Torino can boast brave and charismatic women, who managed to change the herstory of the city, of Italy, and even the world. In fact, among the streets of Torino, you can identify the female imprint left by the women who made the city what it is today.
In this article, you will find the most influential women in Torino, symbols of women emancipation, who, thanks to their strength and determination have inspired and keep inspiring new generations.
Adelaide di Susa
Marquess of Torino, Adelaide di Susa was both a respected and feared woman, who brought the House of Savoy in Piedmont. She married Oddone of Savoy, favoring the establishment of the dynasty that would become the Royal Family of the Reign of Sardinia first, and then the Reign of Italy. Adelaide was a very strong woman, who married three times and had to rule the lands on her own, as her husbands died. The population loved her and her enemies feared her, thanks to her strong diplomatic skills.
Adelaide was the mother-in-law of Henry IV, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. She helped him mediate with the Pope, as Henry was excommunicated by the Church. Not only did she let him pass her lands, but she also accompanied him to Canossa, convincing the Pope to cancel the ex-communication. From this event comes the famous Italian expression “andare a Canossa”, used when someone is strongly humiliated. The love of her people was so strong that Adelaide was also called “la marchesa delle Alpi Cozie” (the Marquess of the Cottian Alps).
Also called “Estella”, Teresa Noce was a partisan and a politician. She was born from a working-class family and she was among the founding members of the Italian Communist Party and she also worked for the French Communist Party. Because of this, she was arrested and deported to three concentration camps in Germany. When World War II ended, she came back to Italy and she became one of the 21 women elected in the Constitutional Assembly. Consequently, Teresa Noce was elected in the first Italian legislature, and one of her biggest achievements was passing a law protecting working mothers.
Jewish descent, Rita Montagnana joined politics at a young age, as she was the regional director of the young socialist movement. She was one of the founding members of Partito Comunista d’Italia, and very active in Italy, France, Spain, and Soviet Union. Rita Montagna was among the women who organized the first celebration of Women’s Day in Italy. Furthermore, together with Teresa Noce, she was the one to establish the golden wattle as the flower of this celebration.
Milena Canonero is an Italian costume designer, who has nine nominations at Oscar and she won 4 awards. She’s been a close collaborator of Stanley Kubrick, as she realized the costumes for Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon. Milena Canonero was also the costume designer for the cult film Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola and she won an Oscar for the costumes in Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson.
Rita Levi Montalcini
The list ends with an important woman, one of the most famous in the world. Rita Levi Montalcini won the Nobel Prize in Medicine thanks to her discovery in the field of neurosciences, as she identified the responsible factor of nervous fibers’ growth. In 1999, she established the Fondazione Levi Montalcini with her twin sister Paola, who was a painter. The Foundation has the aim of educating new generations and it also offers scholarships for female African university students. In 2011, Rita Levi Montalcini was elected Senator for Life by the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.
Take also a look at our tour of Pink Torino.
February 19th, 2021