You’ve seen many of my Western-themed posts, but to cap off Women’s History Month, we’re going far from the West, over the Atlantic to the town outside of Milan (Italy), Bollate, where my great-grandmother “Nonna Piera” Grassi lived. She was the midwife of her town (la levatrice), a World War I widow, and a very assertive woman.

Piera with her son Ettore and husband Giuseppe.

There are many stories about her in my family, but tonight I’m going to tell you about the night she got a call to deliver a baby past curfew. It was during World War II, and German soldiers occupied her town. On her bicycle, she rode to the house where the baby needed to be delivered. The German soldiers tried to stop her for breaking curfew. Not one to be intimidated, she told the soldiers off. She is one of my sources of inspiration when in tough situations.

She lost her husband after he was captured by German forces during World War I. During WWII, her son, my grandfather, joined the Partisans in resistance to work underground against Fascist rule.

I’m proud to have strong and unique women in my family, and glad to be able to share their stories with you.

O Bella Ciao, Bella Ciao (as the song goes),


A renowned Partisan song that originated in Lombardy: