Lorenzo de' Medici was an Italian statesman. Nicknamed Lorenzo the Magnificent, de' Medici was the most enthusiastic and powerful patron of Renaissance culture in Italy. He is credited with providing sponsorships to artists like Michelangelo and Botticelli, thereby contributing indirectly to the development of art in the Republic of Florence. His life and work inspired a couple of TV series.
Ilona Staller is a former porn star, singer, and politician. She achieved popularity by appearing in Telefono rosso, the first Italian hardcore pornography production, and then went on to pose nude in Playboy's editions around the world. In 1980, an erotic series titled La Cicciolina was made based on Ilona Staller's life and career.
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.
Alessandra Mussolini is an Italian former politician and former actress. The granddaughter of Benito Mussolini, she is a former member of the Chamber of Deputies and the Italian Senate. She was the leader of the national conservative political party Social Action as well. Prior to joining politics, she was a model and actress in the 1970s and 1980s.
Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian journalist, politician, and activist. He played a major role in the Italian revolutionary movement and in the unification of Italy. His efforts gave rise to an independent and unified Italy, which replaced many separate states that were dominated by foreign powers. Mazzini is widely regarded as the most influential European revolutionary.
Christian Democracy member Aldo Moro had served as the Italian prime minister and had also held important portfolios such as foreign affairs and public education. He was also a University of Bari professor of law, initially. He was abducted and killed by left-wing terrorists known as The Red Brigades.
Beppe Grillo is an Italian actor, comedian, politician, and blogger. The co-founder of a political party called Five Star Movement, Grillo turned to the internet in the early-2000s to popularize his ideas. After launching a website called beppegrillo.it, which became an influential website, he started writing influential blogs, which made him a leading Italian popularizer of digital utopianism.
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.
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.
Initially an artillery officer, Pietro Badoglio served as a general during the two World Wars. He eventually signed an armistice with the Allies to withdraw Italian forces from World War II. He eventually served as the prime minister of Italy and was also the 1st Duke of Addis Abeba.
Sergio Mattarella is an Italian politician, academic, jurist, and lawyer. He is the current president of the Italian Republic. Before becoming the president of Italy, Mattarella served as the Minister for Parliamentary Relations. He also served as the Minister of Public Education and as the Italian Minister of Defence.
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.
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.
Former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi is also known as “The Professor,” having served as an economics professor at the University of Bologna. The Olive Tree Coalition leader has also previously worked with Goldman Sachs. He has also led the European Commission of the EU.
Born to a banker, it was no surprise that Mario Monti would choose economics and management as his university majors. The Yale alumnus later gained fame as an academic and an economist and also became the prime minister of Italy, leading his nation through the Italian debt crisis.
Italy’s first Socialist prime minister, Bettino Craxi was born to an anti-fascist lawyer who was persecuted by Benito Mussolini’s regime. He later deviated from the traditional socialism and even changed the symbol of his party from the hammer-and-sickle to a red carnation. He was nicknamed The Big Boar due to his size.
Matilda of Tuscany, who was the countess of Tuscany and belonged to the House of Canossa. She is mostly remembered for her role in the clash between the Holy Roman Emperor and the papacy. She later became a mythical figure in Italy, with appearances in literary works, music, and art.
Giulio Andreotti was an Italian politician who served as the prime minister of Italy on three occasions between 1972 and 1992. Widely regarded as the most important and powerful politician of the First Republic, Andreotti was the second longest-serving Italian prime minister after Silvio Berlusconi in the post-war era. Giulio Andreotti also served in several ministerial positions throughout his career.
Sallust was a Roman historian and politician who hailed from an Italian plebeian family. He was a popularis and a vehement opponent of the old Roman aristocracy. Later in his career, he became a partisan of Julius Caesar. He is considered the earliest known Latin-language Roman historian with surviving works to his name.
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.
Italian fascist politician Italo Balbo commanded the country’s air force under the dictatorial rule of Benito Mussolini. He was previously a leader of the Blackshirt militia. However, his pro-British sentiments made Mussolini move him away from Italy to make him the Governor-General of Italian Libya. He was killed by accidental friendly fire.
Former Italian president and prime minister Carlo Azeglio Ciampi had a major role in introducing Italy to the euro. He had been the governor of the Bank of Italy for 14 years and had held several portfolios, including the ministry of treasury. He was also a World War II veteran.
The incumbent president of the Italian Senate, Elisabetta Casellati is the first female to have acquired this position. The Forza Italia member is a qualified matrimonial lawyer and has been a researcher at the University of Padua, too. A self-proclaimed conservative, she supports chemical castration of rapists and is against abortion.
An ideal elite Renaissance woman, Bona Sforza was the queen of Poland and the wife of Sigismund I the Old. She is remembered for her fiery resistance to the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, when he suggested Bona be planted as a Habsburg spy to counter the Jagiellonian dynasty.
Sandro Pertini was an Italian journalist and socialist politician. From 1978 to 1985, he served as the president of Italy. As the president, Sandro Pertini played an important role in reinstating the public's faith in the Italian government. In 1986, he was honored with the Freedom medal.