She came from a noteworthy Piedmontese family, Giuseppe Peano was her great-uncle, and originally had an interest in painting. She continued to paint, gaining some attention with painting, throughout her life. She attended the University of Turin where Cesare Pavese led her to an increased interest in writing. She graduated with a degree in literature than worked as a librarian and teacher. During World War II she joined with the Resistance. After the war she became noted for writings that drew on personal and family experiences.