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.
Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid, lived during the rule of Augustus. He is held at par with Latin legends Virgil and Horace. Remembered for his mythological masterpiece the Metamorphoses, a 15-book Latin poem, he spent his final years exiled in a city on the Black Sea.
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.
Giovanni Boccaccio was an Italian poet, writer, and correspondent of Petrarch. An important Renaissance humanist, Boccaccio was also one of the most prominent personalities of 14th-century European literature. A versatile writer, Giovanni Boccaccio is often viewed as the most important European prose writer of his generation. His works influenced popular personalities like Geoffrey Chaucer and Miguel de Cervantes.
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.
First-century Roman poet Juvenal is remembered for his iconic work Satires. From the sparse information available about him from the accounts of Martial, it is believed Juvenal was banished from emperor Domitian’s court for writing a satire on his administration. He later returned to Rome from his exile in Egypt.
A significant Venetian figure, Veronica Franco wasn’t an ordinary courtesan but was educated and a talented poet, too. She defended herself successfully against charges of witchcraft. Born to a courtesan, she was married to a doctor briefly and later became a sex worker to sustain herself and her children.
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.
13 Vasco Rossi
Called the founder of experimental biology and father of modern parasitology, Italian physician, biologist, naturalist and poet Francesco Redi did the first major experiment to challenge spontaneous generation. His book Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl'insetti includes most of his famous experiments, while his poem book Bacco in Toscana is counted among the finest works of 17th-century Italian poetry.
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.
18 Julius Evola
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.
Torquato Tasso was a 16th-century Italian poet. He is best remembered for his poem Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered). The son of a prominent poet, Tasso grew up to be a brilliant young man. Even though his father wanted him to become a lawyer, he decided to become a poet and achieved considerable fame. His poems were widely translated.
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.
Ludovico Ariosto was an Italian poet best remembered for authoring the epic poem Orlando Furioso, which describes the adventures of Orlando, Charlemagne, and the Franks. Ariosto is also credited with coining the term humanism, which is among the most commonly used words by modern philosophers.
30 Dino Buzzati
31 Ugo Foscolo
Girolamo Fracastoro was an Italian poet, physician, and scholar in astronomy, geography and mathematics. He is credited with authoring a theory, which is regarded as a precursor to germ theory; his theory was influential for almost three centuries. He is also credited with inventing terms, such as syphilis.
38 Pietro Bembo
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.
40 Gemma Donati
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.