Italian general, patriot, and republican Giuseppe Garibaldi is remembered for the role he played in the Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. He is considered one of Italy's "fathers of the fatherland." A highly proficient military general, he also led the Expedition of the Thousand on behalf of Victor Emmanuel II. He died in 1882.
Gina Lollobrigida is an Italian actress and photojournalist counted amongst the highest-profile European actresses of the 1950s and 1960s. Considered a sex symbol in her youth, she had a successful career both in the film and TV industries. She later built a second career as a photojournalist. She is a recipient of the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian Jewish painter and sculptor. He is remembered for his surrealist and modern-style depiction of nudes in his portraits. Even though he spent his youth in Italy, he worked mainly in France. He enjoyed little success while he was alive. He died young at the age of 35 and received massive posthumous appreciation for his works.
Italian-born French fashion designer Pierre Cardin revolutionized unisex fashion with his geometric designs. His wine merchant father wanted him to study architecture, but Cardin deviated to fashion instead, starting his career as a men’s tailor. He introduced the Space Age look and also licensed his name out to other products.
Gianluca Vialli is an Italian former football player who played as a striker. He scored 286 goals in more than 500 appearances and is the tenth-highest scoring Italian footballer in all competitions. After his retirement, he became manager of the English football club Chelsea and was one of the club's most successful managers.
The dictator of Italy from 1925 to 1945, Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in 1919. It opposed class discrimination and supported nationalism. But when in power, Mussolini crushed rival political parties, trade unions, free press and free speech. He was overthrown by his former colleagues in the Fascist government in July 1943 and ultimately shot dead in April 1945.
Daniele De Rossi is an Italian football coach and former player. He is currently serving as the national football team's assistant coach. A defensive midfielder during his playing career, Daniele helped his team win the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He is the highest-scoring midfielder for Italy post-World War II.
Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico, the founder of the scuola metafisica art movement, showed marked influence of his childhood spent in Greece in his work. His metaphysical paintings showcased empty cityscapes, mannequins, trains, and towers. His notable works include The Child's Brain and The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon.
Composer Christoph Willibald Gluck left home when his father went against his passion for music and pushed him into forestry. He then reached Milan, where he learned Italian instrumental music and later fused Italian and French opera music. His best-known works include Orfeo ed Euridice and La rencontre imprévue.
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian architect, painter, writer, engineer, and historian. He is best remembered for his work The Lives, a series of artist biographies, which is regarded as the art-historical writing's ideological foundation. Vasari is also credited with the formulation of the term Renaissance as it was first suggested by Jules Michelet based on Giorgio Vasari's text.
Best known for her role as the Cigar Girl in the James Bond flick The World Is Not Enough, Maria Grazia Cucinotta initially made a name for herself in the Italian TV industry. She was also appreciated for her role in the comedy-drama movie Il Postino and has a star on Toronto’s Italian Walk of Fame.
A qualified civil engineer, Vilfredo Pareto had initially worked for the railways and the ironworks. However, he gradually deviated to philosophy, sociology, and politics and gained fame for his application of math to economic issues and his introduction of Pareto efficiency. Mind and Society remains his best-known work.
Four-time Academy Award-winning director Vittorio De Sica was a symbol of Italian neorealism. Apart from creating masterpieces such as Bicycle Thieves and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. He had begun his career acting in silent films and had then also participated in musical theater. He was both a Roman Catholic and a communist.
A multitalented racing driver and twice Formula One World Champion, Alberto Ascari began his racing career with motorcycles, eventually shifting to automobiles, making his debut at Mille Miglia. Later, he started participating in other events, winning a total of thirteen races, including 1951 German Grand Prix and 1953 Swiss Grand Prix before passing away at the age of 36 while testing a car.
Italian lawyer Virginia Raggi made history when she became the first female mayor of Rome. A champion of women’s rights, she also prioritizes climate change issues and is concerned about de-congesting her city. A Five Star Movement member, she withdrew Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid, stating Rome would’ve been in debt otherwise.
Nobel Prize-winning cytologist and physician Camillo Golgi is remembered for his contribution to the study of the central nervous system. He revolutionized medical science with his staining technique and discoveries such as the Golgi cell, the Golgi tendon organ, and the Golgi apparatus, apart from his research on malaria.
Italian painter and printmaker Giorgio Morandi is best remembered for his remarkable still life paintings of subjects such as vases, boxes, bottles, and flowers. Though he was hugely inspired by the works of Paul Cézanne, his paintings, known for their gentle, subdued tones, do not fit in any specific school of painting.
While Luigi Di Maio had studied both engineering and jurisprudence, he dropped out of university to take up odd jobs. A co-founder of the Friends of Beppe Grillo group, which later took the shape of the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, Di Maio is the incumbent Italian foreign affairs minister.
A 15th-century Italian captain, Francesco I Sforza reigned as the duke of Milan. He was one of the 7 illegitimate sons of Sforza dynasty founder, Muzio Attendolo Sforza. He later backed a Milan–Florence alliance, which led to the Peace of Lodi. He was also known as a patron of art and architecture.
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.
Lawrence of Brindisi was a Roman Catholic priest and a theologian. He was an accomplished linguist and could read and speak native Italian, Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Spanish, and German fluently. Ordained a priest at 23, he was elected the superior of the Capuchin Franciscan province of Tuscany at 31. He was canonized as a saint in December 1881.
Giovanna Amati is an Italian former racing driver and one of the more recent female drivers to have participated as a racer in the Formula One World Championship. In 1992, she became the fifth female driver to participate in Formula One when she signed for the Brabham team. In 1993, she won the Women's European Championship at the Porsche SuperCup.
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.