Last year a delightful article appeared in the BBC Magazine recounting the experience of a group of grandmothers from Daone, a hamlet in the Val del Chiese, which in turn is part of the Valle Giudicarie. Several of our club members have origins in Daone with last names such as Bugna, Nicolini, Ghezzi, Corradi and Leonardi. In 2015 Daone merged with Bersone and Praso to form a larger municipality called Valdaone with a population of nearly 2,000.
These grandmothers, average age 80, belonged to the Rododendro (Rhododendron) Club of retirees. Their dream was to go to the seashore for a vacation. Most had never even seen the sea. They married soon after the war. They raised children and toiled in the fields while their husbands worked building the valley’s dams. Vacations were considered frivolous, a waste of hard earned savings. Some had never even ventured to the city of Trento,f only 35 miles away.
The word for women in the local dialect is “funne”. Well, these “funne” created a calendar, and each month one of them was featured in a photomontage based on some dreamlike wish. The idea was to sell the calendars and make enough money to go on vacation to the seaside. The calendars did not sell that well, and their hopes were dashed. Then one of their grandsons suggested crowdfunding on the Internet. The results were phenomenal. Donations flowed in from all over the world. They had more than enough money to go on their dream vacation last year. They chose the Croatian island of Ugljan, with the same patron saint as Daone, La Madonna della Neve (the Madonna of the Snow). They arrived just in time for the August 5th feast day celebration. Of course, none of them knew how to swim, but that made no difference. Their dream had come true.
Katia Bernardi chronicles this captivating story in a book and documentary film both entitled Funne, le ragazze che sognavano il mare.
These women have been featured in the media and were honored guests of the Pope.
This year, for our annual Spring Luncheon, we met at “El Terun“, an Italian restaurant in Palo Alto.
Maico, the owner, and his staff were the perfect hosts. Maico was responsible for a video of our wonderful Dolomiti; He took the time to search youtube, record the video and set it up for us. He told us that being a part of our festa made him feel at home (he lived in Trentino for a couple of years). It was a delight to see all the kids and the club members enjoy a wonderful lunch together. During the lunch the club board also rewarded Gregory Eugene Tafner McGarry aka Greg with our first “Trentino Roots Award” , that has as a goal to promote the participation of young members of our club in the Summer Exchange Programsponsored by The Province of Trento.
Thank you to Maico and all the club members for the amazing lunch and company.
and Maria Mortati
The governing board of our club recently established the “Trentino Roots Award”, a monetary gift of $500 to encourage members of our club to participate in the “Summer Exchange Program” promoted by the Province of Trento, and help defray some of the costs. Gregory Eugene Tafner McGarry aka Greg became the first recipient of the “Trentino Roots Award” at our spring luncheon in Palo Alto. Congratulations Greg! Buon Viaggio in Trentino!
What is the Summer Exchange Program? The Province of Trento each year funds a summer exchange program for youth aged 18 to 35. This year club member Gregory Eugene Tafner McGarry aka Greg has been selected to participate along with Trentini youth from Latin America, Australia, Canada and elsewhere. Greg lives in San Francisco. He currently teaches high school English and is completing his Master’s in Education from Stanford University. Greg’s great-grandfather was from city of Trento and his great-grandmother was a Pedri from Cagnò in the Val di Non. His family is related to the current president of the Trentini nel Mondo Association, Alberto Tafner. In the US their last name was changed to Daffner. A Trentina family will host Greg for 3 weeks while he engages in a series of activities organized by the Province; in turn, Greg will host a member of the family here in California.
A picture of Greg at the Spring Luncheon Congratulations Greg!!!
It is a very sad moment for our Trentino club. Padre Efrem Trettel passed away at the age of 95 on Friday, January 20th. Padre Efrem was a pillar in the community. For years he broadcast Italian TV and radio programs from his studio in San Francisco. His achievements are numerous. He was an iconic figure both here and in Italy. The news appeared on TV and in print in Trentino the day after his passing, and on a blog produced in his birthplace of Predazzo.
In 2010 club member Christine Bologna visited Padre Efrem and wrote a captivating article chronicling the history of this extraordinary man. Click here to read that article. Around the same time Vincenzo Mancuso of the Trentino Historical Museum created a short subtitled documentary based on interviews with Padre Efrem and other club members. Padre Efrem donated his collection of writings, tapes and film footage to the Museum, and some of this historical footage is included in the documentary. Click here to view the documentary.
Father Efrem was an accomplished writer, poet and musician. In 1960 “Fiumi-Risaie-Anime, Ricordi Della Mia Missione in Cina” was published, an autobiographical account of his years in China. In 1965 the book was translated in English, “Rivers, Rice Fields, Soul: Memoirs of My Mission in China”. He also wrote a book on St. Francis of Assisi and one entitled “The Life of Mary”. In 2011 an anthology of his poetry was published under the title “Son of Francis”. In 2004, in honor of his outstanding life and career, the Province of Trento presented him with the “International Award”
A special thank you goes out to club member Marco Di Ianni, who visited Father Efrem frequently and assisted him as his health failed. Father Efrem will be forever grateful.
Father Efrem was buried along side his brother, Father Flavio, in the Franciscan Cemetery in Colma, south of San Francisco. Father Flavio tragically passed away in a car accident in 1994.
Father Efrem, we thank you for your friendship, support and spiritual guidance over the years. May you rest in peace.
For our Christmas event once again Father Alberto Mengon arranged for us to have our gathering at the lovely campus of the Salesian College Preparatory School in Richmond.
We had a typical Trentino meal with polenta, crauti (sauerkraut), etc.
For entertainment Carlo from Coro Allegro will lead us in song with his formidable voice as he did 2 years ago. Also, in the spring Paola Tonelli of the Leonardo Da Vinci Society gave a presentation on the epic Trentino mountain climber, Bruno Detassis. She has offered to give the same presentation at our event. Grazie Paola!!
A special thanks to Laura Bortolon McKinnon for the following pictures
In August the Trentino Club of Southern California hosted the biennial ITTONA (International Tyrolean Trentino Organization of North America) convention aboard a cruise from LA to Ensenada, Mexico. It included a tour in Baja California of the prestigious Cetto Winery, founded in 1928 by Angelo Cetto from Levico Terme in the Valsugana. Francesco Bocchetti, Vice Director of the Trentino nel Mondo Association, gave a captivating presentation highlighting the history of the Association and the role it has played in supporting the Trentino diaspora.
The US has 21 Trentino clubs and Canada 5, and there were representatives from several of these clubs in attendance. A big thank you goes out to the Southern California Club and to ITTONA secretary Anna Vann who worked tirelessly to put on this event. Grazie Anna!!
On May 19th Antonio and Laura (Floriani) Vitlacil celebrated 60 years together. Antonio was born and raised in Borgo Valsugana, but his father was born in Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic, and his mother in Vienna, Austria. Laura was born and raised in Bienno, Valsugana, where they married in 1956. They then immigrated to Switzerland, subsequently to Canada, and finally in 1963 to California.
Congratulations Rena and Don, Frank and Silvia, Antonio and Laura!
On May 5th of this year, Frank and Silvia (Torresani) Prevedelli reached their golden anniversary. Friends and family gathered at Prevedelli Farms for a grand celebration. Frank’s parents immigrated from Brez. They initially tried their hand at citrus in Florida, but then made their way to California to grow apples, as is the tradition in the Val di Non. The couple married in Silvia’s native town of Cloz, also in the Val di Non. Fellow Trentino, Father Alberto Mengon, blessed the couple and gave a talk that moved all that were present.
Many Trentini emigrated prior to 1919 when Trentino was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They were not Italian citizens, and consequently their descendants do no have rights to Italian citizenship. Many felt this to be unfair, and so the government enacted a law that gave those in this situation till the end of 2010 to apply for Italian citizenship.
Several of our club members applied, and we are happy to say that all but one has received an Italian passport. Passport recipients so far through this law are: Jim Boin, family from Vigo Cavedine and Lasino in the Val dei Laghi; Beth Bonora and her son Owen Laine, family from Cologna, a hamlet of Tenno in the Alto Garda; Michael Job, family from Torra and Dardine, both hamlets of Taio in the Val di Non; Richard and Gloria Daffner, brother and sister, family from Trento and Cagnò in the Val di Non.
Italian Citizenship – Immigration Prior to 1919
If your Trentino grandparent(s) came to the US after 1919, when Trentino was clearly part of Italy, you may be eligible for citizenship. For more information, see the “Iure Sanguinis” section of the Consulate’s citizenship page, i.e., the right to citizenship via bloodline.
We are delighted to announce that club member Maria Mortati just had her citizenship recognized via “Iure Sanguinis”.
Maria’s father is Calabrian, and her mother’s family is from Giustino in the Val Rendena of Trentino.
In the past year Rino Zueck and Americo “Mac” Agostini celebrated their 80th birthdays. Rino is a native of Brez in the Val di Non. He immigrated to Silverton and Durango, Colorado just after the war at the age of 15, and then to Santa Cruz. Mac’s family is from Cologna in the municipality of Pieve di Bono in the Valle del Chiese. Happy birthday to Rino and Mac!
On February 28th Romeo Zuech in San Luis Obispo celebrated his 90th birthday. Romeo is a native of Brez. He completed his studies in Bolzano and then immigrated to the US. As chronicled in the section “OUR STORIES”, he played an instrumental role in landing us on the moon. After retiring from the aerospace industry, he founded Piedra Creek Winery.
He proudly produces a wine named after the patron saint of Brez, San Floriano, which includes the typical Trentino varietal, Lagrein. Romeo, happy birthday and salute!
On May 17th Father Efram Trettel celebrated his 95th birthday surrounded by friends, including Trentini Luca Dorigatti and Marco Di Ianni. Marco lives in San Francisco, but he was born and raised in Trento. His family operates an iconic pastry shop in the Cristo Re neighborhood of Trento. Luca and Marco frequently visit Father Efrem, and they say he is holding up rather well considering his advanced age.
Father Efrem worked tirelessly in support of the Italian and Trentino community. Happy 95th Padre Efrem!