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Elettra De Salvo ritratta in una ex centrale elettrica di Berlino Est, ora centro di co-working e sede di compagnie internazionali (Credits: Riccardo Venturi)

Elettra De Salvo

After the great migratory wave of working-class people in the 1960s, the young people set off for Germany. These included the so-called “rebel girls”, daughters of the social and cultural revolutions that swept through Europe and Italy after the Second World War.

Elettra De Salvo, actress, theatre director and presenter, arrived in Frankfurt am Main in 1979, moving on to Berlin, where she still lives and works today, in 1992.

Like the other “rebel youngsters”, she too lived in limbo: on one hand she was aware that there was a different world outside Italy, on the other she was confronted with the often retrograde and conservative reality of life in Italy.

In particular, De Salvo lived with an authoritarian and pro-fascist father, a general in the army who enrolled her at the Deutsche Schule, the German school in Rome, from a very early age.

Frequenting that environment, however, had an entirely different attraction for her than that which her father expected: when she arrived in Germany, she fell in love with the liberal and progressive character of its society. She was young, a woman, with a head full of ideas. She wanted to work and feel fulfilled, she wanted to be free to fulfil her potential and her ambitions.

She decided to follow her dream and become an actress, but didn't want to go to drama school. Instead, she slowly approached the outer fringes of experimental theatre. She began with niche works, including a theatrical monologue about an actress and dancer from Berlin, after which she devoted efforts to increasingly ambitious projects.

Germany opened the doors for her to live the life she wanted.

Today, in addition to active theatre, she focuses on teaching, offering seminars and courses for young people who have just arrived in Berlin and offering them tips and training for their careers.


Story collected in collaboration with Lorenzo Colantoni and the project 'Italians of Europe - Italians of Germany' realised with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.


  1. 1979

    Elettra De Salvo arrived in Frankfurt am Main.

  2. 1992

    She move on to Berlin, where she still lives and works today.

Elettra De Salvo portrayed in a former power station in East Berlin, now a co-working centre and home to international companies(Credits: Riccardo Venturi)
A view of Berlin from the terrace of the Neukölln Arcaden Mall (Credits: Riccardo Venturi)