For the love of La Bella Lingua

Apr 03, 2015 1318

Meet John Zarola, a first generation Italian American who founded the popular and spirited Italian language and conversation group known as Il Circolo. John admits to a strong background in the Calabrian dialect that he heard as a child. "Learning to speak and read standard Italian has been a challenging and enjoyable experience," he told us.

It's one that he shares, gratis, with his 13-member Circolo twice each month to "give us all an opportunity to use and practice the language in a comfortable environment." While John has no academic degree in Italian, he has been studying the language for many years, both on his own and at UNM. He started Il Circolo five years ago as a way to continue learning and practicing the language and to meet others who have the same interest and passion.

He leads his fellow appassionati through gammar exercises and open discussions geared, as he says, "to give us all an opportunity to use and practice the language in a comfortable environment." They share ideas, teach each other and often talk about (what else?) food! Some of the original members of the group still attend regularly; new members are always warmly accepted – especially those who have completed level-one Italian.

Il Circolo is a thriving example of the growing interest in Italian language and culture in New Mexico. Tante grazie to John Zarola and others like him who share their time and knowledge and provide opportunities to experience la dolce vita and to speak la dolce lingua right here in the desert southwest.

Il Circolo meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 2:30 – 4:00 in Room 2 of the Meadowlark Senior Center (4330 Meadowlark Lane) in Rio Rancho. Email John at [email protected].

Source: Italy in New Mexico

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