Maria Montessori on the front of the 200 lire coin produced in 1980, the first time her image graced Italian money. On the back side of the coin are the words:
"VALORIZZAZIONE DELLA DONNA"
"DEDICATED TO WOMEN"
On June 6, as the most difficult scholastic year in the history of the Italian Republic was ending, the 2 Euro coin dedicated to Maria Montessori was put on the market in honor of the 150 years since her birth. The proof version, sold in a small collectors box, was but 5000 coins, and the supply was immediately exhausted.
There good news is there are still rolls of 25 available, "fior di conio" which means they are of a quality between the "proof" quality (the highest) and the coins made for circulation.
She is the first and only Italian woman who was given the honor of being on a bank note. It was the final version of the 1000 lire bill.
A new biography by Cristina De Stefano will be presented during the 150 year birthday celebrations in Chiaravalle. All of of the events will be held in the Teatro Valle, the town's historic theatre, inaugurated in 1858. The full program can be downloaded below. The author/journalist collected testimonials and researched unpublished correspondence, and in her book describes a "less well known, and somewhat surprising Maria Montessori." An excerpt from the book:
"At the beginning there is a child. She is trapped in a large classroom with high ceilings. It's 1876 and the public school on San Nicola Tolentino street in Rome is, like all elementary schools in the Italian state, a children's prison. One has to sit still at the desks and listen to the teacher for hours, and then the lesson is repeated back in unison. If you misbehave you are punished. The child is six years old and hates absolutely everything from the very first day."
August 31, 2020 - Come to Chiaravalle, where she was born, so you can (virtually) join the celebrations. I will be launching this new blog over her birthday weekend with updates and reports from her hometown. Many people had planned on attending but will not be able to travel to Italy. You can join Montessori For Life for a virtual voyage to the town where she was born on her 150th birthday!
It was the year 1870, the same year Italy became a unified State. Maria Montessori's mother went into labor and was attended at home by a midwife and a few other women, according to her father's memoir, and "despite being a long and difficult labor, the newborn seemed robust and healthy." This memoir is part of the AMI archival collection. I found this quote about her birth in the biography written by Grazia Honegger Fresco.
The house where she lived for her first few years is now a museum with collections of her early editions of her books and a historic photo collection. And as it is under renovation, we are excited to see the transformation.