The display unwinds through the rooms of the gallery, starting with the precious garments made by Rosa Genoni, a socially-committed woman and promoter of Made in Italy fashion, followed by the splendid tunics made by Fortuny specially for Eleonora Duse and the legendary gowns of Donna Franca Florio. Less well-known to the greater public are Maria Cumani, the inspiring muse of her husband Salvadore Quasimodo, and Antonella Cannavò Florio who wore the romantic creations of Schuberth, “dressmaker to the stars”. Exuberance and eccentricity appear to bring together personalities as different as Anna Piaggi and Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini (an important selection of garments from the latter’s sumptuous collection having come to the museum as a donation), both avid fashion collectors.
In addition to Marinetti, twentieth-century Italian literature is represented with good printed collections of the work of Gabriele d'Annunzio, Luigi Pirandello, Eugenio Montale, and Salvadore Quasimodo. The Beinecke houses the papers of the writer and antifascist journalist Nicola Chiaromonte, including correspondence from Albert Camus, Mary McCarthy, and Slavomir Mrozek, and private diaries.