Scheda: Evento - Tipo: Culturale

Turin and women. Small and big stories from the Middle Ages to today - Sports

"Turin and women". Section: Sports.

Archivio Storico della Città di Torino, on display from October 6, 2021 to March 31, 2022.



Physical activity: from ''choreographic'' to sporty

The decision to officially accept women in sports is with no doubt thanks to the support of Reale Società Ginnastica (Royal Gymnastics Society) of Turin (1844). It was the first Italian sports society to introduce gymnastics courses for women. Other important steps follow the Casati Law of 1859 that suggested the creation of new courses for the primary school.  The first gymnastics course aiming at teachers’ deeper knowledge was organized by the Municipality of Torino in 1867 at the Royal Gymnastics Society.

Angelo Mosso’s theories, based on Rodolfo Obermann’s ideas, turned out to be of fundamental importance. They focused on elegance and harmony of body movements rather than on choreographic elements that had featured women’s gymnastics till then. At the beginning of the 20th century, Luisa Rebecca Faccio, a teacher in Turin with a degree from the Education Faculty, strongly criticized women’s gymnastics practice as too “soft”:  women gymnastics had to be real sport and not only a sort of scenic pleasure.

The consequent positive effects resulted in the ascent of first level athletes: the extraordinary success of the talented Andreina Sacco Gotta (Torino, 1904-1988) boosted women’s sports to a higher level.

Physical activity in Turin

In 1860, in Turin, women’s physical activity extended to include all social classes; noblewomen were particularly fascinated by hiking and snow and ice sports. The Valentino Ice Skating Club, founded in 1872, is an unbelievable cradle of champions: by repeatedly winning the National Cup, Dina Mancio and Gino Voli were the most famous couple of the early 20th century.

Torino, “the homeland of cars” could not ignore the combination “women and motors”: Ernestina Prola (Turin, 1876-1954) won several motorcycling races, and was the first Italian woman to obtain a driving licence. Ada Pace (Turin, 1924-2016) achieved victories in the fifties in “Sports” and “Gran Turismo” categories.



(Mostra a cura di Maura Baima, Luciana Manzo, Fulvio Peirone. Segreteria: Anna Braghieri. Progetto espositivo: Ottavio Sessa. Allestimento: Gisella Gervasio, Manuela Rondoni. Riproduzioni fotografiche: Giuseppe Toma, Enrico Vaio. Foto web: Deborah Sciamarella. Collaborazioni: Andrea D'Annibale, Massimo Francone, Omar Josè Nunez, Anna Maria Stratta. Per MuseoTorino: Caterina Calabrese, Surya Dubois Pallastrelli, Diletta Michelotto. Traduzioni: Surya Dubois Pallastrelli, Laura Zanasi).

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