IHCC-NY Celebrates Dante September 14, 2021

Sep 27, 2021 900

BY: Nancy Indelicato

The legacy of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) was commemorated on September 14, the date in 1321 of his death, with two major events in New York, continuing the celebrations of Dante 700.

The sun shone brightly on Dante’s image at Lincoln Center in New York City for the rededication of the conserved larger-than-life-sized bronze sculpture by Ettore Ximenes, depicting the great poet and philosopher, author of the Divina Commedia.  The sculpture stands over 25 feet tall, an imposing figure befitting Dante and his monumental contribution to humanity. 

The Manhattan Parks Commissioner William Castro hosted the Rededication of the Recently Conserved Dante Alighieri Monument on the centennial of the initial dedication of the Dante Statue in Dante Park, renamed for him on that day in 1921, funded by Carlo Barsotti, editor of Il Progresso Italo-Americano, and the Italian Americans of New York, who commemorated the 600th Anniversary of the epic poet’s death that year. The 2021 rededication also marks the 700th Anniversary of Dante’s death.  In evidence was the skilled work of the NYC Parks conservation staff, apprentices, and the City Cleanup Corps.

The program included city officials, Consul General of Italy in New York Fabrizio Di Michele, Dante scholars and Scuola d’Italia students. Founder and President of Institute for Italian American Experience and IHCC-NY Board Member Uff. Mico Delianova Licastro read remarks from Hon. Michele De Pascale, Mayor of Ravenna, the city of Dante’s exile and tomb.  IHCC-NY President/Chair Comm. Joseph Sciame and Board members Nancy Indelicato and Cav. Josephine Maietta were invited guests.

Excitement in the air followed, the evening of September 14, at the classic, elegant restaurant Il Gattopardo in New York City as the IHCC-NY, in cooperation with the Accademia Italiana della Cucina (the Italian Academy of Cuisine) hosted a grand, unique historical dinner for its members and guests,  La Cucina Ai Tempi di Dante (The Cuisine of Dante’s Time).  The menu mirrored a medieval culinary feast, including meats, ancient grains, wild greens, fruits, and vegetables, devoid of tomatoes not yet introduced to Europe, and Dante’s favorite UOVA (EGGS)! 

The dinner was suggested and coordinated by Cav. Dott, Berardo Paradiso, IHCC-NY Board member, President of Italian American Committee on Education and President of the SoHo chapter of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, which gathers monthly to review a restaurant and uphold the high standard of Italy’s cuisine.

Cav. Dott. Paradiso guided the guests through the history of Dante’s time and the foods and wines reminiscent of the era.  Co-host IHCC President/Chair Comm. Joseph Sciame presented the first official Dante theme poster to Minister Fabrizio Di Michele, who gave remarks on the importance of Dante.  Guests of honor included Consul General Fabrizio Di Michele; Deputy Consul General Cesare Bieller; and Professor Fabio Finotti, Director, Italian Cultural institute of NYC.

Professor Finotti underscored Dante’s making the Italian language universal and his being a proponent of man’s equality.  Professor Cav. Anthony J. Tamburri, Ph.D., President, Societa` Dante Alighieri a New York, and IHCC-NY Honorary Board member, noted the American dedication to Dante studies, citing John Ciardi’s translation of the Divina Commedia and Joseph Tusiani’s writings on Dante.

President/Chair Comm. Joseph Sciame commenting on the success of the event said, “Our dinner recognizing the 700th anniversary of Dante’s far surpassed our expectations, both in attendance and as a grand tribute to a man who changed so much for language in its widest sense for the world.”  Cav. Berardo Paradiso stated, “The courses as presented by the Italian born Chef Vito Gnazzo at Il Gattopardo were researched and carefully planned to meet the wishes of the Board to be reminiscent of the Dante years, and we did it!” “Thanks also for the assistance of restaurant Manager Gianfranco Sorrentino.”

Each guest received a Dante poster, designed by architecture student at Politecnico di Milano, Michele Giampaolo; the IHCC-NY 45th Anniversary poster, designed by printer Luciano Di Rico; and the commemorative bookmark of Dante’s Life and Famous Quotes, written by IHCC-NY Board Member Nancy Indelicato.

Monuments, ceremonies, cuisine…as the language of Dante…pass culture from one generation to the next and thereby create their own history.  The IHCC-NY remains true to its mission of preserving, promoting and presenting Italian culture and heritage…even through the pandemic and beyond.  President/Chair Sciame continues his fundamental role in guiding the IHCC-NY to even higher standards of representing Italian culture.

Dante was truly brilliant on this day, as always.


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