Famous 20th Century Italian Writers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco.
4
Famous As: Italian Semiotician, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alessandria, Italy
Died: February 19, 2016

Italian novelist Umberto Eco is best remembered for his novels The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. He also taught at the University of Bologna and had released quite a few children’s books and translations. He was also known for his work on semiotics and medieval studies.

 2 Joel McHale

Joel McHale.
4
Famous As: Comedian, Actor
Birthdate: November 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome

Actor, comedian, and producer Joel McHale is best known for hosting the television series The Soup. He was interested in sports as a young boy but shifted his focus to acting while in college and earned his master's degree in acting. Even though he is more popular as a television actor, he has appeared in many films too.

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 3 Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini.
4
Famous As: Film Director and Scriptwriter
Birthdate: January 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rimini, Kingdom of Italy
Died: October 31, 1993

Italian film director and screenwriter, Federico Fellini, is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. He was nominated for the Academy Awards 12 times and won four in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. His distinctive style of film-making has inspired generations of directors in both Italy and Hollywood.

 4 Dario Fo

Dario Fo.
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: March 24, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sangiano

Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright Dario Fo, best remembered for the play Mistero Buffo, donned many hats and made his presence felt as an actor, stage director and designer, and painter. He and his wife, actor Franca Rame, did everything from writing sketches for the show Canzonissima to founding theater companies.

 5 Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini.
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 5, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bologna, Kingdom of Italy
Died: November 2, 1975

Noted film director and actor Pier Paolo Pasolini had already gained fame as a poet and author before stepping into the entertainment industry. The openly gay filmmaker was known for his usage of non-professional actors and themes of sexuality. His brutal murder remains to be a controversial topic.

 6 Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

 7 Primo Levi

Primo Levi.
4
Famous As: Writer, Chemist
Birthdate: July 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: April 11, 1987

Primo Levi was an Italian Jewish partisan, chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor. Over the course of his career, Levi authored several books, including If This Is a Man, which narrates his experience in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The book was adapted into a stage production titled Primo in 2004. Levi's 1963 memoir titled The Truce was adapted into a film.

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 8 Reinhold Messner

Reinhold Messner
4
Famous As: Explorer, Politician, Writer, Mountaineer
Birthdate: September 17, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brixen

 9 George Santayana

George Santayana.
6
Famous As: Philosopher, Essayist, Poet, & Novelist
Birthdate: December 16, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid
Died: September 26, 1952

One of George Santayana’s initial works, The Sense of Beauty, spoke about aesthetics, an oft-repeated topic in his later works. The Spanish-born American philosopher and Harvard professor is remembered for his quote “Only the dead have seen the end of war,” which has often been misattributed to Plato.

 10 Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni.
3
Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Editor
Birthdate: September 29, 1912
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Died: July 30, 2007

Michelangelo Antonioni was an Italian screenwriter, film director, editor, short story author, and painter. Renowned for making films with striking visual composition and elusive plots, Antonioni's work has influenced art cinema of the subsequent generation. Over the course of his career, Antonioni won many prestigious awards, including an honorary Academy Award, Palme d'Or, the Golden Bear, and the Golden Lion.

 11 Julius Evola

Julius Evola.
6
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 19, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: June 11, 1974

Julius Evola was an Italian poet, philosopher, painter, esotericist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, and occultist. Evola is extremely popular in fringe circles due to his supernatural, magical, and metaphysical beliefs. Due to his traditionalist views on gender, which advocated a purely patriarchal society, Evola is regarded as one of Italy’s most influential fascist racists of all time.

 12 Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini
6
Famous As: Film director, Actor, Film producer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Racecar driver
Birthdate: May 8, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome
Died: June 3, 1977

 13 Antonio Carluccio

Antonio Carluccio
3
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 19, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vietri sul Mare, Salerno, Campania, Italy
Died: November 18, 2017

 14 Italo Calvino

Italo Calvino
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 15, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Santiago de Las Vegas, Havana, Cuba
Died: September 19, 1985

Italian journalist, short-story writer and novelist Italo Calvino, counted among noted Italian fiction writers in the 20th-century, emerged as the most translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his demise. Notable works of Calvino include novels Invisible Cities and If on a winter's night a traveler; the collection of 12 short stories titled Cosmicomics, and the Our Ancestors trilogy.

 15 Luchino Visconti

Luchino Visconti
3
Famous As: Theatre director, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: November 2, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Milan
Died: March 17, 1976

 16 Gabriele D'Annunzio

Gabriele D'Annunzio
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 12, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pescara, Kingdom of Italy
Died: March 1, 1938

Known for literary works like Il Piacere and La Gioconda, Italian journalist, poet and playwright Gabriele D'Annunzio dominated the second period of Italian Decadentism. He became a national war hero during the First World War. His political endeavours include establishing and leading the short-lived Italian Regency of Carnaro in Fiume. He is often described as the forerunner of Italian fascism.  

 17 Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Poet lawyer
Birthdate: April 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome

 18 Veronica De Laurentiis

Veronica De Laurentiis
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 19 Giulio Andreotti

Giulio Andreotti
3
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Politician, Diplomat, Reporter
Birthdate: January 14, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome
Died: May 6, 2013

Giulio Andreotti was an Italian politician who served as the prime minister of Italy on three occasions between 1972 and 1992. Widely regarded as the most important and powerful politician of the First Republic, Andreotti was the second longest-serving Italian prime minister after Silvio Berlusconi in the post-war era. Giulio Andreotti also served in several ministerial positions throughout his career.

 20 Roberto Saviano

Roberto Saviano
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 22, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

Roberto Saviano is an Italian essayist, writer, and screenwriter. Since 2006, Saviano has been living under police protection after receiving death threats from an Italian criminal organization, which was upset with Saviano's works that expose the functionality of organized crime in Italy. Over the years, Roberto Saviano has also contributed to prominent Italian and international newspapers.

 21 Pierluigi Collina

Pierluigi Collina
4
Famous As: Association football referee, Writer, Economist
Birthdate: February 13, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bologna

Named "Best Referee of the Year" by FIFA for six consecutive times, Pierluigi Collina has a degree in economics from University of Bologne. His aptitude for the job was discovered when at seventeen he took up a course in refereeing and shortly began officiating in numerous high profile matches. Although retired, he is still involved with football in various capacities.

 22 Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 6, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Porto Empedocle, Italy
Died: July 17, 2019

 23 Vasco Rossi

Vasco Rossi
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zocca, Italy

 24 Silvia Colloca

Silvia Colloca
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 23, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

Silvia Colloca is an Italian-Australian actress, cookbook author, opera singer, and TV cookery show personality.  An opera-trained mezzo-soprano, she worked in musical theater before becoming an actress. She later created her own TV cookery shows that earned her much international prominence. She also runs a successful YouTube channel in collaboration with Marion Grasby.  

 25 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 22, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: December 2, 1944

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was an Italian poet, art theorist, and editor. He is credited with founding the Futurist movement and is remembered for his work Manifesto of Futurism. In 1918, he founded a political party called Futurist Political Party as an extension of the social and futurist artistic movement. The party merged with the Italian Fasces of Combat in 1919.

 26 Gabriele Amorth

Gabriele Amorth
3
Famous As: Catholic priest, Writer, Theologian
Birthdate: May 1, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Modena
Died: September 16, 2016

Exorcist and Catholic priest Gabriele Amorth had been in charge of countless exorcisms in his career of over 6 decades. The founder-president of the International Association of Exorcists, he had also penned a few books on his experiences as an exorcist and had been part of World War II, too.

 27 Mario Bava

Mario Bava
3
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Writer, Responsible for special effects
Birthdate: July 31, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sanremo
Died: April 25, 1980

 28 Carlo Rovelli

Carlo Rovelli
3
Famous As: Physicist, Writer
Birthdate: May 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Verona

Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist and writer. He is active mainly in the field of quantum gravity and is a founder of loop quantum gravity theory. He also has experience working in the history and philosophy of science. His popular science book, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, has sold over a million copies worldwide. 

 29 Rula Jebreal

Rula Jebreal
3
Famous As: Journalist, Pundit, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Haifa

Rula Jebreal is a Palestinian journalist, foreign policy analyst, novelist, and screenwriter. Her first novel Miral was adapted into a film of the same name. Directed by Julian Schnabel, Miral had Freida Pinto playing the title role.

 30 Michele Ferrari

Michele Ferrari
3
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 26, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy

Michele Ferrari is an Italian physician and cycling coach notorious for his role in supplying bicycle racers with performance-enhancing drugs. He received his degree in medicine and surgery at the University of Ferrara and became a specialist in sports medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome. His clients include Lance Armstrong, Michael Rogers, and Alexander Vinokourov. 

 31 Enrico Letta

Enrico Letta
3
Famous As: Politician, Academic, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: August 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pisa

 32 Milo Manara

Milo Manara
3
Famous As: Cartoonist, Illustrator, Writer, Artist
Birthdate: September 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lüsen

Milo Manara is an Italian comic book writer and artist best known for his erotic comics and illustrations. He studied architecture and painting, following which he made his debut as a comic illustrator. His works have appeared in several magazines, including Charlie Mensuel, Pilote, and Terror. He has also drawn low print variant covers for issues of Marvel comic books. 

 33 Alberto Moravia

Alberto Moravia.
3
Famous As: Italian novelist
Birthdate: November 28, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome
Died: September 26, 1990

Alberto Moravia was an Italian journalist and novelist best remembered for exploring themes like existentialism, social alienation, and sexuality. His anti-fascist novel The Conformist inspired the 1970 political drama film of the same name. Moravia's works have also inspired other films, such as Agostino, Contempt, The Empty Canvas, and Two Women.

 34 Cesare Pavese

Cesare Pavese.
3
Famous As: Italian poet
Birthdate: September 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Santo Stefano Belbo
Died: August 27, 1950

Italian author Cesare Pavese is remembered for his themes of gloom and loneliness and for his protagonists who were often loners. His prolonged fight with fascists and the failure of his affair with actor Constance Dowling led him to commit suicide by consuming sleeping pills in a Turin hotel.

 35 Oriana Fallaci

Oriana Fallaci
3
Famous As: War correspondent, Politician, Writer, Journalist, Conspiracy theorist
Birthdate: June 29, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Florence
Died: September 15, 2006

Oriana Fallaci was an Italian author, journalist, and political interviewer. She achieved international recognition during the '60s, '70s, and '80s for her long and revealing interviews with several world leaders, including Indira Gandhi, Yasser Arafat, Willy Brandt, and Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. Fallaci had a successful journalistic career and won important awards like the Bancarella Prize and the St. Vincent Prize.

 36 Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy

Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 24, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

 37 Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark

Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 38 Giacomo Balla

Giacomo Balla
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 18, 1871
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: March 1, 1958

 39 Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 23, 1896
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Palermo, Italy
Died: July 23, 1957

 40 Freya Stark

Freya Stark
5
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: January 31, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 9, 1993

 41 Walter Bonatti

Walter Bonatti
3
Famous As: Mountaineer, Explorer, Photographer, Mountain guide, Writer, Journalist
Birthdate: June 22, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bergamo
Died: September 13, 2011

Walter Bonatti was an Italian explorer, mountain climber, and journalist. He made a solo climb of a new route on the southwest pillar of the Aiguille du Dru in August 1955, among other achievements. He retired from mountaineering at the age of 35 and pursued a career as a reporter. He also wrote several books on mountaineering.    

 42 Marcella Hazan

Marcella Hazan
3
Famous As: Writer, Biologist
Birthdate: April 15, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cesenatico, Italy
Died: September 29, 2013

 43 Natalia Ginzburg

Natalia Ginzburg
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 14, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Palermo, Italy
Died: October 7, 1991

 44 Rafael Sabatini

Rafael Sabatini
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 29, 1875
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Iesi, Italy
Died: February 13, 1950

 45 Totò

Totò
3
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: February 15, 1898
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rione Sanità, Naples, Italy
Died: April 15, 1967

 46 Kuki Gallmann

Kuki Gallmann
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 1, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Treviso, Italy Treviso, Kingdom of Italy Italy

Born to Italian writer Cino Boccazzi, Kuki Gallmann later moved to Kenya with her husband and son, both of whom she lost in separate accidents. Taking up Kenyan citizenship, she focused on ecological conservation. He bestselling book I Dreamed Of Africa was later made into a movie.

 47 Curzio Malaparte

Curzio Malaparte
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 9, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Prato, Italy
Died: July 19, 1957

Curzio Malaparte was an Italian writer, diplomat, war correspondent, and filmmaker. Many of his works, such as La pelle were adapted into films. In 1926, he co-founded an Italian magazine called 900, which played a major role in the rise of Italian fascism. Curzio Malaparte also served as a co-editor and editor of Fiera Letteraria and La Stampa respectively.

 48 Guido Calabresi

Guido Calabresi
3
Famous As: Judge, University teacher, Dean, Writer
Birthdate: October 18, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Milan

Yale Law School professor Guido Calabresi currently serves as the United States Circuit Judge. As a legal scholar, he is considered a pioneer of law and economics. He has around 50 honorary degrees from institutes across the globe and has penned books such as The Costs of Accidents.

 49 Maria Valtorta

Maria Valtorta
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 14, 1897
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Caserta, Italy
Died: October 12, 1961

 50 Paolo Soleri

Paolo Soleri
3
Famous As: Architect, Writer, Sculptor, University teacher
Birthdate: June 21, 1919
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Turin
Died: April 9, 2013

Paolo Soleri was an Italian architect and educator who taught at the Arizona State University's College of Architecture. He is credited with establishing the Cosanti Foundation and also introduced the concept of arcology, a synthesis of ecology and architecture. A respected architect, Paolo Soleri won several prestigious awards like the American National Design Award and AIA Gold Medal.