At fourteen she was gawky, she had big dental braces for a serious overbite. She was very shy. She liked books partly because it was just you and the writer thinking. You didn’t need to look at anyone. She could curl up in a quiet sunny corner of the family house and spend long afternoons lost in the pages of I promessi sposi and working her way slowly into Croce’s Breviario di estetica - which was her favourite work of philosophy until she encountered Spinoza a few years later. It’s been tricky with boyfriends. Matteo was very good man in many ways. He had really nice shoulders. But he was always getting impatient with her: always saying she wasn’t practical enough and wasn’t cut out for the real world (he had a job with an American bank).