The Women of Umbria

On the occasion of March 8th, International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate it with some of the female figures who symbolize Umbria, a land rich in history, art, culture, and spirituality. Luisa Spagnoli, Marchioness Elena Guglielmi, Maria Vittoria Semolesti, Saint Clare of Assisi, and Saint Rita of Cascia… Women symbols of entrepreneurial spirit, faith and devotion, and still universal values of strength, courage, and independence, which continue to inspire women and men all over the world.

Luisa Spagnoli
A name that immediately evokes images of refined fashion and chocolaty delights. However, her legacy goes far beyond catwalks and delicacies. After the devastations of World War II, Luisa Spagnoli became passionate about Angora rabbits, not only starting to collect them but also discovering a secret that would revolutionize the world of fashion: the art of combing, rather than shearing, these animals. A gentle gesture that allowed for a yarn of unprecedented softness, a fabric that caressed the skin like no other. And what about her delicious chocolates? The Bacio Perugina is a name known all over the world, but there’s another bar that bears her name, a creation some Perugians affectionately call “Carrarmato” (“Tank”), perhaps as a tribute to her tenacity and strength of spirit.

Saint Chiara of Assisi
Born in Assisi in 1194, Chiara Offreduccio degli Scifi, better known as Saint Clare, was a revolutionary figure of her time. A friend and follower of Saint Francis, Clare renounced her comfortable life to embrace a life of poverty and service. The founder of the Order of Poor Clares, she placed prayer and dedication to others at the center of her existence, becoming a model of inner strength and determination.

Saint Rita of Cascia
Saint Rita, born Margherita Lotti in Roccaporena, near Cascia, in 1381, is known all over the world as the saint of impossible cases. Her life was marked by great suffering and challenges, from her youth, when she was forced to marry against her will, to the death of her sons and her husband’s illness. Despite the adversities, Saint Rita found refuge in the Augustinian monastery of Cascia, where she lived until her death in 1457. Her tomb, located in the Sanctuary of Saint Rita of Cascia, attracts thousands of faithful and visitors every year, testifying to the power of hope and perseverance even in the most desperate situations.

Elena Guglielmi and Maria Vittoria Semolesti
At the beginning of the 20th century, Marchioness Elena Guglielmi brought the technique of Irish lace making to Isola Maggiore in Lake Trasimeno, inspired by the traditions born in Irish monasteries at the end of the 19th century, according to the ancient art of Venetian lace. Instead of being made with needle and bobbins, the peculiarity of this lace is created with a crochet hook using an extremely thin yarn. In 1963, the islander Maria Vittoria Semolesti restarted the activity by founding a cooperative of lace makers for the sale of Irish lace.


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