Famous Italian Philosophers

The old-world charm and beauty of Italy wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for Italian philosophers who dominated much of the country’s culture, heritage and traditional landscape. What’s more, Italian philosophy exerted a huge influence on Western philosophy and helped shaped much of its structure and ideologies. Right from the ancient times, Italy has been home to some of the world’s most renowned philosophers, whose thinking and ideologies gave people a new dominion from which they could look at things. Philosophers like Cicero, Lucretius, Plutarch and Clement of Alexandria all belong to Ancient Rome. The period of ancient philosophy gave way to medieval philosophy which in turn saw the emergence and dominance of the Renaissance movement that swiftly enrolled entire Europe. It was during this time that Italian philosophy gained new heights with the philosophies of Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, Tommaso Campanella, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. The Age of Enlightenment witnessed the emergence of Giovani Battista Vico, who in turn became the founder of modern Italian philosophy. Find out more about greatest Italian philosophers through this section.

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 Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 26, 0121
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 17, 0180

Marcus Aurelius played an important role in the Roman Empire. A Stoic philosopher, Marcus was part of the Five Good Emperors and the last emperor of the Pax Romana—a 200-year-long period of relative peace in the Roman Empire. Also a writer, his work Meditations is regarded by many as one of the greatest works of philosophy.

 2 Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: May 3, 1469
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 22, 1527
Italian Renaissance philosopher, diplomat, and author Niccolò Machiavelli is remembered for his work The Prince. He believed that the end or the intention behind any action justifies the action. He gave rise to the term Machiavellianism, which signifies the use of deceit and treachery to achieve one’s goals. 

 3 Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1265 AD
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: September 14, 1321

Dante Alighieri was an Italian writer, poet, and philosopher. His work Divine Comedy is widely regarded as the greatest literary work ever produced in the Italian language and the most prominent poem of the Middle Ages. Often referred to as the father of the Italian language, Dante Alighieri played a crucial role in establishing the Italian literature.

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 4 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco
Famous As: Medievalist, 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.

 5 Antonio Gramsci

Antonio Gramsci
Famous As: Marxist philosopher, Journalist
Birthdate: January 23, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ales, Italy
Died: April 27, 1937

Antonio Gramsci was an Italian politician, journalist, philosopher, linguist, and writer. A founding member of the Communist Party of Italy, Gramsci went on to serve as the leader of the party before he was arrested by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime. Since his death, Antonio Gramsci has been the subject of several plays and films.

 6 Giordano Bruno

Giordano Bruno
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1548 AD
Birthplace: Nola, Italy
Died: February 17, 1600

Giordano Bruno was an Italian philosopher, friar, mathematician, cosmological theorist, poet, and Hermetic occultist. Best remembered for his cosmological theories, Bruno insisted that the universe could have no center as it is infinite. In 2004, Herbert Steffen founded the Giordano Bruno Foundation in Bruno's honor.

 7 Julius Evola

Julius Evola
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.

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 8 Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0477 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: October 23, 0524

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius was a Roman senator, consul, and philosopher of the early 6th century. He worked under the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great, who later imprisoned and killed him. In jail, Boethius wrote his Consolation of Philosophy, which is considered a seminal treatise on death, fortune, and other issues. He also translated the works of Plato and Aristotle.  

 9 Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm of Canterbury
Famous As: Saint, Philosopher
Birthdate: 1033 AD
Birthplace: Aosta, Italy
Died: April 21, 1109

Owing to his quality classical education, Anselm of Canterbury became one of the finest Latinists of his time. As Archbishop of Canterbury, he resisted the English kings and was exiled. He is now remembered as a significant figure in the Investiture Controversy, which pitted the king against the pope.

 10 Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 11 Zeno of Elea

Zeno of Elea
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0495 AD
Birthplace: Velia, Italy
Died: 0430 AD

 12 Vilfredo Pareto

Vilfredo Pareto
Famous As: Economist, Writer, Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher
Birthdate: July 15, 1848
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris
Died: August 19, 1923

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.

 13 Cesare Beccaria

Cesare Beccaria
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: March 15, 1738
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan
Died: November 28, 1794

Cesare Beccaria was an 18th-century Italian criminologist, philosopher, jurist, and politician. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment. He is still remembered for his treatise On Crimes and Punishments (1764), a pioneering work in the field of penology. He is considered the father of modern criminal law. 

 14 Leon Battista Alberti

Leon Battista Alberti
Famous As: Renaissance humanist author
Birthdate: February 14, 1404
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: April 25, 1472
Born into an affluent banker family of Florence, Leon Battista Alberti was rumored to be an illegitimate son of his father and a Bolognese widow. The ideal Renaissance man, he later applied mathematical precision to his paintings and architectural work. His written work on art remains invaluable.

 15 Giovanni Gentile

Giovanni Gentile
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 30, 1875
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Castelvetrano, Italy
Died: April 15, 1944

 16 Bonaventure

Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1221 AD
Birthplace: Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
Died: July 15, 1274

Bonaventure was an Italian philosopher, scholastic theologian, and Franciscan. A prominent philosopher, Bonaventure wrote on various subjects and his writings are considered substantial. Bonaventure, who served as the Cardinal Bishop of Albano, was canonized by Pope Sixtus IV on 14 April 1482.

 17 Giacomo Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi
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.

 18 Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 24, 1463
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mirandola, Italy
Died: November 17, 1494

 19 Giambattista Vico

Giambattista Vico
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 23, 1668
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: January 23, 1744

Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico is regarded as a pioneer of what is now known as cultural anthropology, or ethnology. He brought together history and the social sciences in his work Scienza nuova. A poor bookseller’s son, he studied by candlelight but grew up to be a major Counter-Enlightenment figure.

 20 Elena Cornaro Piscopia

Elena Cornaro Piscopia
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 5, 1646
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: July 26, 1684

 21 Antonio Negri

Antonio Negri
Famous As: Philosopher, Politician, Professor, Economist
Birthdate: August 1, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Padua

Italian philosopher Antonio Negri has donned many hats, from teaching law at the University of Padua to being part of the Italian parliament. An Autonomism leader, he was accused of being part of the left-wing militant organization Red Brigades and later fled to Paris. Empire is one of his best works.

 22 Benedetto Croce

Benedetto Croce
Famous As: Philosopher, Politician, Art historian, Writer, Literary critic
Birthdate: February 25, 1866
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pescasseroli
Died: November 20, 1952

 23 Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher, Theologian
Birthdate: May 16, 1718
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: January 9, 1799

Italian mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi, daughter of an affluent silk trader, was well-versed in a number of languages as a child. Most of her work was regarding algebra, calculus, and the Witch of Agnesi. She was also the first female academic to write a math book and to teach math.

 24 Nicholas of Cusa

Nicholas of Cusa
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
Birthdate: 1401 AD
Birthplace: Bernkastel-Kues, Germany
Died: August 11, 1464

Nicholas of Cusa was a German mathematician, astronomer, jurist, theologian, and philosopher. One of the first supporters of Renaissance humanism in Germany, Nicholas of Cusa made significant political and spiritual contributions in European history. He is remembered for his efforts to reform the universal and Roman Church.

 25 Marsilio Ficino

Marsilio Ficino
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, Cleric, Astrologer, Poet
Birthdate: October 19, 1433
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Figline Valdarno
Died: October 1, 1499

 26 Hippasus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0500 BC
Birthplace: Metapontum, Italy
Died: 0450 BC

 27 Roger Joseph Boscovich

Roger Joseph Boscovich
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: May 18, 1711
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Died: February 13, 1787

Italian astronomer and mathematician Roger Joseph Boscovich was one of the first European scientists to accept Newton’s gravitational theory. His contributions to astronomy include the application of geometry to compute the orbit of a planet and the equator of a rotating planet. He also laid the foundation of the atomic theory.

 28 Alessandro Manzoni

Alessandro Manzoni
Famous As: Poet, Novelist and Philosopher.
Birthdate: March 7, 1785
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: May 22, 1873

Alessandro Manzoni was a 19th-century Italian poet, novelist, and philosopher. His novel The Betrothed is generally counted among the masterpieces of world literature. He is credited to have contributed to the stabilization of the modern Italian language. He was politically active and was a member of the Italian Senate. He was a proponent of Liberal Catholicism. 

 29 Daniele Bolelli

Daniele Bolelli
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: January 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

Daniele Bolelli is an Italian writer, academic, martial artist, and podcaster. Born into a family of writers, he studied history at CSULB and Cardiff University before embarking on an academic career. He is known for taking a "renaissance man approach” as a lecturer. He is the author of several books on philosophy and martial arts.  

 30 Tommaso Campanella

Tommaso Campanella
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 5, 1568
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stilo, Italy
Died: May 21, 1639

Tommaso Campanella was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, astrologer, and poet. His heterodox views often brought him into conflict with the authorities, and he was imprisoned for several years. In prison, he wrote The City of the Sun, a utopia describing an egalitarian theocratic society. He also defended astronomer Galileo Galilei in his first trial. 

 31 Altiero Spinelli

Altiero Spinelli
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.

 32 Gaetano Mosca

Gaetano Mosca
Famous As: Political scientist
Birthdate: April 1, 1858
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Palermo, Italy
Died: November 8, 1941

Gaetano Mosca was an Italian journalist, political scientist, and public servant. He developed the elite theory and is credited with co-founding the Italian school of elitism along with Robert Michels and Vilfredo Pareto. As a political journalist, Gaetano Mosca contributed immensely to popular Italian publications like the Corriere della Sera and the Tribuna.

 33 Gianni Vattimo

Gianni Vattimo
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 4, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Turin, Italy

 34 Brunetto Latini

Brunetto Latini
Famous As: writer, politician, philosopher, poet, diplomat
Birthdate: 1220 AD
Birthplace: Florence
Died: 1294 AD

 35 Marsilius of Padua

Marsilius of Padua
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: 1275 AD
Birthplace: Padua, Italy
Died: 1342 AD

 36 Norberto Bobbio

Norberto Bobbio
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 18, 1909
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: January 9, 2004

Legal and political philosopher Norberto Bobbio was initially part of the liberal socialist Partito d'Azione but later left politics to focus on academics. He later taught at various institutes and eventually chaired the faculty of political science at Turin. He also won honors such as the Balzan Prize.

 37 Euhemerus

Famous As: Greek mythographer
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Messina
Died: 0250 AD

Euhemerus was a Greek mythographer who served at the court of the Macedonian king, Cassander. Euhemerus is renowned for his efforts to rationalize mythology in historical terms and commonize mythological characters as historical personages. This historical interpretation of mythology came to be known as Euhemerism, although many people before Euhemerus have made attempts to rationalize mythology in historical terms.

 38 Gian-Carlo Rota

Gian-Carlo Rota
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vigevano, Italy
Died: April 18, 1999

Gian-Carlo Rota went down in history as the first and the only professor of applied mathematics and philosophy at MIT. His illustrious scientific career revolved around research on subjects such as combinatorics, probability, and functional analysis. He had also led the American Mathematical Society as its vice president.

 39 Alcmaeon of Croton

Alcmaeon of Croton
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Crotone, Italy

 40 Luciano Floridi

Luciano Floridi
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 16, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome

 41 Aristoxenus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0360 AD
Birthplace: Taranto, Italy
Died: 0300 AD

 42 Philip Mazzei

Philip Mazzei
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 25, 1730
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Poggio a Caiano, Italy
Died: March 19, 1816

 43 Massimo Cacciari

Massimo Cacciari
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 5, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Venice, Italy

 44 Alphonsus Liguori

Alphonsus Liguori
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: September 27, 1696
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Marianella, Naples, Italy
Died: August 1, 1787

Catholic bishop Alphonsus Liguori was the man behind the formation of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, also known as the Redemptorists. He stepped into his spiritual life after an 8-year stint as a lawyer. He is also remembered for his works on moral theology and equiprobabilism.

 45 Giles of Rome

Giles of Rome
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1247 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: December 22, 1316

Augustinian philosopher and theologian Giles of Rome, known to be a disciple of St. Thomas Aquinas, was a major figure of St. Augustine’s Order of the Hermit Friars. Named Doctor Fundatissimus, which is Latin for the Best-Grounded Teacher, by Pope Benedict XIV, he is also remembered for his commentaries on Aristotle’s Organon.

 46 Francesco Algarotti

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

 47 Giovanni Botero

Giovanni Botero
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1544 AD
Birthplace: Piedmont, Italy
Died: June 23, 1617

 48 Andrea Cesalpino

Andrea Cesalpino
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 6, 1519
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Arezzo, Italy
Died: February 23, 1603

 49 Pietro Verri

Pietro Verri
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: December 12, 1728
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: June 28, 1797

Author of numerous literary, historical, and economic works, Pietro Verri was a leader of Milanese academy and moving force behind Società dei Pugni. Also a distinguished public administrator and political economist employed with the Milanese government, he has been credited with abolition of tax farming. Some of his important works are Riflessioni sulle leggi vincolanti and Meditazioni sull’ economia politica.

 50 Favorinus

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0080 AD
Birthplace: Arles, Italy
Died: 0160 AD