Lina Poletti (Ravenna, 27 August 1885 – Sanremo, 1971), born Cordula Poletti, was an Italian feminist, often described as being beautiful and rebellious, prone to wear men's clothing, and who is best known today for her affairs with writer Sibilla Aleramo and actress Eleonora Duse. In the book, Le lesbiche nell'italia del primo Novecento (Lesbians in Italy in the early twentieth century), Poletti is credited with being one of the first women in Italy to openly declare her lesbianism, without regret.
Her affair with Aleramo began in April 1908, when the two learned that they shared the same feminist views and passion, after meeting at the First National Congress of Women (Il Primo Congresso Femminile Nazionale) in Rome. The relationship, often volatile, ended after one year. Traces of the topics discussed between them can be found in the edited letters and diary entries of Sibilla Aleramo who would go on to be one of Italy's leading feminists. Aleramo's writings to Poletti have, in more recent years, been studied due to their open minded views toward same-sex relationships. While Aleramo was involved with Poletti she was also in love with a man, Giovanni Cena. Aleramo expresses in her letters to Poletti that she never felt guilt for having loved both of them at the same time. Poletti on her part, had written to Giovanni saying that, by this passionate mélange, they were threatening Sibilla's mental health.
In 1909 Poletti met and became involved with Eleonora Duse, at the time a popular stage actress. The two moved in together in a house located in Florence, Italy. There is indication that the affair was passionate, but volatile, and after two years Poletti ended the relationship. Duse was depressed for a time afterward.
Little is known as to what happened to Poletti following the end of her affair with Duse.
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