Monday, February 2, 2015

'Italian Americans, California Italians' and a few random notes

'Italian Americans, California Italians' (UCLA YouTube channel)

From the video description:

This video records the beginning of a conference at UCLA titled "Italian Americans, California Italians." It was the first of its kind, made up of nearly a dozen scholarly presentations and discussions aiming to define "California Italians" within the more generic group of "Italian Americans." This opening, introductory statement to a full room was made by the Chairman of UCLA's Department of Italian, Professor Thomas Harrison.

Columbus... born in Genoa

You may be aware that the origin of Columbus has been in some dispute due to a somewhat surprising lack of evidence of his early life in Genoa. However, it does appear that he was of Genoese ancestry.

"Yo nacio en Genoba" ("I was born in Genoa")

--Written in Christopher Columbus' Will; February 22, 1498

"La California"

The small town of La California, along the Tuscan coast, was founded by Leonetto Cipriani. Cipriani--who was Corsican--had spent many years traveling, especially in California and the west coast of the United States. He was influential, and was acquainted with the Count of Cavour, and was something of an ambassador for a unified Italy of which he very much wanted Corsica to be included. He wrote an account of his travels entitled 'California And Overland Diaries of Count Leonetto Cipriani From 1853 through 1871'. He co-founded the city of Belmont, California in San Mateo County.

Bargetto Winery (Santa Cruz Mountains)

I love the Santa Cruz Mountains. Any excuse to visit will not disappoint. It even resembles parts of the Cisalpine Alps or the Apennine Mountains. I have not visited this winery. Feel free to send a short or long review ( for posting.

Our History (from website)

The Bargetto winemaking heritage began with brothers Phillip and John Bargetto who emigrated from Castelnuovo Don Bosco, a small town in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. They brought with them years of winegrowing experience when they established BARGETTO WINERY on the banks of Soquel Creek in California.

Phillip was the first to depart Italy in 1891 at the age of seventeen. In 1909 John joined his brother in San Francisco.
The original Bargetto family winery was located in San Francisco from 1910-1917. The name of this winery was South Montebello Vineyard and Wine Company. With Prohibition on the horizon the winery was closed and the brothers moved to Soquel in 1917.

Phillip and John purchased the present site of BARGETTO WINERY in 1918 and began making wine out of an old barn on the property. During Prohibition (1919-1933), the brothers continued to make wine for family and friends, while they continued to sell produce to local customers. They also grew apples at the family ranch in Soquel. When Prohibition ended in 1933, the brothers devoted more time to the wine business. They began a wine wholesale business, while they continued to sell produce wholesale.

Phillip Bargetto passed away in 1936 and John was left the sole owner of the business throughout the 1940s and 1950s. He continued to produce wine and sell wholesale and retail. He was joined by his sons Ralph and Lawrence during these years.

The Next Generation

The Bargetto Family winemaking heritage continued with John’s son Lawrence during the 1960s and 1970s. He introduced modern technology such as stainless steel fermentation, barrel aging, and added new Santa Cruz Mountains varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He also created the CHAUCER’S line of dessert-style wines.


The third generation of Bargettos now direct the operation of the winery. BARGETTO WINERY represents the oldest continuous-operation winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Their pioneering spirit continued with the establishment of Bargetto Regan Estate Vineyards, near Corralitos, California in 1992. Here, cool-climate varietals like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio are carefully nurtured to produce BARGETTO WINERY’s estate wines. In keeping with the family heritage, the winery also incorporates northern Italian varietals from its Estate Vineyard into its flagship LA VITA wine.

Voynich manuscript
This work is in the form of a short book, filled with illustrations of plants, geometric shapes, and an unknown text. It appears very deep and scientific, but there has not yet been any way to read its secrets. The book is available for purchase, free in pdf form online, documentaries on YouTube, and lots of general information in a search.. so I won't bother with links. You may want to examine it and attempt to understand it. The best I could come up with is that the characters look a bit like ancient Indo-European Tocharian writing, and the illustrations remind me of Fibonacci patterns. Very strange.

From Wikipedia:

The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The vellum in the book pages has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish book dealer who purchased it in 1912.

The pages of the codex are vellum. Some of the pages are missing, but about 240 remain. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams.

The Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. No one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text, and it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography. The mystery of the meaning and origin of the manuscript has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript the subject of novels and speculation. None of the many hypotheses proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified.

The Voynich manuscript was donated by Hans P. Kraus[6] to Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1969, where it is catalogued under call number MS 408. A digitized high-resolution copy is also accessible freely at its website.


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