Famous 20th Century Italian Writers

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 1 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco
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Famous As: Medievalist, Philosopher and Author of 'The Name of the Rose' and 'Foucault's Pendulum'
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 Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Italian-American actress Isabella Rossellini has made an important contribution to the American and Italian film industry. She has also appeared on stage, including an Off-Broadway production of The Stendhal Syndrome.  Also known for her involvement in conservation efforts, Rossellini serves as the director and president of the Howard Gilman Foundation, which focuses on the preservation of arts, photography, and wildlife.

 3 Joel McHale

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

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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 4 Luigi Pirandello

Luigi Pirandello
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: June 28, 1867
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Agrigento, Italy
Died: December 10, 1936

Luigi Pirandello was an Italian novelist, short story writer, poet, and dramatist. Best remembered for his plays, Pirandello was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934. An Italian nationalist, Pirandello supported Fascism; he asked the Fascist government to melt down his Nobel Prize medal for the Abyssinia Campaign.

 5 Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini
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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 Dario Fo

Dario Fo
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Famous As: Playwright who Rose to Fame by Winning the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature
Birthdate: March 24, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sangiano, Italy
Died: October 13, 2016

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.

 7 Francesca Gregorini

Francesca Gregorini
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 7, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Daughter of Bond girl Barbara Bach, Francesca Gregorini is also an Italian countess through her father. She grew up in Italy, England, and the U.S. The talented filmmaker is known for her dark and surreal characters and her critically acclaimed films such as The Truth About Emanuel.
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 8 Julius Evola

Julius Evola
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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.

 9 Roberto Rossellini

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

One of the pioneers of neo-realism, Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini was part of the French nouvelle vague movement. Born to the man who had set up Italy’s first cinema, Rossellini later grew up to make films such as Rome, Open City. He was also known for his scandalous affair with Ingrid Bergman.

 10 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.

 11 Antonio Carluccio

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

 12 Pierluigi Collina

Pierluigi Collina
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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.

 13 Luchino Visconti

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

Born to Duke Modrone, Luchino Visconti belonged to one of the most affluent families of Italy. He was also one of the pioneers of neo-realism and created masterpieces such as Senso and Rocco and His Brothers. A chain smoker, he was rumored to have had 120 cigarettes per day.

 14 Gabriele D'Annunzio

Gabriele D'Annunzio
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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.  

 15 Elena Ferrante

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

Elena Ferrante is an Italian novelist whose works have been translated into several languages. Ferrante is best known for her Neapolitan Novels book series. In 2016, Ferrante was named among the 100 most influential people list published by Time magazine. In 2016, her book The Story of the Lost Child was also shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize.

 16 Veronica De Laurentiis

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

 17 Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri
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Famous As: Writer, Best known as the writer of the popular Inspector Montalbano series of crime novels
Birthdate: September 6, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Porto Empedocle, Italy
Died: July 17, 2019

Andrea Camilleri was an Italian writer whose book The Potter's Field was honored with the CWA International Dagger award in 2012. Over the course of his career, Camilleri also won other prestigious awards, such as the Nino Martoglio International Book Award.

 18 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
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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.

 19 Roberto Saviano

Roberto Saviano
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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.

 20 Silvia Colloca

Silvia Colloca
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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.  

 21 Massimo Bottura

Massimo Bottura
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Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: September 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Modena, Italy

 22 Carlo Rovelli

Carlo Rovelli
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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. 

 23 Gian Carlo Menotti

Gian Carlo Menotti
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Famous As: Composer and librettist
Birthdate: July 7, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy
Died: February 1, 2007

Gian Carlo Menotti was an Italian-American librettist, playwright, director, and composer. Menotti is best remembered for composing popular operas that enjoyed success on Broadway during the 1950s. For his contribution to arts, Menotti was presented with a Kennedy Center Honor in 1984. In 1997, he was honored by the American Choral Directors Association with the prestigious Brock Commission.

 24 Vasco Rossi

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

 25 John Fante

John Fante
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Famous As: Novelist, Short story writer
Birthdate: April 8, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
Died: May 8, 1983

 26 Giulio Andreotti

Giulio Andreotti
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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.

 27 Michele Ferrari

Michele Ferrari
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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. 

 28 Alberto Moravia

Alberto Moravia
3
Famous As: Journalist, Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
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.

 29 Cesare Pavese

Cesare Pavese
3
Famous As: A Very Influential Italian Novelist, Poet and Short story writer
Birthdate: September 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Santo Stefano Belbo, Italy
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.

 30 Milo Manara

Milo Manara
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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. 

 31 Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy

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

 32 Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark

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

 33 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

 34 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.

 35 Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

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

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa was an Italian writer best remembered as the last Prince of Lampedusa. Tomasi is quite popular for his novel The Leopard which was published posthumously in 1958. His life and career inspired a docufilm titled Die Geburt des Leoparden which was directed by Luigi Falorni and screened at the 14th Rome Film Festival.

 36 Giacomo Balla

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

 37 Errico Malatesta

Errico Malatesta
3
Famous As: Anarchist propagandist and revolutionary socialist
Birthdate: December 14, 1853
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Italy
Died: July 22, 1932

A leading proponent of propaganda of the deed, Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta became involved in politics by the age of fourteen, when he wrote intimidating letters to King Victor Emmanuel II. A dynamic speaker and author, he helped to organize anarchist revolutionary groups in Europe and Americas, spending a total of 12 years in jail and 35 years in exile.

 38 Rafael Sabatini

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

Rafael Sabatini was an Italian-English author who wrote romance and adventure novels. Sabatini is best remembered for his bestselling novels like The Sea Hawk, Captain Blood: His Odyssey, and Bellarion the Fortunate. Overall, Rafael Sabatini wrote 34 novels, six non-fiction books, eight short story collections, and several uncollected short stories.

 39 Enrico Letta

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

Former prime minister of Italy, Enrico Letta was the son of a math professor and followed in his father’s footsteps to become a professor, too, teaching at universities such as HEC Paris. Later, he stepped into politics with the Christian Democracy party. He also has a doctorate degree in European Union Law.

 40 Freya Stark

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

Freya Stark was an Anglo-Italian travel writer and explorer. One of the first non-Arabs to explore the southern Arabian Desert, Stark penned down over 24 books on her travels in Afghanistan and the Middle East. She also wrote many essays and autobiographical works. In 1968, Freya Stark embarked on her last expedition to Afghanistan at the age of 75.

 41 Totò

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

 42 Anita Raja

Anita Raja
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Famous As: Translator, Writer
Birthdate: 1953 AD
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

 43 Marcella Hazan

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

 44 Alain Elkann

Alain Elkann
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 23, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Alain Elkann is an Italian journalist and novelist. He is known for his role as the conductor of cultural programs aired on Italian TV. Elkann is also known for his work which promotes a cordial relation between Americans and Italians. He is the president of the Italy-USA Foundation's Scientific Committee. In 2010, he received the America Award for his work.

 45 Natalia Ginzburg

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

Natalia Ginzburg was an Italian author who dealt with sensitive subjects like politics and family relationships during the Second World War. Ginzburg's works were often translated into English for readers in the USA and the UK. Over the course of her illustrious career, Natalia Ginzburg won several prestigious awards, such as the Bagutta Prize and Strega Prize.

 46 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.

 47 Jeanne Modigliani

Jeanne Modigliani
2
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: November 29, 1918
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: July 27, 1984

Jeanne Modigliani was an Italian-French Jewish art historian. She was the daughter of artists Amedeo Modigliani and Jeanne Hébuterne. She lost both her parents as a small child and was adopted by her aunt. She conducted extensive biographical research on her father years after his death and published the book Modigliani: Man and Myth.   

 48 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.

 49 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.

 50 Italo Svevo

Italo Svevo
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 19, 1861
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Trieste, Italy
Died: September 13, 1928

Italo Svevo was an Italian writer, playwright, novelist, short story writer, and businessman. Svevo was regarded as a pioneer of psychological fiction. He is remembered for his work La coscienza di Zeno, which is considered his magnum opus. Svevo is widely regarded as an important writer of the 20th century whose works had an influence on later generations of writers.