Her political career began in 1974 as the mayor of Monte Argentario, an office she retained until 1984.
She was Under-Secretary at the Foreign Ministry in the Craxi, Goria and De Mita Governments and in the 6th Andreotti Government. In 1995, under Prime Minister Lamberto Dini she was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, as the only woman in the history of the Italian Republic to hold this office.
That same year she attended the 4th World United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing.
She represented Italy on the "European Grand Jury" which made the selection of the winner in the competition "A Motto for Europe".