Maria Dalle Donne (1778-1842) was the first woman to ever obtain a doctorate in
medicine. She achieved this in 1799 at the University of Bologna.
Her research focused on female reproduction and
fertility, as well as neonatal medical issues. She was the second woman to ever
become a member of the prestigious Ordine
dei Benedettini Accademici Pensionati, and in 1832 she became the Director of the Department of Midwifery at
the University of Bologna.
Compagnoni (b. 1970) is a retired alpine skier from
Italy. She was won a total of six gold medals in international competitions, of
which three in the Winter Olympics.
She participated in three different Olympic
Games, winning gold in all of them. In addition, she won a total of 16 races in
the Alpine Skiing World Cup, and is considered the best Italian skier of all
was an Italian scientist. She was a pioneer of microbiology applied to conservation
She obtained her PhD
from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, and went on to work in the
laboratory of Microbiology at ICR Rome. Her work was instrumental in uncovering
the microbial types responsible for alterations of archaeological and
architectural monuments. This helped ensure the proper restoration and
conversation of numerous historical sites throughout Rome and the world.
Caccini (1587-1641) was an Italian musician during the early Baroque era. Her
only surviving stage work, La liberazione
di Ruggiero, is likely the oldest opera in the world by a female composer.
She was part of the Medici court as a teacher and singer, and quickly
became the highest paid musician there. Although very little of her music
survives, there is evidence she was a very prolific and talented composer.
Maria Spelterini (1853-1912) was an Italian acrobat. She was the first woman to cross the Niagara gorge on a tightrope, a feat achieved in 1876.
She crossed for the first time on July 8, as part of the celebrations for the US Centennial. She repeated the feat several times over the following weeks, crossing the gorge with peach baskets strapped to her feet, blindfolded, or with manacled wrists and feet.
Margherita Hack (1922-2013) was an Italian astrophysicist. She was an international expert in the field, and member of numerous prestigios associations, including NASA and the European Space Agency.
In 1964 she became the first female administrator of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory. In 1985 she became the Director of the Astronomy Department at the University of Trieste. The asteroid 8558 Hack, discovered in 1995, is named after her.
Gianotti (b. 1960) is the current Director-General of CERN, the European
Organization for Nuclear Research. She is the first woman to hold this
She is a particle physicist, with a PhD from the University of Milan. She
has received prestigious awards such as the Enrico Fermi Prize or the
Fundamental Physics Prize: Special Breakthrough for her efforts in discovering
a new Higgs-like particle.
was an Italian composer, and gifted singer and harpsichordist. Unfortunately,
few of her works survive to the present day.
was born in a noble family, and enjoyed success around Europe, especially in
Italy, Germany, and Austria. She wrote several operas, and smaller,
technically-challenging compositions for keyboard.
Cristina Trivulzio di
Belgiojoso (1808-1871) was
an Italian noblewoman who played a prominent part in Italy’s struggle for
independence. She is also notable as a writer and journalist, having published
many works about the lack of education for women.
She was considered the
richest heiress in Italy at age 16. After separating from her husband she
started a salon in Paris which became a popular meeting place for Italian and
French revolutionaries. During her lifetime she had to flee multiple times from
oppressive regimes because or her principles.