Susanna Agnelli

Susanna Agnelli
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
17 January 1995  17 May 1996
Prime Minister Lamberto Dini
Preceded by Antonio Martino
Succeeded by Lamberto Dini
Personal details
Born (1922-04-24)24 April 1922
Turin, Italy
Died 15 May 2009(2009-05-15) (aged 87)
Rome, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Italian Republican Party
Spouse(s) Count Urbano Rattazzi, Jr. (1945–1975)
Children 6 children
Religion Roman Catholic

Susanna Agnelli, Contessa Rattazzi, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI[1] (24 April 1922 – 15 May 2009) was an Italian politician, businesswoman and writer. She was the first woman to be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in Italy.

Early life

Born in Turin, she was the daughter of Edoardo Agnelli and Donna Virginia Bourbon del Monte, a daughter of the Prince di San Faustino and his Kentucky-born wife Jane Campbell. Her brother, Gianni Agnelli, was the head of Fiat until 1996; members of the Agnelli family are still the controlling shareholders of the company.


In 1974, Agnelli gained her first public appointment, when she became mayor of Monte Argentario. Her grandfather and great-grandfather had been mayors in their time. Agnelli served as mayor for a decade, from 1974-1984. The experience inspired her to enter national politics.

Agnelli was elected to the Italian Parliament in 1976 for the Italian Republican Party (PRI). In 1979, still for the PRI, she became an MEP in the European Parliament, from 1979-1981. In 1983, she returned to the Italian Parliament, becoming a senator.

The culmination of her political career was her appointment as Italy's first female Minister of Foreign Affairs, in 1995. She served for more than a year which, in the fragile politics of postwar Italy, makes her one of the most long-lasting holders of the office. It was not until 2013 that Emma Bonino became the next female incumbent of the post.


In 1945 she married Count Urbano Rattazzi (1918-2012[2]) with whom she had six children, the youngest of whom is photographer Priscilla Rattazzi. The marriage was dissolved in 1975. She divided her time between New York City and Italy and she was long a loyal fan of Robert Denning, of Denning & Fourcade, who designed over 15 homes for her in Manhattan, South America and Italy.[3]


Her autobiography Vestivamo alla marinara ("We always wore sailor suits", 1983) was a bestseller in Italy.



  2. Urbano Rattazzi
  3. "Editorial Statement — Brushing Up Jason Epstein's Downtown Loft", by Judith Thurman, Architectural Digest March 1995, v. 52 #3, pp. 186-200

Further reading

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Political offices
Preceded by
Antonio Martino
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Lamberto Dini
Italian Chamber of Deputies
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Member of Parliament for Como
Legislatures: VII, VIII

Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Italian Senate
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Italian Senator
Legislatures: IX, X

Succeeded by
Title jointly held
European Parliament
New parliament Member of European Parliament for Northwest Italy
Legislature: I

Succeeded by
Title jointly held
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