She was born in Viareggio and showed great artistic talent from a very young age: her main dream was apparently dancing, maybe inspired by her older brother Sergio, who was later to become a musician. But then her other great passion prevailed, cinema, which had already led her, in her early teenage years, to shoot Super 8 videos, directed by her brother. The doors of the Cinecittà studios opened for her after she won a beauty pageant: filmmaker Pietro Germi saw her on the cover of a magazine and called her in for an audition. But her debut was in Gioventù di notte by Mario Sequi, followed by Luciano Salce’s The Fascist, both released in 1961, as Germi waited for two months before making a decision on her audition. Nonetheless, his Divorce Italian Style was her big break. In fact, she would later say about him: “Germi was the one who nourished my passion for my work as an actress: I was just a little girl in love with show business, dreaming about cinema, and he helped me to express myself”. She was not even twenty when she became a star, one of the most outstanding newcomers of the “commedia all’italiana” (Comedy Italian Style), working a long side film legends such as Ugo Tognazzi and Marcello Mastroianni. Her innocent face and Mediterranean beauty create an irresistible mixture of freshness and sensuality, which makes her an ideal actress, as she gets into her characters in an extremely natural way. But behind her girlish look there is a stubborn, strong and inquiring woman. She therefore started to work with the greatest directors of the time: in 1964 she starred in La bella di Lodi, based on a novel by Arbasino, and the following year she worked again with Germi in Seduced and Abandoned, and later with Antonio Pietrangeli in I Knew Her Well and with Carlo Lizzani in The Bandit. She also had her first international experiences, with Magnet of Doom by Jean -Pierre Melville and Tender Scoundrel by Jean Becker. The Seventies consolidated her reputation and began in the name of Bernardo Bertolucci and his The Conformist, but she also made forays into different genres, with Black Belly of the Tarantula by Paolo Cavara and Devil in the Brain by Sergio Sollima. But among her many collaborations, a prominent place is occupied by the one with Ettore Scola, who called her in 1974 for his masterpiece We All Loved Each Other So Much (which won her the Grolla d’Oro Award) and then again in 1980 for The Terrace. Despite the bittersweet tone of Scola’s comedies, there were great chemistry and fun on set with him (“Scola was incredibly ironic and likeable”). Upon the shift to the Eighties, whose new canons risked to put a stop to her otherwise irresistible career, Sandrelli once again reacted with great character and personality, playing all her cards right. Her comeback film was The Key by Tinto Brass, in 1983, which confirmed her iconic image as a sensual and spontaneous woman, capable of playing with her own physical aspect. Not surprisingly, she began to receive a growing number of accolades: in 1980 the Silver Ribbon Award for the already mentioned The Terrace, in 1987 the Italian Golden Globe for The Family , in 1989, the David di Donatello, the Ciak d’Oro and the Silver Ribbon for Mignon Has Come to Stay, in 1990 the Sacher d’Oro for Evelina e i suoi figli. In the meantime, she started a TV career, working with directors such as Giovanni Soldati, Vittorio Sindoni, Mario Monicelli, and later on, along the Nineties, with Lamberto Bava, Cinzia TH Torrini, until the hit TV series Maresciallo Rocca a long side Gigi Proietti. In the same years, she made new and successful forays into the big screen, with directors such as Bigas Luna (Jamón Jamón), Francesca Archibugi (With Closed Eyes) and again Bertolucci (Stealing Beauty) and Scola (The Dinner). In the new century she has reached new heights, playing memorable roles: in 2001 she won the David di Donatello for The Last Kiss by Gabriele Muccino, and won again a year later with Sons and Daughters by Marco Bechis. She was also critically acclaimed in 2004 for I Can See It In Your Eyes, by Valia Santella. In 2005 she was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival, and, the following year,an Honour Award at the Silver Ribbon Awards. At the end of the decade she played the partly autobiographical role of a woman who had pursued success after winning a beauty pageant in The First Beautiful Thing , directed by Paolo Virzì, which earned her a not her Silver Ribbon. It was also time for her directorial debut, with Christine Cristina, released the same year, the symbol of a talent that is not afraid of challenges and keeps working in different fields of entertainment, with both the freshness of a new comer and the stubbornness of an actress who has successfully crossed six decades of great Italian cinema.