Sibilla Aleramo


January 24, 2022

Sibilla Aleramo, pseudonym of Marta Felicina Faccio known as "Rina" (Alessandria, August 14, 1876 - Rome, January 13, 1960), was an Italian writer, poet and journalist.


Childhood and adolescence

She was the daughter of Ambrogio Faccio, professor of science, and of Ernesta Cottino, housewife, she was the eldest of four brothers. She spent her childhood in Milan until the age of twelve, when she interrupted her studies to move her family to Civitanova Marche, where the Marquis Sesto Ciccolini had offered his father the direction of his industrial company. It was her father who pushed Rina to work as an accountant in the same factory. The adolescence of the future writer was unhappy: in September 1890 her mother, suffering from depression for some time, tried to commit suicide by throwing herself from the balcony of her house. Her crisis gradually worsened over the years, causing inevitable tensions in family relationships: after a few years, the woman was hospitalized in the asylum of Macerata, where she died in 1917. In February 1892, at the age of fifteen, Rina was raped by an employee of the factory, Ulderico Pierangeli. On January 21, 1893, she will be forced to marry her rapist.

The beginning of literary activity

Prisoner in a squalid coexistence with an unrecognized husband and a life led in a small town whose narrow provincialism, she believed she would find in the care of her first son Walter, born in 1895, an escape from the oppression of her own existence: the the fall of this illusion led her to an attempted suicide, from which she wanted to relieve herself through a personal commitment to achieve humanitarian aspirations through the readings and writings of articles that were published to her, starting from 1897, in the "Literary Journal", in " The Independent ”, in the feminist magazine“ Vita Moderna ”, and in the periodical, of socialist inspiration,“ Vita Internazionale ”. Her correspondence with another woman engaged in the battles for female emancipation, Giorgina Craufurd Saffi, and with her husband, Aurelio Saffi, dates back to these years. Her feminist commitment was not limited to writing but materialized in the attempt to establish sections of the women's movement (Paolina Schiff had asked her to create a women's league in the Marche) and in participation in demonstrations for the right to vote and for the struggle against prostitution, a theme also dear to Saffi. Moving to Milan in 1899 where her husband, dismissed from his job, had started a commercial activity, Rina Faccio was entrusted with the direction of the socialist weekly "L'Italia donne", founded by Emilia Mariani, in which she held a column in particular discussion with the readers and sought the collaboration of progressive intellectuals - Giovanni Cena, Paolo Mantegazza, Maria Montessori, Ada Negri, Matilde Serao - became a great friend of Alessandrina Ravizza, met influential socialist leaders such as Anna Kuliscioff and Filippo Turati, and began a relationship with the poet Guglielmo Felice Damiani. From 1901 to 1905 she collaborated with the magazine Union of women, published by the National Women's Union, of which she became a member in 1906. Following disagreements with the publisher Lamberto Mondaini, she left the direction of the weekly in January 1900 and had to follow the family back to Porto Civitanova, where her husband had received the task of running the factory in place of the resigning father-in-law. The difficult family relationships convinced her to abandon her husband and son, moving to Rome in February 1902 and binding herself to Giovanni Cena, director of the magazine "Nuova Antologia" in which Faccio collaborated and began to write, at the request of Cena himself, the novel Una woman. Published in 1906, it is the story of her in the same life as her, from childhood to the painful decision to leave her husband and especially the fig

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