In France, violets and lily-of-the-valley are the flowers traditionally given to women to symbolise International Women's Day. After World War II, when Luigi Longo, the deputy secretary of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) wanted to start the same practice in Italy, he asked Teresa Mattei, the former partisan and member of the Constituent Assembly, for advice. She chose the mimosa because the French alternatives were too expensive and difficult to find in Italy. She said mimosa, which was plentiful in the countryside, was the flower that best reflected ‘female sweetness and fragility.' So today, thanks to her, Italian women now exchange or are given sprigs of this bright yellow flower to celebrate their day every March 8.