So, during the Giro d'Italia, we continue with our focus on Italian ladies and this time we have an official Centrefold Venus of the Month entry in the very pleasing shape of Alice Gherardi.
We have already featured a pictorial from Playmen, a magazine which was set up when Playboy itself was banned in Italy but here is a pictorial from Playboy's Italian edition which launched in Italy in November 1972, five years after Playmen. As can be seen, the Italian edition did not worry about displaying nipples on the cover, unlike the US version at this time.
Initially Italian Playboy featured the same Playmates as the US edition (although not necessarily in the same order) and it was only in 1974 that they started to have a few Italian Playmates. 1978, however, saw the magazine feature a lot more home grown talent as centrefolds.
So we have Alice Gherardi as their Playmate of the Month for July 1978, looking very fine indeed in her thigh high boots as photographed by Roberto Rocchi, who shot for Playmen as well as Playboy Italia.
Alice was born in Rome on 12th February 1958, so was nineteen when these pictures were taken. She was 5' 4 1/2 inches tall
Although, on the whole, using different photographers for their non-US girls, there was no question of lesser talent and the pictures were always well done, just as the girls were always of the highest quality as well.
Her vital statistics were given as 32-22-32 and 7st 7lb (107 lbs for Americans) so she would have been easily portable.
Playboy always had, at this time, a number of black and white shots of their centrefolds and Playboy Italia was no different. However in US Playboy the black and white pictures were often depicting the girl in her normal life; shopping, with friends, with her family etc.
This black and white shot was used, in a colour version, in the Playboy Italia 1979 calendar (below).
Playboy Italia, however, just used the balck and white shots to provide more nude pictures of their models. They also didn't have, on the Playmate Data Sheet, the small shots of the Playmates when they were younger, some of which we always felt were a bit dubious. As one of my girlfriends pointed out once: "here is me naked at twenty years old and here is me at thirteen in case you want to imagine what I looked like then".
Playboy Italia also featured a lot of pictorials of starlets and even much more established actresses but Alice had already had a role in the 1977 film Il Gatto starring Ugo Tognazzi and Mariangela Melato.
In her Playmate Data Sheet she said she would like to travel the universe in a rocket ship and when she was small wanted to become a nuclear engineer (coincidentally, Agent Triple P met a girl the following year, who became his girlfriend a couple of years after that, who did become a nuclear engineer).
A sporty sort of girl; she liked swimming, ski-ing, tennis and horse riding as well as, rather less conventionally, collecting light bulbs, kitsch objects and stamps. Either Alice was a little collector or the copywriter had had too much Frascati at lunch.
These final shots demonstrate the main difference between Playboy in the US and Playboy Italia at the time, in that Italy's Playmates were showing their labia quite boldly.
It's not quite as assertive as Hustler or Penthouse at the time but is certainly comparable to the more explicit issues of Oui.
Alice made a number of other films, The Sister of Ursula (1978), Un poliziotto scomodo (1978) and The Killer Nun (1979) in which she played a nurse (above).
Anyway, a lovely girl and a fine addition to our collection of Italian ladies. We will also be looking at some of the covers of Playboy Italia shortly.