The Author

Maria Pia Di Nonno is a Phd student in ‘History of Europe’ at La Sapienza Università di Roma. In 2014, she was awarded the prestigious prize ‘Giacomo Matteotti’ by Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri for her thesis on the political thoughts of Adriano Olivetti. She is also the project creator of a series of conferences launched in 2014, by Young Leaders of the Luigi Sturzo Institute in Rome, on the Founding Mothers of Europe. 

In 2017, she realized a conference, a book "Europa. Brevi ritratti delle Madri Fondatrici” and an exhibition on the Founding Mothers of Europe (the exhibition was financed by La Sapienza Università di Roma - Bando di Avvio alla Ricerca, 2016). They were presented at the Sapienza University on the 17th February 2017. 

The project has already received some prestigious recognitions: Premio Lazio Creativo 2017 and Grant Mobility Sofia Corradi (Accademia Europea de Yuste).


The day I met Maria Pia Di Nonno, I didn’t immediately realise that she was followed by a Greek chorus, a group of figures that talked about her by talking about herself, who told us by telling us about them. At the beginning, I thought I was alone with Maria Pia, a girl from San Giovanni Rotondo who moved to Rome to study and who, in 2013, graduated in Public Administration Sciences by discussing her thesis on Adriano Olivetti, published by the Fondazione Olivetti, and who in 2014 won the “Giacomo Matteotti” award from the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Everything made me think that she was there alone. Then she began to tell me how her cycle of seminars on “Madri fondatrici d’Europa” (Founder Mothers of Europe) was born and how, after a walk in the Non-catholic Cemetery in Rome, where Ursula Hirschmann Spinelli is buried, she decided to make it her PhD project. Ursula Hirschmann was the first chorus member I had seen, but then I noticed Ada Rossi, Louise Weiss (the Grandmother of Europe), Sophie Scholl, Simone Weil and Sofia Corradi, about whom Maria Pia wrote the book “Per i giovani europei”. It is an interview with this woman who created the Erasmus project – book, also published by Edizioni di Comunità, a publishing house founded by Adriano Olivetti in 1946 and reopened by his grandson 4 years ago. A choir of women who contributed to founding Europe, but not just that. «There is a lesser known story of the European integration process: a story that goes beyond the official one, that is often cold and the result of a nationalist vision. That is the story I want to tell you, the one of women, young people, normal people that can really show another way of being Europe», Maria Pia explained, telling me about her ideas and future initiatives, books and other kinds of publications. The more she spoke, the more the chorus grew in number and in the end, Europe was a people. (ELISA CASSERI, Premio Lazio Creativo)