Friday, October 21, 2016

Anna Magnani, cat lady

Anna Magnani is one of the all-time greats of Italian cinema, and an Academy award winner. But more importantly, she was a gattara, that is, a cat lady. Specifically, a gattara is a person (usually female) who feeds and otherwise looks after stray cats. A male, a cat dude, would be called a gattaro.

The great actress lived near Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome, site of important ancient ruins. She would go out in the evening with a basket full of food, a scarf on her head in an attempt to disguise herself (to humans). The square is still a hangout for kittehs, who now have an all-volunteer cat sanctuary to look after them.

Check out Anna in her day job as actress in Rossellini's neo-realist masterpiece, Rome Open City (the scene contains a spoiler).