, (born August 23 1958
) (some sources suggest 1960, Dell'Olio claims 1964 in her autobiography) better known as Nancy Dell’Olio
, is an Italian property lawyer who attained fame as the girlfriend of England
football (soccer) manager Sven-Göran Eriksson
. She was spoofed regularly by Ronni Ancona
in the comedy sketch show Alistair McGowan
's Big Impression
Dell'Olio was born in New York
, where her mother Antonia was born. At the age of five her family moved back to Italy
, to the hard-up town of Bisceglie
in the Province of Bari
The Dell'Olios had little money and lived in an apartment above a clothes shop. Nunzia, as she was then known, began to experiment with different styles. A former classmate said "I think she felt suffocated by the provincial standards here. She was a girl who desperately needed to be something just a little bit more".
At the age of 21, Dell'Olio was hit by a car and spent several weeks in hospital. She studied law at Rome University, and then decided to continue her education at New York University (NYU). On her return to Italy she married successful lawyer Giancarlo Mazza, and set up her own legal practice specialising in high-end property deals.
In May 1998, she met Sven-Göran Eriksson, the manager of Lazio football team. In 2001, Eriksson was offered £2 million to manage the England team, so he and Dell'Olio relocated to Regents Park, London.
Work with Red Cross
Dell'Olio has visited British Red Cross
projects in both the UK and overseas. She takes a keen interest in projects that work with vulnerable young people. She is quoted as saying "I have always been a great admirer of the principles and values behind the work of the Red Cross. The thing that really impressed me is that the Red Cross seems to go everywhere, more than any other charity."
In May 2006, Dell'Olio urged people to dress in red for Red Cross week in order to raise money for those in need.
Dell’Olio is the chairwoman of Truce International, the British based charity she founded with Eriksson which aims to use football as a means of uniting people in areas affected by war. She has visited Israel numerous times to promote football as a force for peace.
In 2005, Dell'Olio was the host of Footballers' Cribs
on MTV. In this programme she gives viewers a guided tour around the luxury homes of premiership football players. "Nancy is a dream signing for us," said series executive producer Sean Murphy. "She's the first lady of football, so is in the perfect position to give us a real insider's view."
She had an autobiography published in June 2007, entitled My Beautiful Game.
It's all about me,' Nancy Dell'Olio gushed, with no hint of irony, to reporters at the launch party for her wonderfully, unintentionally comic autobiography: 'It's about New York, Italy, my life, my beautiful life.
Nancy also appeared in the 2008 version of the popular Sky One programme, Project Catwalk. She challenged the designers to create a dress that would get her on the best dressed list.