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Primo piano di Elvezia Marcucci (credits: Archivio Diaristico Nazionale)

Elvezia Marcucci

Elvezia Marcucci was born in Grosseto in 1910. As a young girl, she dreamed of becoming a pianist, but her ambition was shattered when, the victim of rape, she fell pregnant and was forced to marry her attacker, Silio, a fervent fascist later killed by partisans.

In 1947, at the age of thirty-seven, after leaving her son Enrico with a couple of friends, she boarded a ship sailing from Naples to New York. She had virtually nothing in her purse, just a few dollars given to her by her daughter, along with an Italian passport and permission to join her relatives in the United States, for a maximum of six months.

Hers was a journey filled with the desire to re-embrace her loved ones, but also with the hope of finding a better life, a future for herself and her son.

Elvezia tells the story of her adventure at sea among migrants and “young wives”, probably married by proxy to young American soldiers serving in Italy during the Second World War.

In order to obtain American citizenship and enable her son to join her, Elvezia had to look for a husband, relying on the help of her friend Nicla, who introduced her to Joe, her husband Albert's brother.

Once married, she began settling into American society: she learned to drive and got her driver's licence, taught watercolour painting at an evening school and kept her passion for painting alive, soon turning it into a proper job. She produces portraits in her studio and holds the occasional exhibition.



Story collected in collaboration with the Archivio Diaristico Nazionale.


  1. 1910

    Elvezia Marcucci was born in Grosseto.

  2. 1947

    At the age of thirty-seven she boarded a ship sailing from Naples to New York.

Close-up of Elvezia Marcucci (credits: Archivio Diaristico Nazionale)