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.
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.
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.
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.
12 Aldo Moro
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.
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.
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 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.
19 Julius Nepos
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
38 Romano Prodi
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.
40 Mario Monti
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.
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.
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.