Stories of three great Sardinian women

3 Sardinian women who made history

We tell you in brief, the story of 3 Sardinian women who have made their mark beyond our island.

They are Ninetta Bartoli, Edina Altara and Maria Carta.

Revolutionary in their field, intelligent, strong, tied to their land but always looking toward the future.

They are no longer with us but set an example for the women of today and tomorrow.

Ninetta Bartoli: the first female mayor of Italy.

He was born in 1896 in Borutta, a town in the Mejlogu region in the province of Sassari.

She is part of a wealthy family, but despite living a privileged life, she develops a strong civic consciousness, thanks in part to her education.
In her life, she is always mindful of the importance of women's role in society and rejects gender inequality and discrimination.
Women are not a domestic ornament and she is not satisfied with embroidery or having children, she wants to be free to choose.

Ninetta Bartoli became mayor of Borutta and ushered in an important period of female participation in the world of Italian politics.
When she was elected in 1946, universal suffrage had been introduced for only a year, but she beat everyone with 89 percent of the vote.
She poses for the official photo on her inauguration day in traditional dress. She has a slim build, but such a charming and important personality that she appears much taller to those who meet her.

Ninetta Bartoli is a socially engaged, educated mayor with a clear vision for the future of her municipality.
She is responsible for very important changes:

  • brings the waterworks, sewerage system and electricity.
  • has social housing, school and kindergarten built so that women can also work.
  • has important services for the quality of life of citizens such as the cemetery and the old people's home built.
  • promotes the foundation of a cooperative for milk collection and cheese production to provide employment for the population (the first Mejlogu social dairy)

This fantastic woman is an inspiration to anyone who wants to get involved in politics and work for the well-being of their community.

Edina Altara, fascinating multifaceted artist

Edina Altara was born in Sassari in 1898.

She is a fascinating 20th-century Italian artist: illustrator, painter, decorator and ceramicist.
Her art comes to life in the world of female and domestic everyday life, finding in decoration its privileged sphere and in the home the ideal sphere in which to manifest itself.
Edina Altara is self-taught in the field of art, but thanks to her continuous desire to experiment, she independently develops a remarkable sense of aesthetics and a manual dexterity trained in cutout before drawing.
She loves antiques, but also new production techniques, and practices in a thousand small activities: from restoring antique objects to creating furnishing accessories, decoration, and painting; her materials are fabrics, colored papers, and fragments of glass with which she composes scenes and figures.

Fellow citizen Giuseppe Biasi, an informed and curious painter, appreciated Edina's artifacts and introduced her, when she was only 18 years old, to the exhibition of the Society of Friends of Art in Turin, where King Victor Emmanuel III purchased one of her works.
The work is the collage "In the land of the intrepid Sardinians" (also known by the title "Jesus salvadelu"), now on display at the Quirinale.

At a young age, she fell in love with the great designer Vittorio Accornero and fled Sardinia to marry him, despite being betrothed to a marquis.

Edina is a magnificent artist and a courageous woman who collaborates with great artists of the 1900s such as Giò Ponti.
During the difficult period of the war, her production continued and was supported by her sisters who brought back her sketches on ceramic supports. The initiative represents a true example of small female entrepreneurship, a model of collaboration that ensured mutual visibility and economic income, in an era still unable to support women's talent.

Edina Altara's greatness, as is often the case, is recognized only after death.
Discover her world by visiting Sassari, her hometown.

Edina Altara

Maria Carta: the voice of Sardinia

Maria Carta was born in Siligo in 1934.

Hers is a very poor family, and at the age of 8 Maria knows the pain of her father's death.
Maria lives a hardscrabble childhood, forced to toil in the fields to survive the misery.
She is a very brave child, so from early on she understands that she must go to work to help around the house.

As she goes to wash clothes at the river, the women sing and so does Mary.
In Sardinia, people live isolated in a primitive and magical world: amid legends, superstitions and mysteries made of the dead and the living communicating with each other.
This world permeates Maria Carta's personality forever.
From a very young age, her unique and magnetic voice emerges , dark and cavernous.

Maria Carta is Sardinia
, through her voice she tells of an ancient past made of sounds, myths and legends.
Her voice moves and digs deep into souls.
From Sardinia her singing reaches beyond the island, which she loves but also wants to leave in order to know more and thanks to this, she allows the whole world to hear the traditional songs she has studied and researched with great dedication.

The opportunity to leave Sardinia comes after 1957 when she is elected Miss Sardinia, thanks to her simple but incredible beauty.
After the award she takes her license because she wants to become an independent woman and the master of her own life.

When she arrives in Rome, in the big city, life is not easy. After her marriage to screenwriter Laurani, Maria began important collaborations, including one with maestro Morricone. In her international career, cinema also plays a big part, but her great love is singing, thanks to which she tours theatres all over the world with great success.

Mary sings of love, death, joy, and sorrow through ancient and magical melodies.
Her singing, born of necessity and fueled by passion, soon becomes a moral commitment, a definite task to be carried out.


With her unique voice, capable of arousing strong emotions, she recounts feelings and nostalgia, the hopes of an ancient people, so that everyone in the world may know its true soul. She takes on a deep political commitment in which singing becomes a poetic moment of struggle, and with reason she is credited with bringing the Sardinian folk tradition to acquire universal value.

Of her, Sardinian novelist Giuseppe Dessì writes, " When her warm and powerful voice rises and fills the space, infinite horizons open up and descend into history. After knowing Maria Carta, once again I affirm that the only great men of Sardinia are our women." Source Municipality of Siligo

To learn more about Maria Carta, we recommend that you do not miss the Maria Carta Prize event held annually in Siligo.

Maria Carta
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