Levi-Montalcini had pursued the scientific career boldly challenging the patriarchal family and era she was born into: fighting the stereotype of becoming a housewife had required an incredible courage on her part. She was an outstanding medicine student at a time in which females were a rare sight in the scientific departments of Italian universities, then she had to escape the racial persecution against Jews between 1938 and 1945. During this time she continued her research alone, using improvised laboratory setups at each step of her flight through Italy and Europe.
Rita Levi-Montalcini continued her research and scientific career in the USA for thirty years, then she went back to Italy to support science in her home country. She held several very important positions as a teacher, as a “superexpert” (a title created just for her) at the National Research Council, as the president of the Italian Encyclopedia Institute, as a FAO ambassador, as a member of many National Science Academies – including the first female membership in the Vatican one – and in the Italian Senate.