It is easy to see why international star Monica Vitti, one of Italy’s most famous actresses of the 20th century, is an admired favorite of Giovanna Battaglia. Vitti was an alluring beauty with originality and versatility much like Gio herself. She could not only act, she carved her niche in comedy, an arena mainly dominated by men at the time. Vitti was bright and determined to succeed at a young age; even as a teenager she acted in amateur productions. She attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome and graduated in 1953 with her diploma as an actress. Vitti’s career took off several years later when she met director Michelangelo Antonini (also her lover) who regularly chose her as lead actress in some of the finest Italian films like L'avventura (1960), La notte (1961), L'eclisse (1962), and Deserto rosso (1964). Notice that Giovanna wasn’t even born yet!
In the 1970s, Vitti decided to sharpen her comedic skills and it is in this genre that she gained recognition in films like La ragazza con la pistola (1968) by Mario Monicelli, in which she plays the unlikely role of a Sicilian woman seeking revenge in London. She achieved even greater success in Amore mio, aiutami (1969) by Alberto Sordi, on the theme of marital infidelity, and in Dramma della gelosia (1970) by Ettore Scola, which sees her at the center of a working class love triangle alongside Marcello Mastroianni. Clearly Gio loves the nostalgic style of classic black and white films, perhaps she and her family watched Vitti together after a traditional Sunday supper of gnocchi with tomato sauce and pignoli cookies for dessert. Delizioso!
By the time Giovanna was actually born, Vitti had returned to the theatre as an actress and teacher. During the 1990s she worked in television, acting and directing. In 1993, Vitti was awarded the Festival Tribute at the Créteil International Women's Film Festival in France. While Vitti was raised with old fashioned Italian values, much like Giovanna she had contemporary dreams and aspirations. Both are great beauties with brains and lively senses of humor, both are rare finds. Women like Giovanna Battaglia and Monica Vitti should provide a sense of not only admiration, but also aspiration.
Monica Vitti and Giovanna Battaglia photographs courtesy of Fashion Spot.
For more on Italian icon Monica Vitti, read Gala's comparison of styles in "Giovanna Battaglia À La Vitti."