my life and family in so many ways. Thank you for letting me share it with you. Written by Narcisio Ambrosi, Denville, NJ.



Family Stories: Scaia’s Mountain

hroughout the years, throughout my growing up to present, there has been a black-andwhite photograph that has hung in my parents’ kitchen. The landscape, the mountain range landscape sticks out amongst the other pictures and decorations distinctively. That picture is of Scaia Mountain, which resides in the Canadian province of British Columbia, has been a conversation piece for family and friends.

While living in British Columbia, the three brothers farmed and mined for gold. Gusto ventured to Alaska to mine the gold fields in 1989; he made money mining, but lost most of what he had made in his ventures. He remained in Alaska as a small store owner, postmaster, and justice of the peace.

One doesn’t truly appreciate ancestry when they are children. All I knew about my maternal side of the family was that we came from the northern part of Italy, which was once a part of Austria before the time of war. As years passed, after my family immigrated to the United States, the historical knowledge of my family was more compact. My asking about that picture, why we had a two-toned, framed landscape hanging in the kitchen, always had the same response: that’s Scaia Mountain. My ears perked up with interest, and I asked if it was It’s fascinating and heartwarming that these brothers named after our family. were born and raised in the Condine Valley area in Tyrol. The area is made up of beautiful mountains, deep valleys, and crystal blue bodies of water. To say the landscape is breathtaking does not do it justice. Having visited Condine thre e years ago, I can only imagine the difficulty behind deciding to leave for the United States and Canada. Although, the Scaia brothers settled in different regions around the world, generating some stir and unanswered questions as to why they did not return to Solvay, New York, there was legitimate rationale behind their decision. Being in Alaska and British Columbia, the scenic views are comparable to Tyrol—the hills and mountains overlooking pristine bodies of water. It was said that those who traveled this far had a difficult time Barto Scaia The five Scaia brothers emigrated from Tyrol region of returning to where they came from. It was clear: this Austria that is now northern Italy. They left their serene was a home away from home. village of Prezzo and ventured to England before settling in Solvay, New York. Unlike many who immigrated to Solvay, individuals who settled in the village worked at the soda ash plant, Solvay Process, the Scaia brothers left Solvay in different directions. Domenico, my greatgreat-grandfather returned to Tyrol to live. Adam and Louis traveled to the Canadian province, British Columbia, in 1893. Adam has a mountain named after him located in the Arrow Lake country near Nakusp, British Columbia. Barto joined his two brothers in 1911. Written by Christopher Scaia Malone “Little Man” Adam Scaia 25


Nos Dialet . . . Our Dialect #4 in! Din! Dialect school in session….Time for a change this time leaving grammar and syntax aside…So many have called and regreted that I veci non I ghe pu…our older emigrants are leaving us and along with them the very sound of the dialect, those intonations that we had learned to love. I found a way that might provide some of those very sounds. Here is the way….

The Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina (The Museum of the Ways and Customs of the Trentino People) has a web site where you click on to 310 film clips of our people from a variety of valleys speaking the dialect. I closed my eyes and just listened and I felt that I was in the kitchen of the Bleggio with my nonna and nono or on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village hearing mom and dad talking. Give it a try…here is the link and you will discover a virtual museum of cultural material.

Time for a Quiz…a read and match test…Below you will find a list of dialectal words drawn from the Val Rendena specifically the nomenclatures of the vecchi mestieri of la Vecchia Rendena, which is a wonderful feast celebrated each year in Bocenago, a village in the valley, that displays these tasks and activities with the town folk replete with traditional dress. Here is the challenge…read the list and go the facing page and match the vocabulary word with the task. Please grade yourself…since we presume on the honesty and diligence of all of our people! Asan Bronchi Carigota Caser Castogni Cavrer Filar Frer Giugar a li carti Marangun Mulota Ort Parulot Pitor Popi Pumpier Ricam Sagador Sartora Scarpulin Scola Scultor Spazacamin Spizuclin Stala Tustar al café

Asino Chiodi Impagliatore di sedie Casaro Castagne Capraio Filatura Fabbro Gioco di carte Falegname Arrotino Orto Romaio Pittore Bambini Vigili di Fuoco Ricame Facciatore Sarta Calzolaio Scuola Scultore Spazzacamino Tagliapietre Stalla Tostatura del caffé

Donkey Nails Chair maker Dairyman Chestnut Herdsman Spinning Blacksmith Card Playing Carpenter Knife Grinder Garden Coppersmith Painter Children Firefighters Embroidery Hay Reaper Tailor Cobbler School Sculptor Chimney Sweep Stone Cutter (Mason) Barn Toasting Coffee


The town people of Bocinago that host the annual festival of the Vecchia Rendena



Prologue to the Great Emigration

ow was it possible that the Trentino peasantry had arrived to such a point of suffering and despair? Historians for decades have referred to certain events that would constitute this state of suffering in Trentino or the Italian Tyrol. In the first place, several “diseases� heavily afflicted the most productive sectors of agriculture. From the 1850s, grapes were severely hit by cryptogram, which for twenty years reduced grape harvests and wine production. Shortly afterwards, pebrine appeared, a disease which halved silk production. Wine and silk constituted two of the most important exports from Trentino and above all two of the few products that allowed Trentino peasant families (those who lived in the lower and more populated valleys, where vineyards and mulberry trees grew, the latter was food for silkworms.) to earn a little bit of money. The peasant economy was still pre-capitalist, and of subsistence: each family produced almost exclusively what was necessary for its survival.

Politics also contributed to this crisis: in 1859 and in 1866 the Wars of Independence in Italy separated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to which Trentino still was a part of, Lombardy and Veneto. They were two markets from which Trentino could import and export: from then on, the Italian Tyrol would have to turn towards other regions of the empire, more distant and more economically developed. The craft production of the Dolomite region was not able to compete with those regions due to quality and price factors. The rise of custom barriers towards Veneto and Lombardy dealt a decisive blow to the technologically backward craft-industrial sector while also transit trade between Lombardy and Veneto and Europe decreased the number of jobs for hundreds of men that lived in Trentino such as: rafters, carters, owners of inns and taverns. The Vienna Stock Exchange in 1873 experienced a dramatic crash that

triggered an economic depression that lasted several years and also affected the Trentino economy. While in 1882, 1885, and 1889, the Dolomite region experienced devastating floods, particularly destructive was the one of 1882, with deaths and immense damage to local workshops and factories.

But these were not the only reasons that led to mass emigration from the Italian Tyrol. It was about, rather, other facts that worsened the conditions that had already made sorrowful the lives of Trentino farmers and their families. For example, militarism was dominating European political life during the 19th century: the AustroHungarian Empire was threatened from within by many nationalities from which it was composed and driven by desires to create new homogenous nations based along ethnic and linguistic lines. But it was also threatened from the outside by the expansion of new and old powers: France, Russia, Italy, and Germany. This led to the strengthening of the army, which meant militarization: all males aged 19 to 39 years old not only had to perform military service, but also be available every year to undergo military training lasting for long periods of time. From the end of the 18th century, compulsory education became law for children and teenagers. This greatly benefited our immigrant ancestors. But compulsory education and military service took away workers from rural families. They could only hope to survive with the contribution of everyone, the scarcity of land available, the lack of agricultural mechanization, and the low productivity of land in the mountains. Furthermore, school and military service that led young people to leave for other parts of Europe contributed to opening their minds, making them less willing a life of just survival, made of hardship and hard work, in a difficult land like Trentino. But there was a phenomenon still even more important that brought the peasantry of the Italian Tyrol to despair and mass emigration. Some information can spread light on it. From 1860 to 1898 there were 32,000 forced realestate auctions and between 1850 and 1860 the value of land fell by over 50%. Rural families were losing their land or they were forced to sell it or the courts were taking it away. Why? There were many reasons that led to this phenomenon. But one was more important than all the others. During the 19th century, especially during the 1860s, the imperial governments imposed upon citizens a modern tax system that, among other things, was based 28

upon a property tax, to put it vulgarly, a “land tax.” Often it was not large sums of money to pay annually, but two factors made it painful and at times impossible to pay this obligation for Trentino farmers. In the first place, the silkworm crisis and the production of grapes and wine took away from Trentino families the few monies of which were available. In the second place, the Austrian law had established that municipalities could in turn charge their own taxpayer percentage of the property tax: up to 300% and for higher percentages each municipality would have to ask permission from government authorities. Well, many municipalities in the decades between 1870 and the First World War, were constricted to overcharge the smaller landowners by 400%, 700% or even 1000% of the property tax and these had to pay the government every year.

Poverty, undernourishment, and diseases all were factors afflicting the Trentino peasantry. From the middle of the 19th century, many Trentino householders and their older male children began to emigrate, at least temporarily: for work in the construction of roads and railroads in Europe and then throughout the world, to the textile factories of Vorarlberg which began to employ women from Trentino, to the mines of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and France. This phenomenon, which brought workers in contact with capitalist society where there were jobs and higher earning power, opened the minds of those peasants and made them less willing to a life of survival and misery at home. But slowly over time from across the ocean America began calling. With two factors that resulted in being irresistible to the Italian Tyrolean peasant. The United States had the strength of the dollar that tempted the migrants: sometimes a few years of work in the mines and in the factories were enough to return home and revive the family business. The great American power was hungry for workers in its chaotic industrial development. While Brazil and Argentina offered to Trentino farmers vast tracts of land: far beyond their greatest dreams. Consider that Brazil offered to each family 20 to 30 hectares (50 to 75 acres) of land at a low cost and payable in only a few years. There were by now all the conditions ripe for a large-scale emigration from Trentino.

Why? It was a “wretched wheel” of events. The Austrian laws required that each municipality had to assist its citizens in difficulty by providing food, clothing, along with the cost of education (obligatory) for children. The municipalities provided only a few kilograms (4 pounds) of flour, two rags for clothes, and the exemption from paying scholastic fees. In times of crisis, in which poverty was increasing, this translated into spiraling costs for small municipalities that had few resources and were obligated to assist citizens less fortunate. Here the high percentage of over taxed land fell on the impoverished farmers and forced many of them to sell their properties. Consider that the average ownership of land in the Italian Tyrol was 1.4 hectares (3 acres) by 1890. Since large properties existed, above all those of the Roman Catholic Church and the nobility, meant that the averagesize property of farmers was reduced for the majority of households to an half hectare (1 acre) of land that almost always was unfertile and unproductive in mountain areas. 29

Renzo Grosselli is a noted journalist of L’Adige the main newspaper of the Trentino. He has researched the history of emigration from the Trentino and has published the book L’Emigrazione dal Trentino dall Medioevo all Prima Guerra Mondiale (Trentino Emigration from the Middle Ages to the First World War).


The Dolomites: The Brenta

olomites are the very symbol of the Trentino and the Brenta Group are possibly the symbol of the symbol. The Brenta Dolomites are Europe 's most thrilling mountains, arguably it's most beautiful and certainly it's most outlandish. Everyone has seen pictures of the Dolomites, but the reality will always exceed your expectations especially the Dolomiti di Brenta , Brenta Group. The vast limestone towers that soar, thousands of feet above the surrounding scree and high meadows, with beautiful, often virgin, mixed forest on the lower slopes, glaciers, and torrents that all evoke the grandest serene majesty. The variety of colors, the shapes of the limestone rocks and walls are unique in the world. Pinnacles and amazing walls alternate with colorful green valleys full of forests, meadows, torrents and canyons with huge waterfalls. They are not as high as the tallest Alps, but outdo all for sheer drama. The principal peaks are Cima Tosa (3173), Cima Brenta (3150), Crozon di Brenta (3118), Cima d`Ambiez (3102, Cima Mandron (3033) and Torre di Brenta (3008). The Brenta is a complex mountain range made up of high dolomite and limestone peaks; it belongs entirely to the Trento province. Most consider it part of the Italian Dolomites, but geographically it belongs to Alpi Retiche Meridionali (Central Alps). Its boundaries are 4 valleys: on the northern side Val di Sole, on the eastern side Val di Non and the Paganella plateau, on the southern side the Giudicarie, and on the western side Val Rendena. The name Brenta is derived from the local dialect term brent (brenta in Italian): a big wooden bucket used to carry water. The dense presence of mountain the central part of the Brenta Dolomites (one every 2/3 hours hiking) does not disturb the environment. The Northern part of the Brenta Dolomites is wilder and has many malghe (shelters for the cows). It is a paradise for climbers as well as hikers as well as tourists who ascend with cable seats and.or cars. The area is riddled with outstanding walks.

the formidable Bocca di Brenta (the mouth of the Brenta)…Shortly after, there was created the Società Alpinisti Trentini (SAT) in Campiglio, an Alpinisim Club that began the development and the cultivation of the Brenta Dolomites. At that time, Douglas William Freshfield put the Dolomites, the mountains of the lands of our people, on the world map in his book Italian Alps. (Do you know that 2/3 of the Alps are in Italy and even the peak of the Matterhorn is in Italy) There followed the likes of Francis Fox Tuckett who began undertaking ever more challenging. Otto Ampferer and Karl Berger, Austrians undertook the Campanile Basso, a most difficult monolith. They did this with ropes and nails only to be followed by Paul Preuss, who did it alone with no equipment whatsoever. There are two very distinguishing peaks, Bell Towers, in the Brenta: the Campanile Basso and the Campanile Alto. The Campanile Basso is a summit located in the central chain of the Group 2877 meters above sea level, is a solitary spire-section tends square , situated between the Campanile Alto (2937 m) and the top of Brenta Alta . The monolith, which stands in the heart of the group, has long been considered an inaccessible mountain, due to the apparent absence of cracks and the high exposure of the walls. Via delle Bocchette is a special feature of the Brenta. It is via ferrata or "iron road", plural vie ferrate or in English via ferratas ) is a protected climbing route consisting of a steel cable which runs along the route allowing a climber to secure themselves to the cable. The views are spectacular and singular. These vie ferrate are strongly associated with the First World War, when several were built in the region to aid the movement of troops.

There are “refugi”, lodges throughout the Brenta. The first one, Refugio Tosa, was built by the SAT in 1881. Other refugi include Tuckett, Brentei, Agostini, Dodici Apostoli, Alimonta, and Grafer. On the rocky cliffs, one The Brenta Dolomites were simply there as part of the can find flocks of chamois or watch an eagle in flight and environment for our people who struggled to survive the newly re-introduced brown bear. It is a paradise to be making hay and pasturing their cattle on the slopes and enjoyed. pastures of the Dolomites. They had neither the time nor the leisure to pursue climbing or Alpinism . Serious Riccardo Decarli (Biblioteca della montagna-SAT, alpinism began in 1864 led by the English, then by the Trento) Austrians and the Germans. At that time, 1864, an Irishman, John Ball and his Trentino alpine guide crossed 30



Family Stories: The Zanella’s

y father was born in San Paolo Brazil. His father, Joseph and mother Maria went to Brazil to earn the money needed to begin their future back in Covelo di Terlago Austria. Prior to their return my grandparents added my Zia’s Giusepina, Maria and Adelina and after they returned came Zio Atillio and Zia Esther.Covelo is north west of Trento in the Valle Di Laghi, a very small town made up of farms and a small but vibrant dairy industry (cheese and milk producing). Covelo is a beautiful town and to this day a strong presence of Zanella’s and other family’s who can trace their origin to a Zanella remain’s. My mother was Pierina Paoli also of Covelo and her parents were Anna and Francesco. Just before World War II they moved to Rovereto. During the First World War both my father and his father served in the Austrian army in the Tiroler Kaiser Jaegger. Both returned with 2 orphan cows in tow – I guess this was their idea of rightful compensation for serving since there was no other payment. These 2 cows were the actual start of that dairy business and Monte Gazza which was the location of their summer grazing and milking operation. In 1960 when I was 11 years old I had the great pleasure of helping to move the cows along with my Zio Atillio, cousin’s Renata and Giuliano from the hot summer fields to the cool grazing on Monte. Gazza. It was a 6 hour trek up a My parents -- Pierina and Querino -- and small winding road and at my sister Theresa the top we slept, ate and lived for a week in a small house made of stone and mud, an experience never to be forgotten

and then me, Victor. My father worked as a coal miner for 38 years. He was best know for his constant state of tranquility, his strength and complete dedication to his family. He was a tall man of great strength and had the compassion of a priest. He had the green thumb of a true Trentino farmer and loved to grow his garden. He could end a conversation just My grandparents with my father in the by raising his hand and saying Tiroler Kaiser Jaegger basta and never having or wanting to raise his voice. My mother was a short woman 5-ft. tall, strong of character, a lover of politics and without a doubt a chef ’s chef. There were no medals for her culinary ability’s but to this day many of my friends in Mt. Carmel still talk about the meals she prepared. She worked for many years at the local Elks club as the chief cook, bottle washer and cleaning lady. There were weekends when she would be cooking for a wedding one day and a reunion another along with the daily dinners. She was not as calm as my dad but it was her job to run the house and with me and my sister running around some one had to be the bad guy. What I remember most about her was she was always there taking care of us all and anyone else that needed to be cared for.

We have been fortunate to have longevity of life in our family and this continues today as this year ,2013, we will celebrate my cousin and godfather Al’s 90th birthday, he is the first of the first generation Americans who served in the navy in World War II and still continues to reside in Mt. Carmel Pa. We will also be looking forward to our Zia Esther’s, the last of my father’s siblings, 100th birthday and being with her in Covelo to celebrate that grand occasion, con vino, polenta e coniglio. Both my parents are My father came to the United States in 1920 where he deceased as well as my sister but the spirit of their lives, found work digging the subways in New York City. He work ethic, family values and love of the Trentino food returned to Covelo and then returned to the States in and culture continue to stay with us. The sturdy Trentini 1923 and in 1929 married my mother and came to the stock is what continues to make us better citizens of the U.S. for good. They settled in Mount Carmel, United States of America. On behalf of my cousins Al, Pennsylvania along with his sister, Zia Beppina and her Joe and myself I would like to thank you for the opporhusband Zio Paolo. The first generations Americans had tunity to tell you about this family we call the Covelo Di already begun with the birth of my cousin and godfather Terlago Zanella’s. Written by Victor Zanella, Hampstead, MD Albert, followed by my sister Theresa, my cousin Joseph 32


Building a Genealogical Treasury

ifteen years ago, family events made me acutely aware that I'd become the primary keeper of the few bits of family history my relatives remembered. I'd spent many hours listening to their fragmented stories, trying to decipher names and dates from deteriorating snapshots, letters and postcards but once I realized how little I actually knew, I decided to do some serious research.

Cemetery of San Lorenzo, Vigo Rendena

I've built a database that now contains 63,000 individuals and growing every day. I've begun searching for a home for this database, to preserve it and to give it a permanent life by making it interactive and accessible to all Rendenese and their descendants everywhere. Cemetery of San Vigilio, Spiazzo

My dream is for it to become a curated database, ever growing, with a physical location in Val Rendena as well

I began my research, using the resources described in previous issues. Within a few years, I'd reconstructed my family's ancestry to about 1630, overcoming every obstacle -- language, access to records, and the lack of real cultural knowledge. This research enriched my life, anchoring me to so many parenti here and Val Rendena through blood and common heritage, creating ties of friendship that go beyond common ancestry but are grounded in it. Once I realized the depth of my roots in Val Rendena, I designed my research to be useful beyond my own perCemetery of Santa Lucia sonal history. as virtual location accessible worldwide, so that anyone seeking connect or to remain connected with his or her roots will be able to do so. Such a database will make it easier for those returning to our valley -- perhaps for the first time after generations -- to find their relatives, but also for the Rendenese to find their families now dispersed throughout the world. The ties built on a thousand years of history should never be lost to us.

I hope that my work will also provide a model for all the valleys of our region. We possess a treasury of records for the entire region, not easily accessible at present, but Cemetery of San Martino, Villa Rendena I began to translate and index every baptism, marriage potentially so. Dedicated research by others like myself, and death record for Pinzolo, then, reaching back in time, - as well as visionary public or private entities which see for the other towns of the valley a process which contin- the enormous psychological, social, economic and culues today. I created a photographic index for every grave tural potential of such projects -- can make it so. To lose in the valley to provide a bridge to the present, and with such an opportunity is unthinkable. My experience all these and current information constantly being pro- proves it can be done, and is worth all the effort it takes vided by the new friends I've made throughout this time, to do it. Written by James Caola 33

The Wisdom Stories: I Proverbi

The dialect is in red; the Italian in blue and the English is in black.

I ha vendù la vaca per far studiar l'asen. Hanno venduto la mucca per pagare gli studi ad un asino. They

sold the cow to have a donkey study.

Chi sbaglia de so testa, paga de so borsa. Chi sbaglia, paga in prima persona. He who makes a mistake

pays a personal price.

Tuti i tira l'acqua al so molin. Tutti tirano l'acqua al proprio mulino. Everyone thinks of their own advantage.

Vàrdete sempre da tre robe:dal cul del mul, dala boca de cane da chi g’ha sempre la corona en man.

Guardati sempre da tre cose: Il retro del mulo. I denti del cane e da chi ha sempre il rosario in mano. Watch for three things: a donkey’s back, a dog’s teeth, and someone who prays the rosary all day

Chi pol nar per strada no vaga per sintéri. Chi può andar per strada, non vada per sentieri.

plicate your life by taking short cuts.

Do not com-

Chi zappa, zacca e chi mette giù, tol su. Chi zappa, mastica…Chi semina, raccoglie. The one that hoes,

The Origins of Trentino Names

eats; the one sows, reaps.

Jim Caola, who has created and carries on his enormous and exemplary research with the records of the families (see article on page 33) offers these insights into the surnames of the Valley.

Surnames developed over time, gradually replacing other methods of identifying family groups. For the most part, in origin they are either geographical (from place names or geographical features); occupational (based on an ancestor’s occupation); or patronymic ((a surname based on the given name of a presumed “founding” ancestor of that family line). But surnames can also be based on nicknames (soprannomi) which themselves can be based on characteristics, locations or occupations; or descriptions (such as “good man” or “all good” or “loves God”); or simply the characteristics – physical or temperamental -- of some founding member, such as Baldo (bold), Rossi (red, usually red hair). However, by far the easiest surnames to guess the origins of are the patronymic surnames. In Val Rendena, there are many of them. Here are just some of them:

Ambrosi (from the given name “Ambrogio”) Antoniolli (probably from Antonio) Bertarelli and Bertelli (probably from "Bartolomeo”) Bonomi (from the given name Bonomo, which of course comes from the early forms for “good man”) Collini … origin is from the diminutive for the given name Nicolò, the diminutive being “Colin”... I actually saw “Colin” written as a given name in an early baptism record, not knowing at the time that it was nickname for Nicolo. The odd bit about it in this case is that is is not an obvious patronymic, because it is based on the nickname (unlike a surname such as Nicoletti – that is an easy one to “see”) Dallagiacoma (that’s the current form in Val Rendena, in some centuries it was occasionally written as Dellagiacoma, Dellagiacomo, Dallagiacomo and Digiacomo/a)... that’s from Giacomo. Valentini (from the given name “Valentino") Lorenzetti, Lorenzi, and Loranzi (from the given name “Lorenzo”) Maffei (from the given name “Maffeo”) Nella (possibly from the given name “Nello”, but that’s a tricky one, too, as it could come from a diminuitve of some other given name, that was dropped later) 34

Povinelli derives from ancient Rendenese word: Poulo instead of Paolo Tommasini -- or Tomasini, depending on the period -- (from the given name “Tommaso”) There are others, such as Tisi, which have more ambiguous origins – could be based on an OLD Germanic given name, Tiso, or a place name, such as Tiso.... then there is the name Cima, which was originally a family called Tesini with the soprannome Cima... Tesini might have been originally a place name “Tesino” but I don’t know that. In either case, Tesini no longer exists,and Cima is nealy extinct. In Val Rendena, there are also the current surnames based on previous soprannomi, such as the aforementioned “Cima”; Mosca (once a soprannome for a branch of the Dallagiacoma family of Caderzone); Maganzini (once a soprannome for the surname “Trentini”, which still exists widely in the Giudicarie. Written by James Caola

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Our Partners are . . .

Alberto Folgheraiter- Author, journalist and specialist in Trentino culture Azienda per il Turismo Campiglio-Sara De Francesco Christian Brunelli. Teacher & Technical Consultant Giorgio Crossina - Phoenix Bancaria Informatica Sara De Francesca – Fototeca Azienda per il Turismo Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo Val Rendena – Foto D. Picciani Federazione Trentina delle Pro Loco e loro Consorzi - Director Ivo Povinelli James Zanella-Pittsburgh, PA-Rovereto, Trentino Tomaso Iori-Bivedo, Val di Giudicarie-Curator of Museo Scuola, Rango Jim Caola Genealogist, nutritional counselor, macrobiotic chef, Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina - Daniela Finardi, Communications Dept. Manuele Margini - Phoenix Bancaria Informatica Biblioteca della Montagna-SAT -Ricardo di Carli Modesto Povinelli-Director of Pro Loco-Carisolo Museo Storico Dr. Patrizia Marchesoni, Deputy Director & Head of Research, Archives & Collections Renzo Grosselli - L`Adige, Journalist, Author Trentino Marketing S.p.A - University of Trento - Paola Fusi Head of Communications – University of Trento Verena Di Paoli - Writer, Researcher, Scholar


Don Marcello Farina-Balbido, Bleggio Superiore, Italy Ronald Christe - Easton, MD Narcisio Ambrosi - Denfield, NJ Christopher Malone - Syracuse, NY Victor Zanella - Hampstead, MD Patrick Grazzi - Campiglio - Val Rendena

Photo Credits

Page 4, Giorgio Corradi, Tomaso Iori Pages 8-9, Bruno Faganello Pages 12-13, Patrick Grassi Pages 14-15, Gianni Zotta & Flavio Faganello Page 16, Foto Archivio Pro Loco Carisolo - Graziano Righi Pages 18-19, Foto Archivio Pro Loco Carisolo - Graziano Righi; APT Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo Val Rendena – Foto D. Picciani Pages 22-23, Foto Archivio Pro Loco Carisolo - Graziano Righi Pages 28-29, Foto Archivio Pro Loco Carisolo - Graziano Righi, Giorgio Corradi, Tomaso Iori Page 31, Louis Brunelli; Fototeca Azienda per il Turismo Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo Val Rendena – Foto D. Picciani Page 34, James Caola

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