The Voice of the Swan – Newsletter of the San Francisco Chapter

Ciao Martino
15 gennaio 2018
28 febbraio 2018


A Voxé du Cigno

Newsletter of the S. F. Chapter of the Liguri nel Mondo


After 6 years I will no longer be President of the Associazione Liguri Nel Mondo – San Francisco Chapter.  It has been an Honor and Privilege to have had the opportunity to serve as President.

I want to thank our Governor, Richard Cuneo for all his support and guidance.  I also want to thank all the Officers and Board Members that have served with me during those years, and all the members that gave me their support.

It is with great pride that I say our Associazione Liguri is in very good standing.  We have to date 225 members.  Mille Grazie  – Arlene M. Callegari


We are grateful to Arlene for her leadership and service to our Association as President!  Also retiring, after many years, is Louise Oneto, our Treasurer. We appreciate her dedicated service and all she’s done over the years. Grazie Luisa per tutto il tuo lavoro!


Our last two events of 2017 were a great success as always!  Sincere thanks to Don and Patsy Calegari for hosting our annual picnic at their beautiful Calegari Vineyards. Thank you also to all who put in their time and efforts to make this event the best ever! The money raised in various ways at the picnic was appropriated to the scholarship fund.

Our Festa di Natale at the Basque Cultural Center was a wonderful celebration! Arlene Callegari and Susan de Vincenzi were responsible for setting up a festive event with music by the George Campi Band. It was a wonderful way to close out the year!


I previously mentioned that George Campi had given me a list of the original members of the Sunset Scavenger Company.  He has since informed me that there are photos at Fugazi Hall (3rd floor) with Scavengers’ Protective Union banners in the background.

I also heard from former President of Sunset Scavenger and Liguri nel Mondo member, Leonard Stefanelli. He sent me an article (which I can email to anyone requesting it) that he authored for The Argonaut Journal of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. This article resulted in him writing a book entitled “Garbage, The Saga of a Boss Scavenger in San Francisco”, published by University of Nevada Press.  The book can be purchased on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.


The following excerpt from an article by Joanne Shurvell appeared in on December 30, 2017.  The city of Genoa was listed under the title of “Five under the Radar Destinations for 2018”.

Genoa, Italy 

The birthplace of Christopher Columbus and pesto sauce is still the largest port in Italy but it’s also the site of 150 palaces, 42 of which are Unesco World Heritage sites. Genoa’s charms may not be immediately apparent but a closer look at some of these hidden palaces in what is the largest medieval city centre in Europe (it has 28 km of medieval streets) is fascinating. Just outside of the historic city In a suburb of Genoa, is Nervi with a beautiful park, villas, museums and a seaside promenade. Within the Nervi park is the Wolfsoniana decorative arts museum, the Italian partner to the Wolfsoniana in the Art Deco District of Miami, founded by collector Mitchell Wolfson Jr.  The Wolfsoniana features over 18,000 objects of glassware, ceramics, sculpture, furniture and more, mainly from Italy dating from 1880-1945. It’s also worth spending time at the three other museums in the park, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Frugone Collections and the Museum Luxoro.


On April 25, 2017, The New York Times had an article entitled “Genoa Isn’t Rome or Florence. That’s part of its charm.” If you want to read this lengthy article, plus one that appeared in the May 27, 2010 edition, enter “New Your Times, Genoa” on Google search. Both articles are very complimentary.

The April 25th article states that, unlike Rome, Florence or Venice, “There are no pre-digested lists of must-see attraction or must-do activities. The city invites – in fact it requires – you have your own experience.” The article quotes an American expatriate who has lived in Genoa since 1968 as saying, “Once Genoa gets inside of you, it cannot be purged” and “Genoa has a heart and soul like no other.” The article points out that Genova is a place of firsts:  the first bank – San Giorgio Bank established in 1407, the first soccer team (1893), the most famous explorer – Christoforo Colombo, and the most notable prisoner – Marco Polo, imprisoned in 1298 when Genoa and Venice were at was. (Genoa won the war.) The article was written by Michael Frank under NY Times articles called “Favorite Place”. Mr. Frank, a part-time resident of Zena, has a comment which, I’m sure, is shared by many: “Attracted by the city’s unfolding mysteries, unwavering authenticity, distinct language and food, sardonic worldview and its ferocious past, I have prowled its streets for more than 15 years now, wondering the whole time why there are so few others doing the same.” I urge you all to read this article!


Chiavari has created a museum for the Sedie De Chiavari, the Chairs from Chiavari. They are often used for weddings and other large events as they are sturdy, nice looking and especially light in weight. In the US, they are pronounced “Cha-varry”.  It wasn’t until I actually saw some that I realized that they were actually “Chiavari” chairs


I recently saw a comment on Facebook, taken from an article in il Giornale, that said that there are more people in Italy that speak Arabic than the various Italian dialects.

I am a big proponent of speaking the dialect. (Zeneize is actually a language but, among the public, it is considered a dialect.) When I’m in Italy, it concerns me that I find the majority of people under 50 years of age understand, but do not speak, the dialect.

The article, “L’Italia ha perso la lingua: separlapiu L’arabo dei dialetti”, was based on data from ISTAT, the Italian Census Bureau.  Some statistics:

  1. Only 14% of the population in Italy speak predominantly their dialect with their own family, 12% with friends and 4% with the remainder.
  2. Fewer people speak the dialect in Northwest and Central Italy. Liguria is in the Northwest of Italy. The dialect is more generally spoken in the North East and Southern Italy.
  3. The disappearance of the dialects corresponds with the number of people where the main language is not Italian. The number of people who speak predominantly a foreign language has increased from 4.1% in 2016 to 9.6% in 20215. The most common foreign tongues spoken are Romanian, Arabic, Albanese, Spanish and Chinese. The diminished use of the dialects was considered a deep loss in the 1970’s. The famous Italian poet, writer, intellectual and moviemaker Prei Paolo Pasolini, a proponent of the use of dialects, said that the disappearance of the dialect was a tragedy. “Without the knowledge of the dialect we lose our identity.”

A headline in the newspaper, il nuovo Levante, caught my eye. Translated from the Italian, it states, “1110 born and 2338 died. We are disappearing!” These statistics are from ISTAT, the Italian census organization. The statistic applies to what is referred to as il Levante, the East. This area is composed of 34 comuni east of Genova, which include Chiavari, Rapallo and Sestri Levante. Some of the births were in families who are not Italian.  


In previous issues of Avoxe, I mentioned that there are several stores in San Francisco and the Bay Area that have Ligurian wines available. There was an article in the August, 2017 issue of Wine and Spirits magazine. The article “Liguria from Quirkey to Chic” is mostly about Cheri Smith’s love for Liguria and its wines. Ms. Smith owns Biondivino, a wine shop specializing in Italian wines, in San Francisco and also in Palo Alto. The article lists a dozen wines from Liguria chosen by Cheri with notes about them from Wolfgang Weber, the author of the article. These wines and more are available at Biondivino, 1415 Green Street, San Francisco and at Town & Country Village, 855 El Camono Real, Suite 160, Palo Alto. For further information see the website at The short and loving article in Wine & Spirits can be accessed at


Rustic Mushroom and Potatoes

1 lb. mushrooms, porcini if available

1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes

1 clove garlic

few sprigs of parsley


Finely chop the garlic and parsley and lightly sauté with olive oil in a non-stick pan. Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes and add to pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, which have been thoroughly cleaned and cut into small cubes. Add salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and stir frequently. Cook on low heat for an additional 20 minutes until potatoes are completely done.

This tasty dish is best when using young porcini, however other mushrooms can be used.

Variation: Some people use oregano or marjoram in lieu of the parsley. Others add the parsley during the last few minutes of cooking time.

In Zeneize, oregano is cornabuggia and marjoram is persa.


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