“I am most passionate about bringing my knowledge [of tasting] to consumers, “said an enthusiastic Orietta Gianjorio, a native Italian from Rome,...
If art and architecture are the fabric of Italian history, then literature and poetry are the threads that weave it all together. When you have goliaths like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo casting the monumental shadows that are recognized around the world, it is easy to overlook some of the great literary masters and masterpieces that have been products of Italy as well.
In the mid-16th century – 1555, to be precise – a poem by the name of “The Divine Comedy” was published by the poet Dante Alighieri. It grew to be one of the most epic poems in literary history and is now considered to be one of the greatest written works in world history.
A little more than two centuries later, a Venetian poet by the name of Lorenzo Da Ponte wrote the librettos for three of Mozart’s most famous operas: “Don Giovanni,” “Le Nozze di Figaro,” and “Così Fan Tutte.”
These are just two names in a long list of great Italian poets throughout the history of the country and proof that Italy has a longstanding history of excellence with the written word.
On a more local level, San Diego’s Aldo Della Ragione is another Italian who loves to express himself and his love of his native country through poetry.
Della Ragione lived in the coastal town of Anzio on the outskirts of Rome until he was 18 years old, when the travel bug bit him and he took to the high seas. After spending close to seven years with an Italian cruise line, Della Ragione began working for Princess Cruise Lines in 1984. It would seem only fitting that he should meet the love of his life – now his wife, Deborah – while working with the cruise line that served as the setting for the then-popular television series “Love Boat.”
Della Ragione continued to travel the world on Princess Cruise ships while simultaneously completing his education in various places around the world. He ultimately set anchor in San Diego, where he became –and remains to this day – a travel agent specializing in European and Italian vacation packages as well as cruises.
A few years ago, Della Ragione explains, he discovered another passion in his life: Poetry.
Della Ragione uses rhyme and verse to express the love he will always have for Italy, which he says has and will always remain in his heart despite the fact that America is now his home.
“I’m inspired by [different] things that have happened in my life and [things] I miss about Italy,” he says. “I don’t consider myself a poet [per say]; just a person who loves describing in rhyme the love he has for his native land.”
Whether his words are written in Italian or English, the love he has for his Italian roots and heritage are evident in the carefully crafted verses of his poetry. His poem entitled “San Biagio” is a perfect example of this as his words paint a beautiful picture in the reader’s mind of what visiting this small town during the summertime is like:
“With the nice weather and the warm sun / People go to the lake to have some fun. / Parties with music and songs in the square / if you want to sit down bring your own chair. / You can play, sing or dance until late night / Or listen to music and enjoy the moonlight. / It’s very safe! As they all know each other / they could be your cousins, sisters or brothers.”
Several of his poems are available on his YouTube channel, performed by the poet himself. His work has also been published in newsletters by various Italian organizations including the Italian Cultural Center of San Diego and the House of Italy, of which he is an active member.
ICC and House of Italy President Roberto Ruocco, who honored Della Ragione by reciting his poem “L’Emigrante” at one of House of Italy’s meetings, calls Della Ragione “a true poet of our culture who delighted our meetings with his poetic production.”