50th Anniversary

"Diffondere la lingua e la cultura italiane nel mondo."





An Appreciation of The Falkirk Dante Alighieri Society by Ian Ludbrook, President.

Finalmente, eccoci arrivati, abbiamo cinquant’anni quest’anno, Due mila tredici.

Yes, we made it: The Falkirk Dante Alighieri Society is 50 years old this year 2013; February to be exact. What an achievement for our society here in Falkirk, Central Scotland. As far as I’m aware we are one of only 4 remaining Dante affiliated Societies in Scotland still going, the others being Lanark, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

I have been a member of the Falkirk Dante Alighieri or the Dainty Alligators as some of my friends call it, for over 35 years and have had the pleasure of meeting fellow Italianofiles; our members, students, speakers, academics and language teachers.

There have been scores of talks over the last 50 years on many interesting subjects: some with links to the poet Dante from academics; others on various Italian operas, art, historical characters and local Italian connections; to the lighter subjects of food and wine tasting and our own members illustrated talks on Italian holidays and related topics. This has stimulated several accompanied group visits to Italian regions using members and friends as experienced guides. 

We have also been fortunate to have the language classes being run by members, who in their day job were teachers but were willing to come out in the evening to pass on their language skills to fellow members. The most noteworthy is our Honorary President Luciana Wood. Born in Rome, she brought with her the advantage of being a native Italian speaker and for the next 30 years provided an explanation and understanding of the subtle nuances of the language to us all.

Thanks to Angus MacAlister, one of our committee members, we now have this web site and with the success of the society spreading far and wide, native Italian speakers have offered their teaching skills to the Society. Our current teacher for the last 5 years is Santino Bruno, a Sicilian working in the area. His forte is beginning the language class with an Italian tongue-twister or proverb to get both our brains and tongues into gear. The classes end more often than not with a quiz or significant and relevant extract from an Italian film. The Society has also been fortunate in being awarded bursaries from the Central Society in Rome enabling some of our members to attend language courses in Italy.

A society, however, is only as good as its members and given that we’ve been going for 50 years we have obviously had some outstanding and dedicated members, teachers and office bearers. It is due to people like Jean Mclean and Luciana Wood, our President and Secretary for almost 30 years and to Peter Wood, Margaret McCallum, Matthew and Grace King, Gillian and David McLaren, Christine Simm and Neil Melville that the Society has prospered for so long and we also thank all those other stalwart members, many of whom sadly are no longer with us.

I‘ve enjoyed being a member of the Falkirk Dante Alighieri Society and long may it continue. It has been instrumental in fostering the understanding of Italian History, Language and Culture here in Falkirk and hopefully will continue what Hunter Cran, the Rector of Falkirk High School started in 1963 when he inserted that article in The Falkirk Herald inviting anyone with an interest in Italy and it’s culture to come to a meeting in the Temperance Cafe, Lint Riggs, Falkirk on 12th February.

Long may we continue.

Ian Ludbrook

President. ( on behalf of the  2012---2013  Committee in our 50th Year)


It is 50 years since the inaugural meeting of the Dante Alighieri Society in Falkirk took place. During these years the office bearers of the committee and fellow members have strived to keep faith with the article of the Society to defend Italian language and culture throughout the world.

This is a momentous occasion for a small society in a small town such as ours, 50 continuous years.

If we look over the past years, the Society has explored many aspects of Italian culture, history language and food. We have had cultural and historical visits to various parts of Italy and this practise continues to the present day.  In fact we are in a unique situation in Falkirk and the surrounding district with the Antonine Wall running through large tracts of land in the district and through many towns and villages. This has given us many talks about the Romans and their wall from the building of it to the archaeological finds that are on going. Our own President Ian Ludbrook was involved with the successful procedure to have the Wall named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Our speakers have covered many varied topics from Italian music to the travels of Charles Dickens and from Dante’s Inferno to the Mafia and from Gladiators to Castelbuono in Sicily.

Some of our members have had the benefit of attending Italian languages classes in Italy with the aid of financial bursaries, awarded to us by the main Society in Italy.


Some Pictures Old and New

Society1998.jpg (698596 bytes)  SocietyPicnic.jpg (1013118 bytes) Classes01.jpg (199575 bytes) Picnic2.jpg (668360 bytes) Picnic3.jpg (751989 bytes)

Pictures From This Year's Classes

Dante Class 002.JPG (1328463 bytes)   Dante Class 003.JPG (1308370 bytes)

Syllabus Examples

Syllabus1.jpg (304570 bytes) Syllabus2.jpg (455096 bytes)

This Year's Committee

Comm2012.JPG (1332945 bytes)

A Falkirk Herald Report of the Evening can be found HERE



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Last modified: May 27, 2013