The real story behind 'An American Girl in Italy'

Story highlights

  • Ninalee Craig appears in iconic photo "An American Girl in Italy"
  • She says the photo represents independence, not harassment

(CNN)People tend to wonder if the iconic photo of Ninalee Craig was staged.

It's the question she hears most often. To some, the scene in the black and white photo from another era is almost too perfect. Craig, 23 at the time, breezes past clusters of men on a sidewalk in Florence, Italy, head held high as if impervious to their ogling as she grasps her shawl and handbag.
Now 89, Craig insists the answer is no, still no. "It's the real McCoy."
    The next most frequent question is one Craig has been trying to move past for as long as the photo has been in the public eye: Was she afraid? Was she upset that she could not walk down the street in peace?