Domiziana and Francesca Romana Giordano - Two Sides of the Same Coin

Yes - 1995
By Marina Vergani

Domiziana and Francesca: two sisters, but two completely different lifestyles, two different characters and ambitions.

From the very beginning, the differences between the two sisters were more than evident: Domiziana was reserved and spent her time devouring books and films books and films, while the more vivacious Francesca cultivated a precocious interest in what wouid later become the passion of her life: her love of motorbikes. When she was 14, she was already playing the mechanic with her Vespa, and used it to bargain with friends who possessed 250 cc. models.

Domiziana Giordano was born in Rome. She studied at the "Silvio d'Amico" Accademia Nazionale di Arti Drammatiche and worked as assistant director to Luigi Squarzina at the Teatro Nazionale in Rome. She also studied architecture and completed her language studies at Harvard.

Her acting career began with Mario Monticelli in Amid Miej otto H in 1982, and followed up with an with an interesting series of roles in other films. In 1983 she acted in Andrej Tarkowskij's Nostalghia and two years later had a role in Stig BJorkman's Behind the Shutters. In 1986 she was in Zina by Ken McMuilen, in 1988 Bertolucci's Strono la Vita, in 1990 Godard's Nouvelle Vague and in 1993 Brandauer's Mario and the Magician. She also took the only female role in Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire last year.

Her theatrical experience includes Incantes'sms e Magia by Aldo Trionfo in 1983 at Spoleto, and Beppe Navello's Obhmov at the Teatro Nazionale in Rome in 1987.

She has also been involved in television productions: Paolo Moretti's D'annunzio's Lovers in 1987 was followed by roles in Ivana Massetti's Eleonora Fonseca Pimentel in 1990 and Italo Moscati's Gioco Perverso in 1991. A year later she played Mata Hari in Nicolas Roeg's The Young Indiana Jones. In 1993 she was in Machination by Gerard Verges and lastly, in the same year she played in Mauro Bolognini's La Famiglia Ricordi.

Domiziana is reserved and shies away the glittering attractions of the private party, the exclusive 'sala' and the crowded discotheque - anything which smacks of confusion and distraction. She had always been brought up to love culture and beauty: between one film and another she writes film scripts, plays and short stories, and she lives her life far from the madding crowd, immersed in classical music and good books. She has nothing whatever to do with the wheeling and dealing world of politics.

As an actress, she isn't yet satisfied because the introspective roles she has been given up to now haven't allowed her to indulge in the more comical and 'sunny' side of her nature.

Her love life has come to something of a standstill at the moment. A disappointing past experience helped her to understand that she has to protect her-self, and for this reason she is now concentrating her efforts on her acting and, behind the scenes, on writing. Domiziana has lived in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, London and Rome, and it is just this restlessness, this yearning for travel to discover new emotions, which brings her nearer to her sister.

Tall and curly haired, Francesca Giordano is a determined character whose passion for motorcycling is fear inspiring. Over the past three years she has raced in a number of national and international competitions. She has participated in the Campionato Femminile Sport Production for the last three seasons, has raced twice uphill on a Suzuki Gamma 250 and three times on the back of a Yamaha 550 SRX. She has also taken part in six races in the Sport Production OVER 125 series. Aboard a Cagiva Mito in 1993, she raced in the Sport Production 125 category, and took part in the Ducati 900 Monomarca races. In the 1993 Tourist Trophy she raced for an English team on a Kawasaki 400 and 600. In 1994, she took part in the national female Campionato Sport Production (125 category) and the Trofeo Monomarca Suzuki 600.

Francesca studied architecture and worked with her father in Rome. After opening her own studio she dealt mainly with the re-structuring of apartments. Once she had achieved a certain fame as an architect, she suddenly decided to change her whole life and pursue her passion for motorbikes, a passion which has never faded.

Going around the countryside near Rome and along the seafront no longer satisfied Francesca: she needed something extra, and that something was the excitement of the race and the emotion of competition. So she decided to dedicate herself to competitive motorbike racing.

Contrary to what one might think, riders have no difficulty in accepting female competitors. The trouble for a woman starts when she enters the whole motorcyling environment - when she has to find a team willing to make available the bike, the mechanics, the assistance necessary to ensure her tranquility and safety, and, last but not least, the sponsor. But these difficulties did nothing to discourage Francesca. Buoyed up with determination and enthusiasm, she achieved a number of third positions in the female championship and so obtained the chance to compete for the title.

Even the risks the sport necessarily involves did nothing to put her off. During a race at Vallelunga in 1991, a problem with the front fork led to the wheel coming off: she fell from the bike and the three riders behind her were unable to avoid run-ning over her. The result? She broke ten ribs, her ulna and left arm. She was out for four months, but she wasn't discouraged: following her recovery, a year later she decided to take part in the Tourist Trophy to be held on the Isle of Man. She studied the route and started preparing herself both physically and mentally for the race. Unfortunately, during the trial runs the engine of her Aprilia 125 seized up and...well, goodbye race. Francesca wanted to participate in the Tourist Trophy whatever the cost, and in 1993 she finally managed to do so: her Kawasaki 400 took her past the finishing line.

But why does Francesca love this particular race so much?

"The route is the best in the world. It runs inland for 60 kilometres through villages, woods, coutryside and beautiful hills. Besides that, you can race at a high speed, and that's why you can only participate in the TT if you really feel the passion of the race. Why else would anyone get up at four in the morning in the rain and the cold to start the race? Certain trial runs can only take place between five and seven in the morning so as to allow the normal circulation of traffic later on. The TT commands love and desire, and it inspires fear...No other track in the world can provide the same emotions, and the riders who are used to winning the title know that only too well".

Her love of motorcycles has recently spawned another passion for her camper. The camper allows her to move around the circuits with a newly found degree of intimacy: now she can organize a spaghetti party for her friends wherever she is. Francesca is, in fact, an excellent cook, and pasta dishes are her speciality. She loves nothing more than cooking for her friends and then spending the evening in idle talk. She really is atypical because her passion for motorbike racing does nothing to distance her from the smaller pleasures of life.

At the moment, Francesca is living in Milan where she can be nearer to the world of racing: she is currently seeking to create a team with two mechanics, trucks and garage tents, a camper and a caravan. She soon hopes to find a sponsor.

What does her family think of this decision? Well, her father doesn't mind because he thought she was going to become a parachutist, and so he encouraged her choice. Domiziana, on the other hand, is terrified every time she sets foot on the accelerator, even if she understands her passion. It couldn't really be otherwise: Domiziana and Francesca are very close, and despite their different lifestyles, they help and support each other whenever they can. A beautiful relationship.

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