MILAN — Clara Agnelli died on Tuesday at age 96 in Mestre, Italy.
While leading a private life, Agnelli was no stranger to media scrutiny. She was the eldest of the Agnelli siblings that included the late Fiat president Gianni Agnelli, and married in 1938 at the age of 18 Austro-German prince Tassilo von Furstenberg. The couple had three children, Ira, Egon and Sebastiano.
“Clara Agnelli was an extraordinary woman. As a mother-in-law she welcomed me in the family with opened arms,” Diane von Furstenberg told WWD. “She was witty, elegant, original. Walking into her Cortina d’Ampezzo chalet at the age of 19 was an amazing experience. She was a loving mother and the best grandmother anyone can imagine. My children Alexandre and Tatiana spent their entire vacations in Cortina, Venice and Capri with their divine Nonna Clara.”
Von Furstenberg recalled how Agnelli was “an amazing cook, collected glass and later designed children’s clothes….mostly for her grandchildren. I will miss her.”
“Rest in peace, beloved Nonna Clara. I wanted to be as much like you as possible,” her granddaughter, singer and filmmaker Tatiana von Furstenberg posted on Instagram. “You took the time to teach me so much xo I love you and I miss you already.”
In another Instagram post, she called her “beloved grandmother” her “doppelgänger,” followed by hashtags “same face, same personality, same skills, same sense of humor, same taste.”
Clara Agnelli was also the aunt of Lapo Elkann, founder of Italia Independent.
While married to von Furstenberg, Agnelli created quite a scandal in 1948, when she ran away with count Giovanni Nuvoletti, at a time when adultery was a crime in Italy. She was almost arrested, but her brother Gianni confronted the couple in Switzerland and brought her back home. Agnelli eventually married Nuvoletti in 1989, after the death of her first husband, and the couple lived together until Nuvoletti’s death in 2008.