On May 15, 1896, a small, slender woman with a baby in her arms lay down across the tram track in Brozzi, a town on the outskirts of Florence. Her name was Barsene Conti, soon to be better known as “Baldissera” after General Antonio Baldissera, governor of Eritrea. For the month between May and June, she was the trecciaiola, or straw plaiter, who led the first strike demanding a pay rise for women’s work in Tuscany. Her action aimed to stop the transport of straw hats to Florence as her companions boarded the tramcars and set the hats on fire. Hoisting an Italian flag over her head, she and two of her supporters ran along the street, inciting other straw plaiters to stop work and join them. This was extraordinary because these were simple, often illiterate women used to working from home within a domestic cocoon.