Italy's First Female Racer Was a Driving Advocate for All Women

Dec 24, 2018 252

BY: Elizabeth Werth

Maria Antonietta Avanzo only wanted two things in life: she wanted to win, and she wanted more women to find their niche in racing just like she did. Avanzo, like many female racers, fell in love with her first set of wheels at a young age. Born in 1889 in Italy, she hopped on her father’s De Dion-Bouton tricycle nearly as soon as she could sit upright. “Tricycle”, here, is a bit of a misleading term.

Back then, a tricycle was basically a three-wheeled motorcycle, not the kiddie bike we think of it today. She married Baron Eustachio Avanzo before the Great War afflicted the country and in him found an avid supporter of her passions. He was the one who bought Avanzo her first car, a 35 hp SPA sports car, which was soon upgraded to an SPA 35/50.

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