Romans (noun, feminine, plural)

After meeting writer Roberta Petronio at the Rebirth Rome post-party, she invited me to attend the launch of her new book, ROMANE: 40 Ritratti di donne contemporeane. Here is a subject after my own heart : women who make a meaningful social and cultural impact. The connection to history is not lost either: the Roman ladies of ancient times were powerful social icons whose ideas and motivations directly influenced their powerful men. Today, thankfully, these women are not confined to the role of wife alone – they are the leaders, artists and social protagonists in their own right.

Author Robert Petronio with Claudia at the ROMANE book launch.
Author Robert Petronio with Claudia at the ROMANE book launch. Photo by Suzanne Preparata.


The book Romane is also a tribute to the city itself. Remarkably, the design reflects this homage. Accompanying the chapters dedicated to the 40 women is a different photo of Rome (by Claudia Peill) – instead of the individual portraits of the ladies. These appear at the end of the book, a kind of photo index whose placement reflects their mostly non-celebrity status – these are women you could see having a coffee at Ciampino or bump into at an art opening. They are fairly approachable, and, for the most part, their work is done behind-the-scenes.

Some of my personal favorites are on the list – some of whom have been featured in the Italian Journal magazine. For example, the dazzling creative director of Gucci, Frida Giannini. Then there is Ludovica Rossi Purini who has been called a “force of nature” – totally true. I greatly admire Jasmine Bertusi, Valentina Moncada and Silvia Venturini Fendi – just to name a few.

A great quote about Rome from Benedetta Lucherini:

I live in Rome, spoiled with work I love. But at the end of week, I become the tourist and go around the city with my husband and children – discovering the architecture, museums and galleries – the Forum at night, a picnic at Villa Pamphilj, a bike ride from Ponte Milvio to the center.

I couldn’t agree more!