Susanna Agnelli was born in Turin, the daughter of Edoardo Agnelli, a wealthy industrialist, and his aristocratic wife Virginia Bourbon del Monte. Her brother Gianni Agnelli grew up to serve as the head of Fiat, the Italian car manufacturer founded by their grandfather Giovanni Agnelli. The family also owned the football team Juventus and a publishing empire that included the newspaper La Stampa. She had a British nanny and learned to speak English, Spanish, and French. She spent a privileged childhood at Villa Perosa, the family's country house, and on vacations in Forte dei Marmi. At age 20, she went work for the Red Cross, serving on ships carrying soldiers wounded in World War II. In 1945, she married Count Urbano Rattazzi, a nobleman with whom she had six children. After a divorce in 1971, Susanna Agnelli began her career as a politician. First she became the mayor of Monte Argentario, a village on the coast of Tuscany, which she described in her memoir Addio, Addio Mio Ultimo Amore (1985). She became a national celebrity with the publication of her first book, a bestselling autobiography called Vestivamo Alla Marinara (in English, We Always Wore Sailor Suits, 1975). In 1976, she was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies and moved to the Senate in 1985. She also served in the European Parliament from 1983 to 1992. In 1986, she was appointed undersecretary of state for Foreign Affairs, a position she held through four successive Prime Ministers. In 1995, she became the first woman to serve as Foreign Minister, the highest government post held by a woman in Italy.