1921 - 1940

Born in Trieste, Fiore's father was descended from Spanish nobles at the Habsburg court in Vienna and her mother from a typically Triestine mix of Hungarian, Balkan and Italian forbears. Fiore's older brother Diego founded the present War Museum in the city.

By the time Fiore was born, eleven and a half years after her brother Diego, the family had changed from high-ranking Habsburg servants into members of the bourgeoisie. Trieste, on the north eastern border of Italy, was a cosmopolitan city,a frontier town where the borders kept changing. Fiore , with her Austrian, Italian, Hungarian and Danish ancestry - not forgetting the trace of Spanish - was a true child of Trieste.

"When I am born, my mother thrust me into a basin of cold water, to see if I would survive. She was like a Spartan: if I had not been good enough I think she would have let me die. Sometimes I dream of pulling myself out of the water, into the nurse’s arms"

"My poor mother did not deserve to have a daughter like me. She said to the mother of Margot Fonteyn, why have you such a beautiful daughter, and I have this - this monster? "

My father was a gentleman. He was a wonderful man, two metres tall. I adored him. My mother was always angry with me, but he was never angry. He was gentle, generous, adorable. We were great friends; when we walked, he put my little hand into his pocket, to keep it warm."

"Best of all was when we went up into the hills for a day, in an open horse-carriage; then we would lie on the ground, looking up at the sky, and tell each other silly stories. "


"I used to run away all the time. I remember I used to stand outside the house, asking people to take me away, far away, anywhere."

"My brother would tell me such lovely stories. One of my favourites was about Marco Polo, going to China and finding his way by the stars, the great bear and little bear. He told me about the stars and the moon, and the effect the moon has on the earth, and all about the Greek gods and myths . . . He was the first to tell me about the Greek myths, about the union of Hermes and Aphrodite, half way between the gods and man. I loved him very much."

"My brother he was always obsessed with war and military things, collecting weapons and uniform; indeed so much there is now his museum in Trieste, the De Henriquez Museum of War and Peace."

"Certainly I was happy until my brother left me. Bloody hell. He betrayed me, and I loved him so much."

"When I was a child, I dreamed that I was a captain of the sea, who must come back to all his children"

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