Glo's Italian Girl Crushes
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Monica Bellucci2 of 13
By Natasha Burton
Althought she's arguably one of the most beautiful women ever, Monica didn’t always intend to grace the world with her highly coveted looks: She attended Italy’s University of Perugia with the intent to peruse a career in law. While a courtroom life wasn't for her, she's had the chance to play characters on the other side of the law, as in the film Shoot ‘Em Up.
Mona Lisa3 of 13
While there's been speculation of who exactly is the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous work, most agree that the Lisa in question is Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a cloth and silk merchant who commissioned the painting of her. We like the idea of a regular gal — Lisa had six children and was said to have lived a typical middle-class life — being the subject of such a legendary work of art.
Sofia Coppola4 of 13
One of the most acclaimed women in film, Sofia became the third woman (and the first American woman) to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Director category in 2003 for her film Lost in Translation. More recently, in 2010 she became the first American woman (and fourth American filmmaker) to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival for her film Somewhere.
Rosa Ponselle5 of 13
This opera singer was born in Connecticut, but her parents were Italian Neapolitan immigrants. Rosa’s voice, which was first discovered by the organist at her Catholic church when she was a kid, later caused music critics to name her one of greatest sopranos of the past century. Record producer Walter Legge said hers was "the most glorious voice that ever came from any woman's throat.”
Giada DeLaurentiis6 of 13
While she was born in Rome and grew up in Los Angeles, Giada studied cooking at the illustrious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. We love her dearly, but we have a hard time watching her show Everyday Italian (which has been broadcast on the Food Network for nearly seven years). Every time we do, we get the urge to make lasagna or baked ziti or some other delicious Italian dish, and then eat the entire pan in one sitting. Very, very dangerous.
Catherine De Medici7 of 13
The Medicis were perhaps the most influential family in Italy during the Renaissance, producing four popes and ruling over a great deal of territory. After marrying Henry II, Catherine became Queen of France and, when Henry died, she helped her three young sons govern the country in turn (two of them were under age 16 when they were crowned king).
Maria Bello8 of 13
We know her best for her roles in films ranging from A History of Violence to Coyote Ugly, and from her work on ER, but this actress also has a soft spot for her culinary heritage and eating, as we Italians call it, family style. In fact, her mom, Kathy, recently wrote a cookbook, Cooking With Passion and Love, to which Maria contributed recipes. SHOP NOW: Cooking With Passion and Love, $20
Sophia Loren9 of 13
This actress is arguably one of the most iconic cinematic beauties. And, as a true Italian woman, she’s not into the whole skinny-means-pretty thing that Hollywood advocates. In fact, she is credited with saying that “Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.” Oh Sophia, we couldn’t agree more.
Madonna10 of 13
Set in a category of notoriety that includes the likes of Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Michael Jackson, this Italian pop star is so famous she needs only her first name. The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Madonna Louise Ciccone as the world’s top-selling female recording artist of all time. And we’d argue that one of her number-one hits, “Like a Prayer,” is among the most entertaining songs to sing karaoke-style of all time.
Lady Gaga11 of 13
It makes sense that the next coming of the kind of individuality Madonna brought to pop culture would arrive in the form of another fearless Italian woman. Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Lady Gaga sure has upped the ante for celebrities trying to create their individual style, making even Madonna’s cone bra seem rather dull in comparison.
Mother Frances12 of 13
Known formally as Saint Francesca Saverio Cabrini, this Italian-born nun was the first American citizen to be named a saint. She was sent by the Pope himself to New York in the late 1800s to help Italian immigrants and later established 67 orphanages across the U.S. Her sainthood came from not just her work helping others, but for her alleged healing of a terminally ill nun.
Rita Levi Montalcini13 of 13
This neurologist from Turin won the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 1986 for her work with tumor and nerve cell growth research. While she’s 101 years old, she currently serves in the Italian Senate as one of six “senatore a vita” — who are allowed lifetime tenure in the legislature for their “patriotic merits.”