The news of Tardiolo’s passing was shared by Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a tweet published on Sunday morning.
“With infinite sadness, the Foreign Ministry mourns the loss of Francesca Tardiolo, Italian Ambassador to Canberra, and shares in the grief of her loved ones,” the post reads.
Con infinita tristezza, la Farnesina piange la scomparsa di Francesca Tardioli, Ambasciatrice d’Italia a Canberra, e si unisce al dolore dei suoi cari. La ricorderemo con affetto per le sue ammirevoli qualità professionali e umane: una grande diplomatica e servitrice dello Stato. pic.twitter.com/6TEAeN4lgV
— Farnesina 🇮🇹 (@ItalyMFA) February 20, 2022
“We will remember her with affection for her admirable professional and human qualities: a great diplomat and servant of the state.”
She was 56 at the time of her death, and leaves behind two adult children in their twenties, reports the Corriere della Sera news daily.
Tardioli had been on holiday at her home in Foligno, Umbria following a meeting between Italy’s ambassadors and president Sergio Mattarella, and had been shortly due to return to her post in Canberra, according to Corriere.
The incident took place on Saturday afternoon. Tardioli was reportedly found by a family member who raised the alarm, but it was too late for emergency services to resuscitate her.
Italian authorities are investigating what might have led to the incident, but the most likely hypothesis at this time is accidental death, reports Perugia Today.
Tardioli was born on September 8th, 1965 and began her career as a diplomat in 1991 after graduating in political science from the University of Perugia, according to the news site Fanpage.it.
Over the course of her career, she served as consul general in Nuremberg and Tripoli, worked in the Italian embassy in Riyadh, and was assigned to the Permanent Representation to NATO in Brussels.
In 2014, she was made an Official Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic, and in 2016 she was appointed to the role of the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General for Political and Security Affairs and the Central Director for the United Nations and Human Rights.
Since the news of her death broke, condolences have poured in.
The mayor of Foligno, Stefano Zuccarini, said: “Having learned with great regret and deep emotion the tragic news of the death of our illustrious fellow citizen Francesca Tardioli, ambassador of Italy in Australia, I express my heartfelt condolences to the family on behalf of the municipal administration and the entire city of Foligno.”
The Italian embassy in Canberra, which Tardioli led since September 2019, described the diplomat as an “exquisite person, model of professionalism and promoter of human rights”.