I nominate Marella Agnelli as my 3rd Woman of Substance. she was born a Neapolitan  princess. Became the wife of the famous and wealthy Fiat Chairman, Gianni Agnelli. Renown beauty, socialite, style icon and buddy of author Truman Capote. So far this resume does not scream substance. However, there is her design legacy to consider and the strength and dignity with which she has lived a life worthy of a soap opera heroine. it is said that it is not what happens to you in life that matters but what you do with what happens to you. 

 

This woman has endured the betrayal of her best friend who published her intimate secrets in his novel; a son's drug addiction , mental instability and ultimately his suicide; the humiliation of a philandering husband who had very public affairs with girlfriends and mistresses across the globe.  Who famously said " one can be a very faithful and bad husband, just as one can be unfaithful and a very good husband."

As a woman and a mother I can only assume she endured it all for the sake of maintaining the integrity of her family. Yet what are the fruits of this stoic woman's maternal abnegation ? The answer: A legal battle with her only surviving child, Margherita. The pain inflicted by this recent estrangement is unimaginable. Yet she sails through it all holding her head high, serene and in full possession of herself. 

Her pain she transmutes by creating gardens, designing beautiful homes and writing books. I recommend: Gardens of the Italian Villas, the Agnelli Gardens at Villar Perosa, Giardino Segreto and the Last Swan

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