Learn the history of the Dante Alighieri Society

Below you will find the history of the Pueblo Dante Alighieri Society.


Italy was officially untied as a country in March 1861 with a proclamation from Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy.  Prior to its unification, Italy was a collection of independent states, duchies, and regions, some of which were controlled by foreign powers. Forging a nation out of several independent entities was a remarkable feat that some believed to have been utterly impossible.  Thanks to the ideals of the Risorgimento (the Italian unification movement) and the Savoy family, Italy became a unified country.  It is because of figures like Cavour, Mazzini, and Garibaldi that Italian history, culture, and language could flourish. Italians could be proud of their ancient and rich heritage which would unite them and help them forge a nationwide consciousness with a national identity. Massimo d’Azeglio famously wrote, “Fatta l'Italia, bisogna fare gli italiani.” (Italy has been made, now it is time to make the Italians.) Many have stated that it was harder to make the Italian people than uniting the nation.

Not long after the unification of Italy, a mass migration of Italians to other countries in Europe, North and South America, and Australia began and continued throughout the twentieth century. Millions of emigrants felt a kinship with their country of origin and wanted to preserve a sense of Italian culture and language, for themselves and their children. At the same time, the richness of Italian regions and cultures along with the beauty of the Italian language (i.e. Tuscan) enthralled many people who were not of Italian descent.

To reach out to all these people in 1889 a group in Rome, led by the Italian writer and literary critic Giosuè Carducci (1835-1907), the first Italian to receive the Nobel Prize in literature, formed the Dante Alighieri Society whose mission would be to promote the language, literature, and culture of the Italian peninsula. The society was named for Italy’s famous medieval writer, Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy. Initially centered in Italy, the Dante Alighieri Society soon expanded to cities throughout the world where Italians had settled and where other admirers of all things Italian could gather, learn, and appreciate all Italy had to offer in regards to art, music, design, fashion, cuisine, politics, science, and cultural history. Currently, there are over 80 active Dante chapters throughout Italy, and over 500 Dante Alighieri Societies throughout the world.

The Dante Alighieri Society of Pueblo, Colorado was founded by Father Christopher Tomatis on October 24, 1977 and ratified by the Dante Alighieri in Rome, Italy on December 3, 1977. Since its inception, the Dante Alighieri Society of Pueblo has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to students of Italian.

Contact Us

Call Us

+1 (719) 549-2243

Email Us