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: Political Philosopher
Birthdate: May 3, 1469
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 21, 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. 
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 3 Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas.
Famous As: Philosophers, Theologian
Birthdate: January 28, 1225
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Roccasecca
Died: March 7, 1274
Dominican friar and Catholic priest Thomas Aquinas was also a Doctor of the Church. He tried to mingle Aristotelian philosophy and Christianity. His works, including Summa Theologica and Disputed Questions on Truth, and his views on the Scriptures have been studied as prominent texts on theology, philosophy, and canon law.

 4 Cicero

Famous As: Philosopher, Political Theorist
Birthdate: January 3, 0106
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Arpinum, Roman Republic, modern Arpino, Lazio, Italy
Died: December 7, 0043
Roman statesman, lawyer, and scholar Cicero was one of the greatest 1st-century BC prose writers and orators. He influenced Latin literature immensely and introduced Greek philosophy to the Romans. He was declared an enemy of the state, following his opposition to Mark Antony after Julius Caesar’s death, and was executed.

 5 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco.
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.

 6 Antonio Gramsci

Antonio Gramsci.
Famous As: Politician, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 22, 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.

 7 Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei.
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: February 15, 1564
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: January 8, 1642

An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.

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 8 Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius.
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, Statesman
Birthdate: 0480 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: 0524 AD

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 Petrarch

Famous As: Poet & Philosopher
Birthdate: July 20, 1304
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arezzo
Died: July 19, 1374
Legendary Renaissance poet and the father of humanism Petrarch is remembered for his poems addressed to a certain Laura. While his lawyer father pushed him into studying law, Petrarch’s love for literature made him quit the domain after 7 years, following which he focused on writing. 

 10 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.

 11 Giorgio Agamben

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

 12 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.

 13 Zeno of Elea

Zeno of Elea
Famous As: Greek philosopher
Birthdate: 0490 BC
Birthplace: Velia
Died: 0425 BC

 14 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.

 15 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. 

 16 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

 17 Giovanni Gentile

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

 18 Bonaventure

Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1221 AD
Birthplace: 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.

 19 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.

 20 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.

 21 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

 22 Elena Cornaro Piscopia

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

 23 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.

 24 Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Maria Gaetana Agnesi.
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher, Theologian
Birthdate: May 16, 1718
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan
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.

 25 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

 26 Alphonsus Liguori

Alphonsus Liguori.
Famous As: Philisopher, Spiritual Writer, Theologian
Birthdate: September 27, 1696
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Marianella, Campania, Kingdom of Naples
Died: August 1, 1787

 27 Hippasus

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

 28 Giuseppe Peano

Giuseppe Peano
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: August 27, 1858
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cuneo
Died: April 20, 1932

Remembered as the founder of symbolic logic, Giuseppe Peano laid down the symbols of union and intersection of sets. He also worked on geometric calculus and taught at institutes such as the University of Turin. His works are written in a simplified version of Latin. He was knighted by Italy.

 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

 31 Altiero Spinelli

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

 32 Marsilius of Padua

Marsilius of Padua
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Padua
Died: 1342 AD

 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 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.

 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 Thomas Cajetan

Thomas Cajetan
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 20, 1469
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gaeta, Italy
Died: August 9, 1534

 39 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.

 40 Alcmaeon of Croton

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

 41 Luciano Floridi

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

 42 Francesco Algarotti

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

 43 Philip Mazzei

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

 44 Massimo Cacciari

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

 45 Giovanni Botero

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

 46 Giles of Rome

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

 47 Andrea Cesalpino

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

 48 Vincenzo Gioberti

Vincenzo Gioberti
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 5, 1801
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: October 26, 1852

 49 Favorinus

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

 50 Antonio Rosmini

Antonio Rosmini
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 25, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rovereto, Italy
Died: July 1, 1855