Free Walking Tour stands for the Elimination of Violence against Women

On the evening of 25th November of 2019, Free Walking Tour, in partnerships with local NGO's and local civil rights associations, organized a special walk to pay homage to local Women: Donne di Modena (Women of Modena). The tour hosted many local female testimonials who had marked important achievements in different fields: political commitment, social engagement, professional life, etc. 

The tour revived important women of the past, when, most of the time, being a women was - and somehow still is - discriminating. Here you will find a brief selection of stories we think is worth to tell.

Gina Borellini (1919-2007)
Partisan and Member of Parliament

Known as “Kira” during World War II, she was one of the 19 women to obtain the Medal of Honor for military bravery. She gave shelter to soldiers who escaped from the front, then she joined the “Remo” brigade with her husband. She was repeatedly captured and tortured but she never showed any signs of yielding. After the war she became a member of parliament and founded UDI - Italian women’s union - where she battled for women’s civil rights till her death.

Alfonsina Strada (1891-1959)

Alfonsina Strada was the first woman ever to participate in the Giro d’Italia competition. She was one of the 30 cyclists to cross the finishing line (the participants were almost 90). She then continued with her passion until she won the women’s record in Longchamp in 1938. When she retired from professional sport, she opened a bicycle shop in Milan where she repaired broken bicycles.

Virginia Reiter (1862-1937)

Virginia Reiter was a talented theatre actress. In 1882 she joined her first theatre company with Giovanni Emanuel and after only five years she became first actress. After that, she found her success in Italy but also in the world. In 1900 she founded her own company with Francesco Pasta, where she also practiced her masterpiece Madame Sans-Gêne di Victorien Sardou and Émile Moreau. She succeeded in decreasing the strict boundaries between genres and roles.

Le Paltadore 

Today in Modena’s dialect the term “paltadora” is used to indicate a woman who talks a lot, but the origins of this term are quite different. Paltadora was used to refer to the women who worked in Tobacco’s manufacture in Modena. In 1850 they were almost 1500 and their work was so repetitive that they were allowed to talk to spend time. The most beautiful thing about paltadore was that their job created a deep connection between them and a great feeling of solidarity. When one was in need, the others immediately helped to the length that some also nursed the other’s babies when the mother couldn’t.


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Marissa Roderick - February 16, 2023

Dear webmaster, You always provide great resources and references.

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