Famous Italian Essayists

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: 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 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.  

 3 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.

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 4 Giacomo Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 29, 1798
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Recanati, Italy
Died: June 14, 1837

Giacomo Leopardi was one of the greatest lyric poets of the 19th century. Born into a noble family, he mastered several languages and wrote many works by 16, in spite of suffering from a cerebrospinal ailment. Remembered for his iconic works such as A Silvia, he died during a cholera epidemic.

 5 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.

 6 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.

 7 Altiero Spinelli

Altiero Spinelli
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 31, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: May 23, 1986

Known as one of the EU’s founding fathers, Italian politician Altiero Spinelli was a communist who had spent 16 years in confinement for opposing fascist powers. While in prison, he co-wrote the Ventotene Manifesto. He later represented Central Italy in the European Parliament and was part of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

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 8 Alessandro Baricco

Alessandro Baricco
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 25, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Turin, Italy

Alessandro Baricco is an Italian writer and director. He is also an occasional performer. He is considered one of Italy's most versatile contemporary writers. He studied philosophy and piano and has worked as a music critic. He is also a playwright and essayist. He is a co-founder of the Holden School of Contemporary Humanities. 

 9 Renata Adler

Renata Adler
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 19, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

Renata Adler is an author, journalist, and film critic who has been a staff writer-reporter for The New Yorker. She studied comparative literature at Harvard University and later received a J.D. from Yale Law School. Despite not being much knowledgeable about films, she became a film critic for The New York Times. She has also written many books. 

 10 Leonardo Sciascia

Leonardo Sciascia
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 8, 1921
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Racalmuto, Italy
Died: November 20, 1989

Italian author Leonardo Sciascia is best remembered for works on political corruption. Some of his notable works, such as Open Doors and Illustrious Corpses, were turned into films. Initially a member of the Italian Communist Party, he later joined the Radical Party. He was also elected to the European Parliament.

 11 Pietro Bembo

Pietro Bembo
3
Famous As: Former Renaissance cardinal who wrote one of the earliest Italian grammars and assisted in establishing the Italian literary language
Birthdate: May 20, 1470
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: January 18, 1547

Pietro Bembo was an Italian scholar, poet, and literary theorist. He was also a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and a member of the Knights Hospitaller, a Catholic military order. He played a key role in the development of the Tuscan dialect as a literary language. As a priest, he promoted the Christian perfection of Renaissance humanism. 

 12 Giuseppe Ungaretti

Giuseppe Ungaretti
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 8, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: June 2, 1970

Giuseppe Ungaretti was an Italian poet, essayist, journalist, academic, and critic. One of the most important contributors to Italian literature during the 20th century, Ungaretti was honored with the first Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1970. He is credited with popularizing hermetic poetry, a form of difficult and obscure poetry.

 13 Giovanni Papini

Giovanni Papini
2
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: January 9, 1881
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: July 8, 1956

 14 Mauro Biglino

Mauro Biglino
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Turin, Italy

 15 Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Valerio Massimo Manfredi
2
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Castelfranco Emilia, Italy

Valerio Massimo Manfredi is an Italian historian, essayist, writer, archaeologist, and journalist. He earned a degree in classical arts at the University of Bologna and became an archaeologist. He later pursued an academic career and published many essays and articles. He has held conferences and seminars in many reputed universities. He is also the author of several best-selling novels. 

 16 Giorgio Bassani

Giorgio Bassani
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 4, 1916
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: April 13, 2000

 17 Fausto Cercignani

Fausto Cercignani
2
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: March 21, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cagliari, Italy

 18 Claudio Magris

Claudio Magris
2
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: April 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Trieste, Italy

 19 Alessandro Barbero

Alessandro Barbero
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 30, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Turin, Italy

Alessandro Barbero is an Italian historian, essayist, and novelist. He studied literature and medieval history at the University of Turin. He is the author of numerous works on history, including The Battle, an account of the Battle of Waterloo. He is also a TV and radio commentator and organizer on the Italian cultural scene. He received the 1996 Strega Prize. 

 20 Francesco Algarotti

Francesco Algarotti
2
Famous As: Polymath
Birthdate: December 11, 1712
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: May 3, 1764

 21 Carlo Emilio Gadda

Carlo Emilio Gadda
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 14, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: May 21, 1973

 22 Massimo Bontempelli

Massimo Bontempelli
1
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 12, 1878
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Como, Italy
Died: July 21, 1960

 23 Luigi Capuana

Luigi Capuana
1
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: May 28, 1839
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mineo, Italy
Died: November 29, 1915

 24 Edoardo Sanguineti

Edoardo Sanguineti
1
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 9, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: May 18, 2010

 25 Giorgio Manganelli

Giorgio Manganelli
1
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: November 15, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: May 28, 1990

 26 Anna Maria Ortese

Anna Maria Ortese
1
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 13, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 9, 1998

 27 Vincenzo Cuoco

Vincenzo Cuoco
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: October 1, 1770
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Molise, Italy
Died: December 14, 1823

 28 Riccardo Bacchelli

Riccardo Bacchelli
1
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 19, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: October 8, 1985

 29 Sebastiano Timpanaro

Sebastiano Timpanaro
0
Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: September 5, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Parma, Italy
Died: November 26, 2000

 30 Carlo Cassola

Carlo Cassola
1
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 17, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: January 29, 1987

 31 George Colman the Elder

George Colman the Elder
0
Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: March 31, 1732
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: August 14, 1794