Goodbye to Marina Cicogna, the “countess” of Italian cinema has died at 89


By John

Marina Cicogna Mozzoni Volpi di Misurata, Italian actress, producer, photographer and screenwriter, died in Rome in her home near Via Veneto. She was 89 years old. She was born in the capital on 29 May 1934 and was the first screenwriter and first female producer in Europe. She was the granddaughter of Count Giuseppe Volpi, president of the Venice Biennale and founder of the Film Festival, from which the “Coppa Volpi” takes its name. She had adopted Benedetta Gardona, with whom she had lived for over 30 years. You have produced some of the most important arthouse films such as Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, by Elio Petri, which won the 1971 Oscar for best foreign film.

Born right in Palazzo Volpi di Misurata near Via del Quirinale, to Count Cesare Cicogna Mozzoni and Countess Annamaria Volpi di Misurata, Countess Marina was linked to cinema not only by her grandfather but also through her father who co-produced «Ladri di bicycles” in 1948. He loved the dolce vita of the 60s, the one that gravitated around Via Veneto and frequented Milan, Venice, Cortina. She met David O. Selznick, the producer of Gone with the Wind, at the Lido when she was fifteen. In 1951 she was among the approximately 1000 guests of international high society at the Party of the Century, a masquerade ball hosted by Carlos de Beistegui at Palazzo Labia, where there were also Salvador Dalì, Orson Welles, Christian Dior, Guy de Rothschild and the Aga Khan III. She also had a long relationship with the actress Florinda Bolkan, a story that caused quite a stir at the time as it was among the first to be made public. In 2021, a docu-film entitled «Marina Cicogna. La vita e tutto » recounted her career while this year Andrea Bettinetti’s autobiography « I Still Hope » was published, published by Marisilio. Over twenty films produced and co-produced. She was passionate about photography: in the years of the dolce vita she immortalized in mostly informal contexts, famous friends such as Gianni Agnelli, Greta Garbo, Maria Callas and Onassis, Herbert von Karajan, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Princess Margaret , Henry Fonda, Charlie Chaplin, Jeanne Moreau, Silvana Mangano, Claudia Cardinale, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Yul Brinner, Ezra Pound and Louis Malle.

The photos were largely included in the book Scritti e Scatti (2009). A second book, La mia Libia (2012), is also dedicated to photography, collecting photos of the years partially spent in Tripoli between 1957 and 1967, in the eighteenth-century family villa. He created the art and photography book Imitatio Vitae (2019) with Gucci, on the capitals of the Palazzo Ducale. Style icon, classy non-conformist, she was included by Vanity Fair in the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame List (the list of the best dressed personalities in the world) for the year 2010. At the age of 83 she posed for Gucci as testimonial, together with other models, of the Cruise Resort 2018 campaign.