Famous Italian Political Leaders

Italy was led by the monarchy until its unification in 1946 when it finally adopted the parliamentary republic government after a national referendum. Just like any other country that follows parliamentary republic kind of governance, Italy is headed by the President who serves as the head of the state and Prime Minister who is vested with all the executive powers. As the head of state, the President of the Republic represents the unity of the nation and has many of the duties which were previously performed by the King of Italy. The Prime Minister serves as the head of the council of ministers who in turn hold effective executive powers. Unlike other parliamentary systems, the leader of the Italian government is not authorized to request the dissolution of the Parliament or to dismiss the ministers that are appointed by him. Since its independence from the monarchy, Italy has had some of the most well-known and renowned political leaders. Strong willed and dynamic, these leaders have led from the front safely securing the welfare, advancement and development of the nation. With this section, check out some of the most prolific Italian leaders, their life and their career as politicians.

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 Lorenzo de' Medici

Lorenzo de' Medici
6
Famous As: Leader
Birthdate: January 1, 1449
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: April 8, 1492

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.

 2 Cosimo de' Medici

Cosimo de' Medici
5
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: April 10, 1389
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: August 1, 1464

One of the main patriarchs of the famed Medici family that ruled Florence, Italian banker Cosimo de' Medici was one of the richest men of his time. Medici was also a great patron of art and architecture. He also arranged a search for ancient manuscripts and opened a public library.

 3 Giuseppe Garibaldi

Giuseppe Garibaldi
5
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: July 4, 1807
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: June 2, 1882

Italian general, patriot, and republican Giuseppe Garibaldi is remembered for the role he played in the Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. He is considered one of Italy's "fathers of the fatherland." A highly proficient military general, he also led the Expedition of the Thousand on behalf of Victor Emmanuel II. He died in 1882.

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 4 Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi
8
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of Italy
Birthdate: September 29, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Milan
Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi served as the Italian prime minister for 9 years. Owner of the media groups Mediaset and Fininvest, and former owner of A.C. Milan, he also launched the first Italian private TV channel, Telemilano. Despite a conviction for tax fraud, he became a European Parliament MP later.

 5 Antonio Gramsci

Antonio Gramsci
5
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 Alessandra Mussolini

Alessandra Mussolini
8
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

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.  

 7 Matteo Salvini

Matteo Salvini
7
Famous As: Deputy Prime Minister of Italy (2018-19)
Birthdate: March 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Matteo Salvini, or The Captain, is known for his staunch right-wing ideology. The former deputy prime minister of Italy is against illegal immigration and believes in the motto “Prima gli italiani,” or “Italians first.” Part of Lega, a rebranded version of Umberto Bossi’s Lega Nord, Salvini is a prominent Eurosceptic.
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 8 Matteo Renzi

Matteo Renzi
6
Famous As: Prime Minister of Italy
Birthdate: January 11, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Florence
Italia Viva party leader and the youngest-ever Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, was named one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers. He was criticized by many for meeting controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In early 2021, he received bullets in an envelope, causing a media frenzy. 

 9 Giuseppe Mazzini

Giuseppe Mazzini
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1805
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: March 10, 1872

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.

 10 Marcus Junius Brutus

Marcus Junius Brutus
5
Famous As: Former Politician most famous of the assassins of Julius Caesar
Birthdate: 0085 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: October 23, 0042

 11 Federica Mogherini

Federica Mogherini
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 16, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 12 Aldo Moro

Aldo Moro
4
Famous As: Politician, Diplomat, University teacher
Birthdate: September 23, 1916
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Maglie
Died: May 9, 1978

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.

 13 Philip the Arab

Philip the Arab
4
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: 0204 AD
Birthplace: Shahba
Died: 0249 AD

 14 Steve Scalise

Steve Scalise
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 6, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Steve Scalise is the current U.S. House of Representatives minority whip and represents Louisiana's 1st district. Scalise made headlines when, in 2017, he and three others were injured after a left-wing extremist shot them with a rifle at a Congressional baseball practice. Strangely, he still remains a gun rights supporter.

 15 Cesare Beccaria

Cesare Beccaria
3
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 Beppe Grillo

Beppe Grillo
11
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy

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.

 17 Gabriele D'Annunzio

Gabriele D'Annunzio
4
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.  

 18 Luigi Di Maio

Luigi Di Maio
4
Famous As: Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs (Since 2019)
Birthdate: July 6, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Avellino, Italy

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.

 19 Julius Nepos

Julius Nepos
4
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 0430 AD
Birthplace: Roman Italy
Died: May 9, 0480

 20 Pietro Badoglio

Pietro Badoglio
4
Famous As: Former Minister of Italian Africa
Birthdate: September 28, 1871
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Grazzano Badoglio, Italy
Died: November 1, 1956

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.

 21 Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
5
Famous As: King of Italy (1861-1878)
Birthdate: March 14, 1820
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Palazzo Carignano, Turin, Italy
Died: January 9, 1878

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy reigned as the king of Sardinia from 1849 to 1861. He then became the first king of a united Italy in 1861 and reigned as its king until his death in 1878. Since he played a major role in the Second Italian War of Independence, Italians started referring to him as Father of the Fatherland.

 22 Sergio Mattarella

Sergio Mattarella
4
Famous As: President of Italy Since 2015
Birthdate: July 23, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Palermo, Kingdom of Italy

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.

 23 Giorgio Napolitano

Giorgio Napolitano
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 29, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Naples

 24 Numa Pompilius

Numa Pompilius
4
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: April 21, 0753
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cures
Died: 0673 BC

 25 Enrico Dandolo

Enrico Dandolo
3
Famous As: Doge of Venice 1192 – 1205
Birthdate: 1107 AD
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: April 30, 1205

 26 Virginia Raggi

Virginia Raggi
4
Famous As: Politician, Lawyer
Birthdate: July 18, 1978
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

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.

 27 Marta Fascina

Marta Fascina
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 9, 1990
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Melito di Porto Salvo, Italy

 28 Farouk of Egypt

Farouk of Egypt
6
Famous As: King of Egypt and the Sudan
Birthdate: February 11, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Died: March 18, 1965

The eldest son of Sultan Fuad I, Farouk of Egypt received his education in Egypt and England before taking over the throne. He later gained criticism for his lavish lifestyle and his eccentricities, such as his order that except his entourage, no other cars could be painted red.

 29 Valentinian III

Valentinian III
4
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: July 2, 0419
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ravenna
Died: March 16, 0455

 30 Kurt Schuschnigg

Kurt Schuschnigg
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 14, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Riva del Garda, Italy
Died: November 18, 1977

Kurt Schuschnigg was an Austrian politician who served as the Chancellor of Austria from 1934 to 1938. He opposed the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany for which he was arrested in 1938. Schuschnigg was liberated by the US Army in 1945 post which he moved to the USA where he started working as a professor at Saint Louis University. 

 31 Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor

Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Famous As: Holy Roman emperor
Birthdate: July 26, 1678
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 17, 1711

Emperor Leopold I’s eldest son, Joseph I became the king of Hungary at the tender age of 9 and the king of Romans at 11. Though he strengthened Austria’s financial situation, bringing the Viennese city bank under the state, he failed to retain the Spanish crown for the Habsburg Monarchy.

 32 Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini
17
Famous As: Dictator, Prime Minister of Italy (1922-1943)
Birthdate: July 29, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Predappio, Italy
Died: April 28, 1945

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.

 33 Umberto I of Italy

Umberto I of Italy
4
Famous As: King of Italy (1878-1900)
Birthdate: March 14, 1844
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: July 29, 1900

Umberto I of Italy reigned as the king of Italy from 1878 until his death in 1900. His reign witnessed an attempted colonial expansion by Italy into the Horn of Africa, successfully annexing Somalia and Eritrea. Loathed by anarchists because of his approval of the Bava Beccaris massacre, Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by an anarchist named Gaetano Bresci.

 34 Marcus Claudius Tacitus

Marcus Claudius Tacitus
3
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: 0200 AD
Birthplace: Terni
Died: May 31, 0276

 35 Catiline

Catiline
4
Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: 0108 BC
Birthplace: Rome
Died: 0062 BC

 36 Ilona Staller

Ilona Staller
4
Famous As: Pornographic actor, Politician
Birthdate: November 26, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

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.

 37 Majorian

Majorian
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: October 31, 0420
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Died: August 7, 0461

 38 Romano Prodi

Romano Prodi
3
Famous As: Economist, Politician, University teacher
Birthdate: August 9, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Scandiano

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.

 39 Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence

Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence
4
Famous As: Duke
Birthdate: July 22, 1510
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: January 6, 1537

 40 Mario Monti

Mario Monti
4
Famous As: Prime minister of Italy (2011–13)
Birthdate: March 19, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Varese, Italy

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.

 41 Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany

Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
3
Famous As: Duke
Birthdate: May 24, 1671
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pitti Palace, Florence, Italy
Died: July 9, 1737

 42 Gaius Gracchus

Gaius Gracchus
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 0154 BC
Birthplace: Rome
Died: 0121 BC

 43 Galeazzo Ciano

Galeazzo Ciano
4
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: March 18, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Livorno, Italy
Died: January 11, 1944

 44 Bettino Craxi

Bettino Craxi
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 24, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan
Died: January 19, 2000

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.

 45 Matilda of Tuscany

Matilda of Tuscany
3
Famous As: Countess of Tuscany
Birthdate: 1046 AD
Birthplace: Lucca, Italy
Died: July 24, 1115

 46 Giulio Andreotti

Giulio Andreotti
5
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Politician, Diplomat, Reporter
Birthdate: January 14, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome
Died: May 6, 2013

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.

 47 Sallust

Sallust
3
Famous As: Historian, Politician
Birthdate: 0086 BC
Birthplace: Amiternum, Italy
Died: 0035 BC

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. 

 48 Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor

Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor
4
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: 0825 AD
Died: August 12, 0875

 49 Carlo Azeglio Ciampi

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
3
Famous As: Economist, Politician, Banker
Birthdate: December 9, 1920
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Livorno
Died: September 16, 2016

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.

 50 Fulvia

Fulvia
3
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: 0083 AD
Birthplace: Tusculum, Italy
Died: 0040 AD