Barbara Allason was born in Pecetto Torinese, near Turin, to an Austrian mother and Savoyard Italian father. She learned to speak German from her mother, Pauline Künzler, and attended schools and university in Naples, where her father Ugo Allason was posted as a senior military officer. She completed her studies at the University of Turin. She qualified as a high school German literature teacher, a job she held for many years. At age 22, she began publishing literary criticism in periodicals. In 1929, she was suspended from teaching by the Fascist government for having signed a letter of solidarity from Benedetto Croce, criticizing the Lateran Pact that created the Vatican as an independent state. She was a friend of many members of the anti-fascist resistance movement Giustizia e Libertà (Justice and Freedom), and her hilltop villa home -- shared with her niece Anita Rho -- became a gathering place for the intellectual members of this group. In 1934 , she was arrested by the Mussolini government and spent several months in prison. After her release, she continued to write articles on and translations of German authors such as Goethe, Schiller, Hesse, and Nietzsche, introducing their works to a wider audience in Italy. She also translated from French works by Voltaire and Pascal. She also wrote biographies, fiction, and an autobiography, Memoirs of un'antifascista, 1919-1940. She married Frederick Charles Wick, a scholar with whom had a son, Giancarlo Wick, who became a theoretical physicist.