Joey Nigro writes:
In recent weeks, Nik Wallenda made headlines when he accomplished the spectacular feat of walking a tightrope over the most dangerous part of Niagara Falls. One footnote to the history of daredevils who tempted the gods. Believe it or not, in the 1870s, an Italian, Signorina Maria Spelterina, became the first woman to cross the Niagara River Gorge on a tight-rope. She also made the trip several times walking backwards and with peach baskets attached to her feet. On July 26, 1876, Maria Spelterina made a final crossing, left Niagara and never to return. I did as much research on her as I could online but, they say, her life and death remain somewhat of a mystery.
Online resources note that she also toured Europe, performing at Moscow, St. Petersburg, Saint Aubin on the Island of Jersey (August, 1872), and Catalan (24 August 1873). An article appeared in the French paper L’Univers Illustre in October, 1873, showing her crossing the harbour at Saint Aubin, Jersey and her portrait.
You can read more about Niagara Falls Daredevils at:
About CIAO! on WCNY FM: Italians love to say, “Canta che ti passa!” “Sing that it will pass!” so we always feature great music on CIAO!…a mix of old and new songs by our Italian American artists and Italian singers and composers…music that will lift your spirits…and music that you won’t hear anywhere else! Whether or not you’re Italian American, CIAO! is where you can enjoy the music, fun and traditions and celebrate the Italian in YOU! CIAO! airs every Sunday afternoon at 3:00 on WCNY-FM with me, Joey Nigro and my co-host Jim Battaglia (or online at http://www.wcny.org/radio/listen-now/classicfm).