Profile of Gianna Modotti

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Appears in

In Nonna's Kitchen

In Nonna's Kitchen

By Carol Field

Published 1997

  • About

“Sono una montanara” (“I am a woman of the mountains,”) was Gianna Modotti’s improbable description of herself. Delicate, urbane, dressed with great style and restraint, she seems the quintessential opposite of a mountain person. With her precise manner of speaking and quiet well-modulated voice, Gianna Modotti is the essence of gentilezza. It is hard to imagine her trudging around the mountains but not at all surprising to hear that she went to schools run by nuns or that she is a graduate of the Scuola Istituto di Economia Domestica, an institute that taught all the courses required for a regular university degree as well as gastronomy, etiquette, and all the domestic arts and skills, including the now forgotten decorum associated with paying calls and receiving them.