An original Italian easy reader by Roberto Gamberini
A cool-headed resistance fighter, an Oscar-winning actor, a doctor, a singer, an Olympian, an astronaut, a TV presenter, and a victim of the mafia.
What do they all have in common?
Read and listen to the moving stories of these eight determined Italians to find out!
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
- .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
- 8 chapters to read and listen to
- Comprehension questions to check your understanding
- Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- Suitable for students at upper-intermediate level or above
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
How do I access my ebook?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your payment), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook, where available, cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them. There’s a space to do that on the order form – where it says Additional information, Order notes (optional). If you forget, or if you have problems downloading the .pdf, don’t worry! Email us at the address on the website and we’ll help. Also, why not check out our FAQ?
Lynette M –
I really enjoyed reading this book and have not only increased my Italian vocabulary but learned about the interesting lives of these famous Italian women. After every chapter I did further research online and even tested the knowledge of some of my Italian friends with what I had learned!
A great read.
Lesley Strachan (verified owner) –
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. History about lesser known women (at least in the English speaking world) and of course vocab and grammar. It took me 3-4 reads to really get it under my belt and listening helps any questions I have over pronunciation. Loved it!
Helen Hensley (verified owner) –
Most enjoyable. Great to be reading about people you feel you know. Thank you
Tony D’Costa (verified owner) –
So far I have only read the first two accounts ; Anna Magnani and Samantha Cristoforetti. Thanks to UTube I was able to experience a bit more closely what their characters are about.
I would recommend it to anyone studying Italian.
Mary (verified owner) –
I am reading each chapter as part of my “compiti” so I have not yet finished the book. I have enjoyed learning about these famous and heroic Italian women- some of whom my Italian born husband was not familiar with! I enjoy listening to the chapter first then reading it for further clarification.
Gillian (verified owner) –
I have really enjoyed this book. The subjects are eight famous Italian women ranging across the 20th and 21st centuries. They are high-achievers in various fields – education, science and the performing arts.
The language is lively and interesting, with lots of new vocabulary. It is a real help to have the audio, and the chapters are quite short. The level B2 is quite a stretch for me, but the subject matter and lively language kept me interested to explore in detail.
I have enjoyed finding further information about most of the women in the book.
rosemarie harvey (verified owner) –
I have only just started to read this fabulous book and so have only read the first chapter. I found it quite challenging, with a few words I did not know, but that is what I need. I listened to the sound first and tried to understand, in fact I listened 2 or 3 times and then read along when I thought I had the gist of it. I really like the Comprehension questions and the Glossario is a huge help. I thought I was B1 level but am pleased that I stepped up a level.
I look forward to reading the rest. The chapters are the right length to study, or have in my bag during queuing times!!!
Helen (verified owner) –
I really enjoyed reading this one as it was at just the right level for me and not too easy. Plenty of new vocabulary to challenge me but not too much so that I lost interest. There was a good mix of subjects too, some of the women I had known of before but the rest were new to me, all of them interesting. Would definitely recommend.
Lillias Urban (verified owner) –
These stories are really interesting. There was quite a bit of new vocabulary which was good. As usual I find the audio on its own a challenge. It is good to be able to read and listen a few times and then try listening only – good way to learn. I really enjoy these books
Judith (verified owner) –
A truly inspiring book and a really good read. I listened to it first which was a bit more challenging, but very enjoyable too! I’m now listening to the RAI radio 3 podcast about partisans, that is difficult, but I’m understanding some of it, enough to feel the emotion and have tremendous admiration for these true heroes. Although we had many great heroes in the UK, it must have been very different to be occupied by the Nazis, the UK was fortunate.
Stuvmoll (verified owner) –
A very interesting book, but not too easy!
Claire (verified owner) –
I found this a really interesting book, & learned a lot about Italian women I had never heard of before. Listening without a transcript was quite challenging at times, but that’s what we need.
Like Mary Sage, our U3A group uses these books, so I hope this might be the one to persuade our group to move up (however reluctantly) from the B1 level.
Claire (verified owner) –
A fascinating selection of stories about inspiring women, some known to me, some new. The text is accessible while still offering some challenges and the vocabulary and exercises are an added bonus. The pdf was easy to print and I know I will return to this collection again. It has made me keen to try some of the other ebooks, too. Highly recommended.
Marion (verified owner) –
I chose this book as it was non- fiction so no plot to follow! It was a good choice.
I used it as listening practice and found it easy.I then read it more carefully and was pleased with the range of new vocabulary I came across.It also provoked an interest in those women I knew little about and I am already full of good intentions to do some follow up work.
Easily the best Easy reader I have bough so far
I have bought quite a few of these books to “feed” my Italian-learner habit. I listened to this one first and loved it. I learned more about women I knew, and met some women I didn’t know. The level was exactly right and I am delighted to be able to read and hear these terrific stories.
John Holden (verified owner) –
I’ve been a fan of Laura Pausini for years. Her songs with their clear enunciation, as well as great tunes to sing along with, have been a great help with my language learning. Of the others, I had of course heard of Montessori schools, and I’ve watched “Roma città perta”, but that was all. Chi sa che ci sia un’astronauta italiana? This book is an eye-opener and you don’t have to be a woman to be inspired by these amazing people. The best easy reader I’ve read.
Yvonne (verified owner) –
I am not at B2 level but I enjoy reading. Good that it comes with a soundtrack that I will make myself listen to, though. I really only knew of Maria Montessori before reading this book so I had a lot to learn. How did the writer choose such a varied representation of inspirational women? And a male writer, too. A really interesting read, more so because of the use of the first person. The writing seemed more colloquial than what I’m used to reading but I noticed some lovely descriptions, too. These women came alive for me. If I had to choose, I’d go for Franca Viola who said no to ‘matrimonio riparatore’.
Liz Fuse –
What a great selection of fascinating, informative pieces about truly inspiring Italian women! I felt the first person narrative involved me more in their stories and totally forgot I was supposed to be using the book to improve my Italian ability. I really must read it again with that in mind…
Angela (verified owner) –
I found Le Italaine particularly inspiring, I love reading about real people and their experiences in life. I will read and read again. Thank you.
I agree, Angela. Honestly, I’d never have picked this ebook off the shelf (so to speak), but reading it before we published it, I was really impressed, and moved!
jadwiga jarvis (verified owner) –
Being aware that the ‘Easy Readers’ have the dual function of simultaneously being a learning tool and literary entertainment, it is my habit to award stars primarily for the former. Writing well and simply at the same time is a demanding task, so to give my impressions as a reader only would be to underestimate it.
So ─ 5 big, shiny stars for the learning tool! As time goes on, I get increasingly more appreciative of the ER’s subtle capacity to teach, to embed an ever-expanding vocabulary into the dim recesses of the mind, to make grammatical conundrums suddenly become clearer. While reading Le italiane I experienced a curiously delicious moment; I thought the paragraph I had just read was written in English! Surely there can be no better sign that Italian has began to seep into my bones?
Daniel’s emails often discuss the tricks of and techniques for learning a language. It goes without saying that living a year or two among native speakers tops the list, followed by… whatever works best for you (and whatever is within your reach); private lessons, courses on line, watching Italian films, listening to Italian songs or radio, corresponding or reading. But (says the compulsive reader who reads the small print on the toothpaste tube while brushing her teeth) ─ however many of the above methods you use, never, ever, leave out reading.
As for the book itself, I have just one reservation:
Six of the eight chapters are excellent, informative and sometimes moving. The courage of Carla Capponi is admirable; Franca Viola’s heroic refusal to accept her totally unacceptable fate ─ and by doing so help change the lot of abused Sicilian women ─ gives her harrowing story a profound meaning; the against-the-odds achievements of Maria Montessori and Samantha Cristoforetti call for a standing ovation. Tania Cagnotto’s hard work and persistence ─ while not in the same history-changing class as the others ─ are praiseworthy. Anna Magnani’s rejection of the Hollywood glitz is exactly what one would expect of a serious actress and an introspective human being ─ you want to give her another Oscar (sent by mail, naturally) just for that. All these women really, really made a difference.
So what is my reservation? It is this: Pop stars and show biz personalities ─ even if one sold 70 million records and the other pioneered the public exposure of a belly button on Italian TV ─ don’t really belong here. Their inclusion trivialises the experiences and serious achievements of the others.
Nevertheless ─ to end on a positive note ─ read this interesting book. If you happen to share my feelings, you can simply skip the froth and concentrate on what really matters.
Mary Sage (verified owner) –
We are using the book in our U3A Italian “conversation” group; we are a group of 7 self-help Italian learners at around intermediate level. We listen to a chapter together, with and without the transcript, read it out loud, and then translate the gist, discuss vocabulary etc. We are not sufficiently advanced to discuss the content in Italian, but so far, have found the information about the various women informative and interesting.
One slight criticism is the fact that the texts are written and narrated in the first person, as they are clearly not actually written by the people themselves. and we have found this confusing at times.
Overall, though, a good book to use with a group.
Anita Cummings –
I have really enjoyed listening and reading this book. I found the lives of these Italian women varied, very interesting and well written. Each of the chapters are of a reasonable length, the soundtrack is clear and the narrator has an ‘easy to listen to’ voice. At first, I found it a little fast but I soon ‘tuned in’ and found the more I listened the more I could understand.
I listen to each chapter 2-3 times and then read the transcript whilst listening and finally, read aloud, thus incorporating listening and reading and speaking skills.
I have since watched some of Anna Magnani’s film, Roma Citta Aperta and listened to Laura Pausini’s songs (without English subtitles). I look forward to reading more about the other women in the book.
All in all, a great choice.
Jocelyn Taylor (verified owner) –
I found this to be a very interesting book. The glossary and questions were helpful, although it might be better to have the answers to the questions at the end of each chapter instead of at the end of the book.
Kathy Woodhall (verified owner) –
This book looks into the lives of real Italian women. For me, it deepened my connection with not only the language but the women and culture of Italy! Studying Italian is not just an academic exercise but a relationship with a country!
Fiona Geilinger –
I’m happy to be writing this review on International Women’s Day. I very much enjoyed this book. An interesting and diverse mixture of stories that intrigue you to find out more about these inspirational women. I listen a few times and then read, to develop both skills.
Harold Wonham (verified owner) –
This is a very interesting selection of notable Italian women (actress, astronaut, resistance fighter, singer, educator, television performer, Mafia victim, and diver). The texts are well written in the first person, with short biographical details, and a summary of their of their motivation and achievements. The recurrent themes are that women can achieve anything, if they have vision, ambition and persistence, and they could be born anywhere in the country, so it is quite inspirational.
The exercises are varied and the glossary useful, though as ever I had to search for certain words elsewhere, although it is also good practice and fun working out the meaning from context.
The chapters are clearly read, though for me, too fast. I understood the text quite well when I read it, but if I had listened first, I’d have gained very little from it and would have been demotivated.
Linda Ann Novelli Thompson (verified owner) –
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the stories of the women very interesting and learned things that I had not known before. It made me want to learn more about several of the women. I have not listened to the soundtrack yet but I plan to do that later. Thanks for making this book available!
Lewis Savage (verified owner) –
I’ve enjoyed reading about these famous Italian women. They had led varied lives and have been well chosen for this e- book. I find that listening a couple of times, trying to understand the gist before reading the transcript and then a final listen is the best way to get the most from the e- books. Well done!
Zsuzsanna Snarey (verified owner) –
I have not quite finished listening to this ebook but what I have heard and read I found fascinating. I can’t wait to hear the next chapter. It is a topical subject as women make their mark in all areas of public life and science.
It is a level B2, so quite demanding for me but I like a challenge!