Visitors from Trentino 2019

Jim Boin was a former board member of our club. After retirement he decided to relocate to his hometown of Chicago. He visited us in 2019 and plans to do so again once it is safe to travel. In February of 2019, Mirko Martinelli and his family vacationed here in California. Mirko runs the Hotel Martinelli in the Val di Gresta. It was the 50th anniversary of the hotel, and this excursion to California was part of the celebration. We did not know Mirko, but he has numerous friends here in California that put on cycling trips in the Val di Gresta. One of those cyclists organized a welcoming party at his home in San Carlos and invited our club members to attend. Ivo Finotti, secretary of the Toronto Trentino Club, is also from
Val di Gresta. He flew to the Bay Area and surprised the family with his presence.

Mirko Martinelli and family in Santa Cruz

Passages 2019, Remembering those we lost.

Elena (Zuech) Aspromonte

Elena Aspromonte passed away in Santa Cruz on January 30, 2019. Elena was born in Brez, Val di Non to Giovanni Battista Zuech and Fiorella Menghini. At the age of 17, she immigrated to Silverton, Colorado. She then settled in Durango where she married Joe Aspromonte, of Abruzzese origin. They moved to California in search of a better life and to be close to Elena’s relatives in Watsonville, the Prevedellis. She became a widow at a young age and later married Dennis Wall. She had 3 children: Dan, Billand Mark. She had a very successful career in the hotel industry. She also leaves her brother Rino (Gemma) Zueck and sister-in-law Anna Angeli. The day after she passed, the bells in Brez rang in her honor. Several members of the Circolo Trentino attended the funeral and sang the Inno Trentino (Trentino Anthem) and her favorite, Mazzolin dei Fiori.

Genuina Corradi Franceschetti

On March 5, 2019 at age 104 Genuina Corradi Franceschetti passed away. Genuina’s family was from Daone in the Valli Giudicarie. She married Marino Franceschetti from the nearby village of Cologna. They settled in Solvay, New York, the destination of many immigrants from the Valli Giudicarie. In the late 40s they moved to Palo Alto, and Marino worked as a painter at Moffett Field.

Dirce Frank Rond

Dirce Frank Rond passed away on March 10, 2019. Her parents, John Frank (Franch) and Felicita Flor, had their origins in Cloz, Val di Non. In addition to raising 6 kids, she was a campaign manager for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, an English teacher, a school instruction aide and an assistant to the Vietnamese community. Also, she was a member of the Lodi Merrymakers Dance Club with her husband Lemuel. Her sister Ruby and brother-in-law Bob Zanoni are longtime, active members of our club.

Ester Bugna

Longtime club member, Ester Bugna, passed away May 6, 2019. Her father Giacobbe Bugna was from Bersone and her mother Rosalia Nicolini was from Daone. Both towns are in the Valli Giudicarie. Her father initially immigrated to Mexico, as did so many other Trentini. During WWI her father kept a diary, where he chronicled his life as an evacuee, fleeing deathand destruction in war-torn Trentino. Those writings are archived in Tione and have been part of a travelling performance, La Guerra di Giacobbe.
Ester’s mother was pregnant with her when they immigrated to California. Her father worked as a gardener on the Fernwood Estate in Atherton. Ester obtained a degree in biology and worked at the NASA-Ames Research Center for 35 years. Her late husband, Ted Sorenson, served as the mayor of Menlo Park, and Ester was active in the town’s historical association.
Ester kept close contact with her relatives in Italy and loved delving into Trentino history and culture. She became good friends with Mary Beth Moser, the president of the Seattle Trentino Club. Mary Beth wrote a thesis entitled: The Everyday Spirituality of Women in the Italian Alps: A Trentino American Woman’s Search for Spiritual Agency, Folk Wisdom, and Ancestral Values. After reading the thesis, Ester made a comment that summed up her life: I love the analogy of a life as a woven piece of fabric. Lately I have been visualizing my eight decades as 8 blocks of yarn, each block with 10 rows of yarn with different textures and colors, depending on what I was experiencing.

Frank Rauzi

Frank Rauzi passed away in Stockton on December 27, 2019 at the age of 92. Frank’s father, Francesco, was from the Cloz, Val di Non, and his mother, Edith Anna Armanino, was from Stockton. He had fond memories of times spent in Cloz as a child. He was an active member of our club along with his
wife of 66 years, Marilyn. Every 2 years Frank and Bob Zanoni organized our club’s Christmas feast in Stockton. In 2015 we presented him with a plaque in honor of his many years of dedicated service.
Frank worked in the family meat business and then spent 35 years as a sales representative for Gallo Salami Company. Following the family tradition, Frank’s three sons, Grant, Frank Jr. and Kurt, gather together once a year to make homemade salamis and sausages. Frank was involved in many sport, charity and service organizations. In his memory our club made a donation to an organization that was dear to him, the TLC Foundation for Homeless Children of San Joaquin County. The Foundation responded: Frank always supported our mission and cared for the children we served. He would be pleased by your kind gesture.

Jacqueline “Jackie” Cologna

Jacqueline “Jackie” Cologna, wife of club member Max Cologna, passed away on January 26, 2019. Jackie, a native San Franciscan, was born to Calabrian parents, Nick and Rose D’Andrea. Max is originally from the Ogden, Utah area, where there is a large Trentino community and club. His parents were from Castelfondo in the Val di Non.

Florio Angeli and Giuseppe “Joe” Angeli

Club member Luca Angeli lost two dear uncles in 2019, Florio Angeli in Cloz, Val di Non, and Giuseppe “Joe” Angeli in St. Louis, Missouri. Joe immigrated to St. Louis with his two brothers, Lino and Silvio. Upon retirement he spent a good part of each year in his native Cloz. A VitaTrentina article honored his legacy and quoted him as saying: Life is short; a day without joy is a loss.

Murder Mystery Set in California and Trentino

James Bacca, brother of club member Glenda Bacca, is an accomplished writer. James retired as a detective of the Turlock Police Department and then moved to Arizona. Rumor of Death, is the first in a series of 3 novels he has written on the adventures f AJ Conti, a confident California homicide
detective. AJ Conti travels to Rumo, Val di Non, to visit relatives and seek some tranquility, but he is soon asked to help investigate some suspicious local deaths. The book was translated in Italian, Voci di Morte. James was featured in the newspaper Trentino and gave an official book presentation in Rumo May of 2019. Congratulations to James on the success of this murder mystery series!
James’ daughter, Kortne Bacca Hiskey, lives in the South Bay with her husband Brian. They have attended our most recent events.

2019, New members:

Sara Merzi

September of 2019 club president, Giuseppina Piasente Alvarez, hosted our annual picnic at her home in Sonoma. We had two surprise visitors, the Trentina Sara Merzi, accompanied by her partner Stefano Santo Sabato from the heel of Italy, Lecce, Puglia. Sara was born and raised in Trentino. Her father Bruno was from the city of Trento. Her mother Luisa and maternal grandparents, Roberto Viola and Silvia Tait, were from Mezzocorona. Stefano founded Mediasoft, a software company with headquarters in Puglia, Rome and Verona. He and Sara then created a branch of the company in San Francisco, a start-up called Fyberloom, “weaving fragmented data into integrated knowledge.” Sara has been senior vice-president of Mediasoft since 2017. Previously she worked in China and Mexico. She was an active member of the Trentino Club of Mexico City.

New club member Sara Merzi, 2nd from the right; also from the left, Dario Zuech, Dan Aspromonte, Gemma Angeli Zueck and Marjorie Zuech

Bob and Ruby Zanoni 65th Wedding Anniversary

Bob and Ruby Zanoni celebrated their 65th Anniversary. They were married on June 12, 1954 in Stockton. Bob’s father’s family is from Cloz in the Val di Non and his mother was a Panizza from the Val di Sole. Ruby’s parents, Franch and Flor, were also from Cloz. A belated congratulations to Bob and Ruby!

Mayor of Millbrae

Reuben Holober, grandson of club members Antonio and Laura (Floriani) Vitlacil, was elected to the Millbrae City Council in 2013 at the age of 25. He has served as mayor twice. Reuben’s late mother Nadia also served as mayor of Millbrae. From a quote in the San Francisco Chronicle: She’s (Nadia) really been an inspiration – both of my parents from a very young age instilled in me the value of public service. Reuben also works as a Budget and Legislative Analyst for the City and County of San Francisco. Antonio and Laura are from the Valsugana. Laura was a founding member of our club and our first vice-president. In 2015 the President of the Trentino Province sent Laura a letter applauding her years of dedicated service to the Trentino community. Her grandson is now following that family tradition of public service.

Agricultural Woman of the Year

Ag Against Hunger chose Silvia (Torresani) Prevedelli as the 2019 Agricultural Woman of the Year for Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. Silvia was born and raised in Cloz, Val di Non. She immigrated in 1966 to work alongside her husband Frank at Prevedelli Farms in Watsonville, California. Frank’s parents, Arturo Prevedel and Errina Menghini, immigrated from Brez, Val di Non. The Val di Non is well-known throughout Europe for its delicious apples, namely the Melinda brand. The Prevedelli family produces 36 varieties of organic apples. They sell their apples along with an assortment of other fruits, vegetables, homemade jams, etc. at more than 10 farmers markets in the Bay Area and beyond.

Silvia at the Prevedelli Farms in Watsonville

Web site:

Italian Citizenship: Bravo Attilio!

Italian and Finnish passports are rated the fourth most powerful in the world because they provide visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 188 countries. They rank ahead of the US, the UK and all other European Union countries except Germany.

According to attorney Lara Olivetti, who spoke at our 2019 spring gathering at Terun Pizzeria, a special parliamentarian commission has been set up to discuss limiting the right of citizenship by descent. Some want to restrict it to first generation children born abroad and only spouses living in Italy. Therefore, if you are interested in obtaining your Italian citizenship, you may want to act soon. On that note, board member Attilio Mussi recently obtained his Italian passport. Congratulations Attilio!

Attilio Mussi at the Italian Consulate with his new Italian Passport

Chocolate Salami

Elena Gumina and her husband Luca Angeli have been part of our club for many years. Elena Gumina, is a chocolatier. She sharpened her skills at the Gambero Rosso Culinary Academy in Rome. She recently launched an online business Angels Food Chocolate selling her delicious chocolate salamis.

Angels Food Chocolate brings together two cultures in one decadent delight. Chocolate Salami is a fun treat found in the more upscale confectionery shops (pasticcerie) around Italy.

Chocolate Salami became Elena family’s holiday tradition. Each is hand-molded of local chocolate and fresh ingredients. The artisanal quality comes through in each bite. It is our pleasure to share this tradition with you.