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ItalyDoctorEducator

Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator who developed an educational method that revolutionized the way children learn. Her approach, known as the Montessori Method, emphasized independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological and physical development. Montessori’s work had a profound impact on education, influencing teaching methods around the world.

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ItalyBiologistJewish

Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini was an Italian neurobiologist known for her groundbreaking discoveries in the field of neuroscience. She overcame discrimination and established a laboratory in her bedroom during World War II to continue her research. Levi-Montalcini’s most significant contribution was the discovery of nerve growth factor, for which she received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Her scientific achievements, along with her dedication to public service, have made her an iconic figure in women’s history and scientific discovery.

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ItalyMathematician

Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Maria Gaetana Agnesi was an Italian mathematician, philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian. She is considered one of the most important female mathematicians in history. Agnesi displayed remarkable intellectual abilities from a young age, mastering multiple languages and studying advanced subjects like ballistics and geometry. She published her renowned work, “Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della gioventù italiana,” which solidified her reputation as a brilliant mathematician. Despite facing challenges and limitations as a woman in academia, Agnesi’s intelligence and dedication paved the way for future generations of women in mathematics.

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ItalyActivistMathematician

Tina Pizzardo

Tina Pizzardo, an Italian mathematician and anti-fascist, dedicated her life to fighting against the oppressive regime of fascism in Italy. Her passion for mathematics led her to excel academically, and her commitment to opposing fascism shaped the course of her life. Despite facing imprisonment and personal struggles, Pizzardo’s unwavering determination and resilience continue to inspire generations of women.

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ItalyDoctor

Elena Cornaro Piscopia

Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree, was born on June 5, 1646, in Venice, Italy. Despite being born into an illegitimate noble family, Elena’s prodigious intellectual abilities and dedication to learning led to her becoming a prominent scholar and musician. Her groundbreaking achievements opened doors for women to pursue education and intellectual success.

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BrazilItalyMilitary

Anita Garibaldi

Anita Garibaldi, a Brazilian republican revolutionary, played a vital role in the 19th-century Age of Romanticism and revolutionary liberalism. She became renowned as the wife and comrade-in-arms of Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, embarking on a remarkable journey that left an indelible mark on history. Anita’s unwavering devotion ultimately led to her tragic end, but her legacy as a brave and revolutionary woman continues to inspire generations.

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ItalySkier

Deborah Compagnoni

Deborah Compagnoni is a retired Italian alpine skier who achieved remarkable success throughout her career, winning multiple Olympic and world championship titles. Despite facing health setbacks, her determination and resilience propelled her towards future success. Compagnoni’s perseverance paid off in the 1992 Winter Olympics, where she won her first gold medal, cementing her status as one of the finest skiers of her generation. Her accomplishments continue to inspire future generations in the world of alpine skiing.

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ItalyStunt Performer

Maria Spelterini

Maria Spelterini, an Italian tightrope walker, became famous for her daring feats and remarkable performances. From crossing the treacherous Niagara Gorge to tightrope walking blindfolded and manacled, Spelterini captivated audiences with her courage and skill. Her legacy as one of the most audacious and awe-inspiring female performers in history lives on.

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ItalyMartial Artist

Emanuela Pierantozzi

Emanuela Pierantozzi (born 22 August 1968) is an Italian judoka who has achieved great success in her judo career. She is a multiple world and Olympic medalist, showcasing her incredible talent and dedication to the sport.

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ItalyMartial Artist

Alessandra Giungi

Alessandra Giungi, born in 1966 in Rome, Italy, was a former Italian judoka who achieved remarkable success in the sport. She won bronze medals at the European Championships and World Championships in 1987 and became the European champion in 1988. In 1991, Giungi became the world champion, solidifying her status as a prominent figure in judo. Despite facing tough competition, she showcased her exceptional skills at the Olympic Games and continued to make her mark on European judo. Giungi’s contributions to the sport and her influence as a coach make her a true icon in women’s sports.

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ItalyMartial Artist

Maria Teresa Motta

Maria Teresa Motta, an Italian former judoka, achieved remarkable success in her career. She made her mark in the judo world at the age of 18 by winning a bronze medal at the European Championships. Motta continued to excel, winning multiple medals at World and European Championships, and becoming a world champion in the +72 kg category. Her dedication, talent, and determination continue to inspire generations of judokas.

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ItalyActivistLGBTQIA

Mariasilvia Spolato

Mariasilvia Spolato (1935-2018) was an influential Italian activist for LGBT rights, a lesbian feminist, and a magazine founder and publisher. She played a crucial role as one of the pioneers of the homosexual rights movement in Italy, and she was renowned for being the first woman in the country to publicly declare her homosexuality. Spolato’s unwavering commitment to fighting for equality and her resilience in the face of discrimination and persecution shaped her remarkable life and inspired many others in the process.

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ItalyActivistLGBTQIA

Imma Battaglia

Immacolata “Imma” Battaglia, born on March 28, 1960, in Portici, province of Naples, is an influential figure in Italian politics and a dedicated LGBT activist. Her impact on society, especially in the areas of gay rights and advocacy, has left a lasting mark in the fight for equality.

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ItalyArcherComputer Scientist

Paola Velardi

Paola Velardi is a renowned computer scientist, known for her significant contributions to various fields of study. Her research in natural language processing, machine learning, business intelligence, and semantic web has made a profound impact. Velardi’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the scientific community has shaped women’s history.

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ItalyUnited StatesComputer Scientist

Maria L. Gini

Maria L. Gini is an Italian and American computer scientist known for her contributions in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics. She has dedicated her career to advancing the field of computer science and promoting broad participation in computing.

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ItalyUnited StatesBaseball

Maud Nelson

Maud Nelson, a trailblazing Italian-born American professional woman baseball pitcher, left an indelible mark on women’s baseball during a time when women’s participation in the sport was still met with resistance. Nelson’s dominance as a pitcher and manager for various teams, including the Chicago Stars and the Western Bloomer Girls, showcased her undeniable talent, determination, and resilience. Her impact on the sport and her role in expanding opportunities for women athletes solidify her place in women’s history.

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ItalyVolleyball

Taismary Agüero

Taismary Agüero Leiva, the accomplished Cuban-born Italian volleyball player, is known for being the only athlete to represent two women’s volleyball national teams to win major titles. Agüero was born on March 5, 1977, in Yaguajay, a town located in the province of Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. From a young age, she showed immense talent and passion for volleyball, starting her journey in the sport at the tender age of eight.

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ItalyPhysicist

Laura Bassi

Laura Maria Caterina Bassi Veratti, known as “Minerva” due to her wisdom, was an Italian physicist and academic. She made history as the first woman to hold a doctorate in science and the second woman in the world to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Bassi became the first salaried female teacher in a university and the first female member of any scientific establishment. Her contributions and groundbreaking achievements paved the way for future generations of female scientists.

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BrazilItalyUnited Kingdom

Larissa Suzuki

Larissa Suzuki, an accomplished University Professor and computer scientist, has dedicated her career to advancing engineering and technology while advocating for increased representation in these fields. She is known for her work at Google, as well as her contributions to smart cities and early breast cancer detection. Born in Brazil, Suzuki’s exceptional talent led her to be recognized as the best student of her class by the Brazilian Computer Society.

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ItalyBalletDancer

Barbara Campanini

Barbara Campanini, also known as La Barbarina, was a renowned Italian ballerina of the 18th century. With her incredible talent and flawless execution of entrechats, she earned the nickname “The Flying Goddess.” Despite a scandalous life that involved elopements and secret marriages, Campanini also dedicated herself to charitable endeavors, leaving her fortune to a foundation for poor noblewomen in her will.

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ItalyBalletDancer

Carla Fracci

Carolina “Carla” Fracci was an Italian ballet dancer, actress, and ballet director. Born in 1936 in Milan, she overcame initial doubts about her body type to become a renowned ballerina. Throughout her career, Fracci performed with esteemed dancers and companies, showcasing her talent and versatility in both Romantic and contemporary ballets. She also made significant contributions as a ballet director, leaving a lasting impact on the ballet world. Fracci’s exceptional artistry was recognized with prestigious awards, and her legacy as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century continues to inspire and influence the world of ballet.

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ItalyCyclist

Fabiana Luperini

Fabiana Luperini, born on January 14, 1974, in Pontedera, Italy, is an Italian professional cyclist who has achieved great success in her career. Luperini’s dedication to the sport and her exceptional talent have made her one of the most prominent cyclists in history. She has won the prestigious Giro d’Italia Femminile a record five times and excelled in other races, showcasing her unparalleled endurance and determination. Luperini’s remarkable career and numerous victories have solidified her place as one of the greatest female cyclists of all time.

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ItalyArtistWriter

Elena of Montenegro

Elena of Montenegro, born on January 8, 1873, in Cetinje, was the daughter of King Nicholas I and Queen Milena of Montenegro. She grew up in a family that valued unity and family values. With a passion for pastel painting and a love for Russian culture, Elena played an active role in society as the Queen of Italy, supporting her husband and engaging in charitable initiatives. Elena left a lasting impact on Italian society and was recognized as the Servant of God by the Catholic Church.

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ItalySkier

Sofia Goggia

Sofia Goggia, born on November 15, 1992, in Bergamo, Italy, is a highly accomplished Italian alpine skier who has made a significant impact in various disciplines. She has achieved remarkable success throughout her career, including winning the gold medal in the downhill at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and clinching the Downhill World Cup title four times. With her unwavering spirit and determination, Goggia has firmly established herself as one of the top alpine skiers in the world.

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ItalyFencerTable Tennis

Maria Scutti

Maria Scutti (August 1928 – 2005) was an Italian paralympic athlete who made a profound impact on the world of sports. Known as the “golden woman” (donna d’oro), she earned this moniker through her outstanding achievements and groundbreaking victories.

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CubaItalyVolleyball

Mirka Francia

Mirka Francia Vasconcelos, born on February 14, 1975, in Villa Clara, is a Cuban-Italian volleyball player who has left an indelible mark on the sport.

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ItalyJournalist

Giuliana Sgrena

Giuliana Sgrena, an influential Italian journalist, has dedicated her career to uncovering the truth and shedding light on important global issues. Born and raised in Masera, she grew up with a father who was a notable partisan during World War II. Sgrena’s early awareness of political and societal issues shaped her future as a journalist. Her unwavering dedication to reporting the truth led her to cover various conflicts and advocate for women’s rights. Despite facing grave risks, Sgrena’s passion and bravery as a journalist have left a lasting impact on the world of journalism.

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ItalyActivist

Anna Maria Mozzoni

Anna Maria Mozzoni (1837-1920) is considered the pioneer of the women’s movement in Italy. She tirelessly advocated for social equality and women’s rights, playing a vital role in achieving women’s suffrage in her country. Mozzoni’s groundbreaking work in feminist literature and her dedicated activism left a lasting impact, inspiring women worldwide in the fight for gender equality.

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ItalyFencer

Giovanna Trillini

Giovanna Trillini (born 17 May 1970 in Iesi) is an Italian foil fencer and a highly decorated athlete. She has made a significant impact on women’s fencing and has achieved numerous accolades throughout her career. Trillini’s achievements include being a 4-time Olympic champion, winning medals in individual and team events, as well as winning multiple world championships.

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ItalyFencerPolitician

Valentina Vezzali

Maria Valentina Vezzali, born on 14 February 1974, is an Italian politician and former fencer. She made significant contributions to both fields throughout her illustrious career. From 16 March 2021 to 22 October 2022, she served as the Undersecretary of State to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, with responsibility for sports in the Draghi government. Regarded as one of the greatest fencers of all time, Vezzali has amassed an impressive collection of Olympic medals. In total, she has won nine medals at the Olympic Games, including six gold, one silver, and two bronze. Her accomplishment places her among the most decorated and successful athletes in terms of Olympic medals and gold medals. Specifically, Vezzali is hailed as the most successful fencer in foil, the most medaled woman in fencing, and is on par with fellow fencers Edoardo Mangiarotti and Nedo Nadi as the Italian sportswoman with the most gold medals. Furthermore, she holds the distinction of being the second most decorated Italian sportswoman, behind only Mangiarotti.

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ItalyFencer

Elisa Di Francisca

Elisa Di Francisca is an Italian former fencer who achieved remarkable success in the sport of fencing. She became Olympic Champion at the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London 2012, winning gold in both the individual and team Foil competition. Di Francisca’s exceptional skills and dedication solidified her place in women’s fencing history and she is considered one of the strongest Italian fencers ever. Her impact extends beyond her individual accomplishments as she continues to inspire future generations of athletes.

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ItalyFencer

Irene Camber

Irene Camber, born on 12 February 1926, is an Italian former fencer who left an indelible mark on the sport. Daughter of the poet-soldier Giulio Camber Barni, Irene grew up surrounded by art and literature. However, it was the world of fencing that would become her true passion and place her among the most accomplished athletes in Italian history.

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ItalyLawyerPolitician

Paola Severino

Paola Severino, the first woman appointed Minister of Justice in Italian history, overcame personal challenges to establish herself as one of Italy’s top criminal lawyers and a respected academic. Throughout her career, she represented high-profile clients, provided legal counsel to Eni, and held prestigious positions such as vice president of the Superior Council of Military Magistracy. Severino’s remarkable achievements have paved the way for women in law, academia, and politics, inspiring many with her determination and resilience.

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ItalyComposerDancer

Teresa Bandettini

Teresa Bandettini, also known as Amarilli Etrusca, was an Italian dancer, extemporaneous verse composer, and poet. Despite the loss of her parents at a young age, she pursued a career in dance and later transitioned into improvisation. Known as the “literary ballerina,” her unique talent for creating verse on the spot captivated audiences. Bandettini’s influence was recognized by her patron Count Ludovico Savioli, poet Maria Maddalena Morelli, and composer Niccolò Paganini. She passed away in Lucca, leaving behind a legacy of creativity and influence.

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ItalyBalletDancer

Lucia Cormani

Lucia Cormani was a 19th and early 20th-century Italian ballet dancer and one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Dance. Although her life is not well-documented, she made significant contributions to the world of ballet and left a lasting impact on the art form.

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ItalyBalletDancer

Giovanna Bassi

Giovanna Bassi (1762–1834) was an Italian ballerina who spent the majority of her career in Sweden. She was regarded as the prima donna of the Swedish Ballet during the Gustavian age. Her technique was entirely according to the classic Italian style of ballet, and she was capable of performing the hardest movements within this style. Bassi became a prominent figure in the world of ballet and was not only a talented dancer but also a mentor for many Swedish dancers.

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ItalyBalletDancer

Amalia Brugnoli

Amalia Brugnoli (1802–1892) was an Italian ballerina who played a significant role in the development and popularization of the pointe technique in ballet. Her use of this technique was groundbreaking and paved the way for future ballerinas to explore the possibilities of ballet on pointe. Brugnoli’s legacy extends beyond her technical accomplishments, as she challenged societal norms and expectations by embodying strength and athleticism in her performances. Her contributions continue to inspire and shape the art form to this day.

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ItalyCyclistSkier

Maria Canins

Maria Canins, an Italian racing cyclist, made a significant impact in both road cycling and cross-country skiing. With her exceptional performances and victories, she became a trailblazer for women in cycling. Canins achieved remarkable feats, including winning the Tour de France Féminin twice and the inaugural Giro d’Italia Femminile. Her skill, dedication, and influence continue to inspire future generations of female athletes.

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ItalyCanoeing

Josefa Idem

Josefa Idem Guerrini, born in 1964, is an Italian sprint canoer turned politician. She is one of the most accomplished female athletes in her field, having competed in eight Summer Olympics and won five medals. Idem also holds the distinction of being the first Italian woman to win World Championships and Olympic medals in canoe sprint.

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ItalyMountaineerSkier

Paula Wiesinger

Paula (Paola) Rosa Wiesinger, a pioneering Italian alpine skier and mountain climber, left an indelible mark on the world of winter sports. She became one of the most successful and influential female athletes of her time, winning the women’s Downhill world championship in 1932 and representing Italy in the 1936 Winter Olympics. Her audacious act of disguising herself as a male athlete in a ski mountaineering race challenged gender norms and inspired many. Despite her untimely death, her courageous spirit and accomplishments continue to be honored and celebrated.

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ItalyAstronaut

Samantha Cristoforetti

Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space, holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European astronaut. Her achievements have not only advanced space exploration but have also inspired many, especially young girls, to pursue STEM careers and have opened doors for women in the space industry.

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ItalyArchaeologistScholar

Bruna Forlati Tamaro

Bruna Forlati Tamaro (1894–1990) was an Italian archaeologist, classical scholar, and museum curator who made significant contributions to the field of archaeology. She played a crucial role in safeguarding Italy’s archaeological heritage and was a pioneer for women in the field. Her dedication, passion, and accomplishments will forever be remembered and celebrated.

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ItalyEducatorGovernment

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro is an Italian judge and policy-maker who has made significant contributions to the field of gender-based violence and human trafficking. She has played a key role in shaping legislation and policies to protect the rights of women and victims of trafficking. With a strong educational background and experience in both the judiciary and government, her work has had a significant impact on society.

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ItalySwimmer

Novella Calligaris

Novella Calligaris (born 27 December 1954) is a retired Italian swimmer who made history as the first Italian to win an Olympic medal in swimming. Novella’s breakthrough moment came at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, where she defied all expectations and emerged as a medalist in every event she competed in. Her outstanding performance at the Olympics catapulted her to the forefront of Italian swimming and marked a significant milestone for women in the sport.

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ItalyWater Polo

Tania Di Mario

Tania Di Mario (born 4 May 1979) is an Italian female water polo forward, who has left an indelible mark on the sport throughout her remarkable career. Her unwavering determination and exceptional skills propelled her to the pinnacle of the sport and left an enduring legacy. She not only made her name synonymous with excellence in water polo but also became an inspiration to countless aspiring athletes around the world.

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ItalyWater Polo

Giulia Gorlero

Giulia Gorlero, born on 26 September 1990 in Imperia, Italy, is a prominent figure in the world of water polo, known for her exceptional goalkeeping skills. With a career marked by impressive achievements and a deep impact on the sport, Gorlero’s journey is one defined by dedication, perseverance, and a passion for excellence.

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ItalyWater Polo

Elena Gigli

Elena Gigli, the accomplished water polo goalkeeper from Italy, has left an indelible mark on the world of water polo. With remarkable skills and a passion for the sport, Gigli quickly rose through the ranks and represented Italy at the Olympics, securing a gold medal in Athens in 2004. Her exceptional performances continued, earning her numerous accolades and establishing her as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Gigli’s success has shattered glass ceilings and inspired aspiring water polo players worldwide.

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ItalyHigh JumperTrack & Field

Sara Simeoni

Sara Simeoni, born in 1953 in Rivoli Veronese, Italy, is a former high jumper who made a significant impact on the sport. Her talent and determination propelled her to become one of the greatest female high jumpers in history. Throughout her career, Simeoni achieved numerous milestones, including winning a gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics and setting two world records in the women’s high jump.

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ItalySnowboarder

Michela Moioli

Michela Moioli, born on July 17, 1995, is an Italian snowboarder who made history as an Olympic champion in snowboard cross at the 2018 Summer Olympics in Pyeongchang. Moioli’s journey in the sport has been filled with remarkable achievements, inspiring moments, and challenging setbacks.

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ItalySkier

Paoletta Magoni

Paola Magoni, also known as Paoletta, was born on September 14, 1964, in Selvino, Italy. She had a remarkable career as an alpine skier, making history by becoming an Olympic champion in the slalom event at the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Games. Paoletta’s dedication and talent inspired future generations of Italian alpine skiers, leaving a lasting impact on the sport.

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