After I added the post on Giovina Fioravanti to the Camp 59 Survivors site this week, I heard from Joely Carter. Giovina is her husband’s grandmother. On her blog, iwishiwasalandgirl.wordpress.com, she has shared some personal reminiscences:
“My husband’s grandmother, Bella, has always been larger than life. A typical Italian matriarch, she is fiery and protective, and always wants to feed you! When I first met her around 7 years ago, I was struck by how beautiful and elegant she was, and couldn’t believe it when she told me she was 86! Bella is a term of endearment, her real name being Giovina Fioravanti. Originally, Bella aspired to be an actress however on the outbreak of World War II Bella volunteered her services to her country. Over the years, Bella has shared many stories with me, the most memorable being that during a boat crossing from Albania back to Italy, a Bulgarian man had taken a bullet for her using his body as a shield. When I first went to her house, I was proudly shown a certificate, which was hanging in the dining room. Bella explained that this was for bravery during the War, but never elaborated on what she had done to obtain this. It was always assumed that this was an award given to all Italians who played their part in the War.