Collection: Iris Origo

Iris Origo (1902–1988) was born in Britain to an aristocrat mother and a wealthy American father. She lived in Italy and devoted much of her life to the improvement of the Tuscan estate at La Foce that she purchased with her husband, Antonio Origo, in the 1920s. Their son, Gianni, died of meningitis in 1933, after which she embarked on a writing career, publishing a successful biography, Leopardi: A Study in Solitude. Traveling in London in the 1930s, she befriended Virginia Woolf and became romantically involved with L. H. Myers (the author of The Root and the Flower). During World War II, she gave birth to two daughters, Benedetta and Donata, and, with Antonio, sheltered refugee children and assisted many escaped Allied prisoners of war and partisans in defiance of Italy’s Fascist regime and Nazi occupation forces. Her memoirs of life in Italy during the war period are collected in two volumes, A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary, 1939–1940 (first published in 2017) and War in Val d’Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943–1944 (first published in 1947). In 1976, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She died at La Foce.

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