Famous Italian Writers

For all the serious reading aficionados, reading can never be complete without having read a Dante, Petrarch or Boccaccio. Isn’t it? For the rest, rack not your brains for these are classic Italian writers whose contribution to Italian and world literature has been immense. Whether it is their risqué stories or heart-warming sonnets or even deep and meaningful poetry, Italian writers have given the world masterpieces of literature. Interestingly, Italian writers have covered all the major genres of writing, be it novels or short stories, poems or sonnets, fiction or non-fiction and so on. Their works are often thought-provoking and very well versed. However, Italian written works are not just merely about classicists, for the country is home to great many contemporary writers as well, who have created a niche for themselves in the literary world. Be it Umberto Eco or Luigi Pirandello, Marco Travaglio or Paolo Giordano, Fabio Volo or Stefano Benni and even female writers like Dacia Maraini, Grazia Verasani and so on. Each of them have given Italian literature some unputdownable works. With this section, we explore the life and works of some of the world’s most famous Italian writers.

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 Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli
7
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: May 3, 1469
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 22, 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. 

 2 Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri
12
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1265 AD
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: September 14, 1321

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.

 3 Michelangelo

Michelangelo
5
Famous As: Sculptor, Painter
Birthdate: March 6, 1475
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Caprese Michelangelo, Italy
Died: February 18, 1564

Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet Michelangelo was a prominent figure of the High Renaissance. He is credited to have influenced the Western art in unprecedented ways. He is widely regarded as the greatest artist of his age and one of the greatest artists of all time. He was equally revered and respected as an architect.

 4 Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Italian-American actress Isabella Rossellini has made an important contribution to the American and Italian film industry. She has also appeared on stage, including an Off-Broadway production of The Stendhal Syndrome.  Also known for her involvement in conservation efforts, Rossellini serves as the director and president of the Howard Gilman Foundation, which focuses on the preservation of arts, photography, and wildlife.

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 5 Joel McHale

Joel McHale
4
Famous As: Comedian, Actor
Birthdate: November 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Actor, comedian, and producer Joel McHale is best known for hosting the television series The Soup. He was interested in sports as a young boy but shifted his focus to acting while in college and earned his master's degree in acting. Even though he is more popular as a television actor, he has appeared in many films too.

 6 Giada De Laurentiis

Giada De Laurentiis
4
Famous As: Chef, TV personality, Writer
Birthdate: August 22, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Giada De Laurentiis is an Italian-American chef, restaurateur, television personality, and writer. She won the Gracie Award under the Best Television Host category for hosting Giada at Home. The founder of a catering business called GDL Foods, Giada De Laurentiis has been an influential figure in the American culinary business over the last few years.

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 7 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco
4
Famous As: Medievalist, Philosopher and Author of 'The Name of the Rose' and 'Foucault's Pendulum'
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.

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 8 Giacomo Casanova

Giacomo Casanova
4
Famous As: Adventurer
Birthdate: April 2, 1725
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: June 4, 1798
Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova is best remembered for his memoir, Histoire de ma vie, which serves as a mirror of 18th-century European lifestyle. His countless affairs made him synonymous with the word "womanizer." He also befriended the European royalty and church authorities, and was quite fond of gambling.

 9 Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 5, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bologna, Kingdom of Italy
Died: November 2, 1975

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.

 10 Ovid

Ovid
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 20, 0043
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sulmo, Italy, Roman Republic
Died: 0017 AD

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.

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 11 Francesco Petrarch

Francesco Petrarch
4
Famous As: Poet, Scholar and Humanist
Birthdate: July 20, 1304
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arezzo, Italy
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. 

 12 Giordano Bruno

Giordano Bruno
4
Famous As: Philosopher & Mathematician Known For His Cosmological Theories
Birthdate: January 31, 1548
Sun Sign: Aquarius
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.

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 13 Francesca Gregorini

Francesca Gregorini
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 7, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Daughter of Bond girl Barbara Bach, Francesca Gregorini is also an Italian countess through her father. She grew up in Italy, England, and the U.S. The talented filmmaker is known for her dark and surreal characters and her critically acclaimed films such as The Truth About Emanuel.

 14 Luigi Pirandello

Luigi Pirandello
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: June 28, 1867
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Agrigento, Italy
Died: December 10, 1936

Luigi Pirandello was an Italian novelist, short story writer, poet, and dramatist. Best remembered for his plays, Pirandello was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934. An Italian nationalist, Pirandello supported Fascism; he asked the Fascist government to melt down his Nobel Prize medal for the Abyssinia Campaign.

 15 Julius Evola

Julius Evola
6
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.

 16 Pliny the Younger

Pliny the Younger
4
Famous As: Author, Lawyer
Birthdate: 0061 AD
Birthplace: Como
Died: 0112 AD

Pliny the Younger was an author, lawyer, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Although Pliny the Younger wrote several letters, only 247 of them have survived and are of great historical value as they provide an insight into the relationship between provincial governors and the imperial office at that time.

 17 Giovanni Boccaccio

Giovanni Boccaccio
4
Famous As: Writer, Poet
Birthdate: June 16, 1313
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Certaldo, Italy
Died: September 21, 1375

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.

 18 Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini
6
Famous As: Film director, Actor, Film producer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Racecar driver
Birthdate: May 8, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome
Died: June 3, 1977

One of the pioneers of neo-realism, Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini was part of the French nouvelle vague movement. Born to the man who had set up Italy’s first cinema, Rossellini later grew up to make films such as Rome, Open City. He was also known for his scandalous affair with Ingrid Bergman.

 19 Italo Calvino

Italo Calvino
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 15, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Santiago de Las Vegas, Havana, Cuba
Died: September 19, 1985

Italian journalist, short-story writer and novelist Italo Calvino, counted among noted Italian fiction writers in the 20th-century, emerged as the most translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his demise. Notable works of Calvino include novels Invisible Cities and If on a winter's night a traveler; the collection of 12 short stories titled Cosmicomics, and the Our Ancestors trilogy.

 20 Dario Fo

Dario Fo
3
Famous As: Winner of 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature
Birthdate: March 24, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sangiano, Italy
Died: October 13, 2016

Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright Dario Fo, best remembered for the play Mistero Buffo, donned many hats and made his presence felt as an actor, stage director and designer, and painter. He and his wife, actor Franca Rame, did everything from writing sketches for the show Canzonissima to founding theater companies.

 21 Antonio Carluccio

Antonio Carluccio
3
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 19, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vietri sul Mare, Salerno, Campania, Italy
Died: November 18, 2017

 22 Pierluigi Collina

Pierluigi Collina
4
Famous As: Association football referee, Writer, Economist
Birthdate: February 13, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bologna

Named "Best Referee of the Year" by FIFA for six consecutive times, Pierluigi Collina has a degree in economics from University of Bologne. His aptitude for the job was discovered when at seventeen he took up a course in refereeing and shortly began officiating in numerous high profile matches. Although retired, he is still involved with football in various capacities.

 23 Luchino Visconti

Luchino Visconti
3
Famous As: Theatre director, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: November 2, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Milan
Died: March 17, 1976

Born to Duke Modrone, Luchino Visconti belonged to one of the most affluent families of Italy. He was also one of the pioneers of neo-realism and created masterpieces such as Senso and Rocco and His Brothers. A chain smoker, he was rumored to have had 120 cigarettes per day.

 24 Gabriele D'Annunzio

Gabriele D'Annunzio
3
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.  

 25 Charles Atlas

Charles Atlas
3
Famous As: Bodybuilder
Birthdate: October 30, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Acri Acri, Cosenza, Italy
Died: December 24, 1972

Italian-American bodybuilder Charles Atlas was known for co-creating a popular mail-order bodybuilding course. Beaten up and bullied as a skinny kid, he later used the Dynamic-Tension method to build his muscles. He then participated in vaudeville and later won titles such as the World’s Most Handsome Man.

 26 Vilfredo Pareto

Vilfredo Pareto
3
Famous As: Economist, Writer, Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher
Birthdate: July 15, 1848
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris
Died: August 19, 1923

A qualified civil engineer, Vilfredo Pareto had initially worked for the railways and the ironworks. However, he gradually deviated to philosophy, sociology, and politics and gained fame for his application of math to economic issues and his introduction of Pareto efficiency. Mind and Society remains his best-known work.

 27 Giorgio Vasari

Giorgio Vasari
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 30, 1511
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Arezzo, Italy
Died: June 27, 1574

Giorgio Vasari was an Italian architect, painter, writer, engineer, and historian. He is best remembered for his work The Lives, a series of artist biographies, which is regarded as the art-historical writing's ideological foundation. Vasari is also credited with the formulation of the term Renaissance as it was first suggested by Jules Michelet based on Giorgio Vasari's text.

 28 Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

Elena Ferrante is an Italian novelist whose works have been translated into several languages. Ferrante is best known for her Neapolitan Novels book series. In 2016, Ferrante was named among the 100 most influential people list published by Time magazine. In 2016, her book The Story of the Lost Child was also shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize.

 29 Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1364 AD
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: 1430 AD
Christine de Pizan took up writing at 25, primarily to support her three children following her husband’s death. Starting with ballads, she later narrated the heroics of women in masterpieces such as The Book of the City of Ladies. She was also a court poet of French king Charles VI.

 30 Veronica De Laurentiis

Veronica De Laurentiis
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 31 Veronica Franco

Veronica Franco
3
Famous As: Courtesan, Poet
Birthdate: March 25, 1546
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: July 22, 1591

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.

 32 Giacomo Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi
3
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.

 33 Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri
3
Famous As: Writer, Best known as the writer of the popular Inspector Montalbano series of crime novels
Birthdate: September 6, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Porto Empedocle, Italy
Died: July 17, 2019

Andrea Camilleri was an Italian writer whose book The Potter's Field was honored with the CWA International Dagger award in 2012. Over the course of his career, Camilleri also won other prestigious awards, such as the Nino Martoglio International Book Award.

 34 Juvenal

Juvenal
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 0055 AD
Birthplace: Aquino, Italy
Died: 0127 AD

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.

 35 Carlo Collodi

Carlo Collodi
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 24, 1826
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: October 26, 1890

Carlo Collodi was an Italian journalist, author, and humorist. He is best remembered for his popular children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio. The novel and its title character Pinocchio achieved international recognition when Disney adapted it into an animated musical fantasy film titled Pinocchio; the film went on to become one of the greatest films ever produced by Disney.

 36 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 22, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: December 2, 1944

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was an Italian poet, art theorist, and editor. He is credited with founding the Futurist movement and is remembered for his work Manifesto of Futurism. In 1918, he founded a political party called Futurist Political Party as an extension of the social and futurist artistic movement. The party merged with the Italian Fasces of Combat in 1919.

 37 Roberto Saviano

Roberto Saviano
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 22, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

Roberto Saviano is an Italian essayist, writer, and screenwriter. Since 2006, Saviano has been living under police protection after receiving death threats from an Italian criminal organization, which was upset with Saviano's works that expose the functionality of organized crime in Italy. Over the years, Roberto Saviano has also contributed to prominent Italian and international newspapers.

 38 Silvia Colloca

Silvia Colloca
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 23, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

Silvia Colloca is an Italian-Australian actress, cookbook author, opera singer, and TV cookery show personality.  An opera-trained mezzo-soprano, she worked in musical theater before becoming an actress. She later created her own TV cookery shows that earned her much international prominence. She also runs a successful YouTube channel in collaboration with Marion Grasby.  

 39 Massimo Bottura

Massimo Bottura
0
Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: September 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Modena, Italy

 40 Carlo Rovelli

Carlo Rovelli
3
Famous As: Physicist, Writer
Birthdate: May 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Verona

Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist and writer. He is active mainly in the field of quantum gravity and is a founder of loop quantum gravity theory. He also has experience working in the history and philosophy of science. His popular science book, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, has sold over a million copies worldwide. 

 41 Carlo Goldoni

Carlo Goldoni
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: February 25, 1707
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: February 6, 1793

 42 Gian Carlo Menotti

Gian Carlo Menotti
3
Famous As: Composer and librettist
Birthdate: July 7, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy
Died: February 1, 2007

Gian Carlo Menotti was an Italian-American librettist, playwright, director, and composer. Menotti is best remembered for composing popular operas that enjoyed success on Broadway during the 1950s. For his contribution to arts, Menotti was presented with a Kennedy Center Honor in 1984. In 1997, he was honored by the American Choral Directors Association with the prestigious Brock Commission.

 43 Elisabetta Dami

Elisabetta Dami
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 1, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

 44 Vasco Rossi

Vasco Rossi
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zocca, Italy

 45 Baldassare Castiglione

Baldassare Castiglione
3
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: December 6, 1478
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Casatico, Italy
Died: February 2, 1529

 46 Lucrezia Tornabuoni

Lucrezia Tornabuoni
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 22, 1427
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: March 25, 1482

 47 Francesco Redi

Francesco Redi
3
Famous As: Physician, naturalist, biologist and poet
Birthdate: February 18, 1626
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Arezzo, Italy
Died: March 1, 1697

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.   

 48 Benedetto Croce

Benedetto Croce
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Politician, Art historian, Writer, Literary critic
Birthdate: February 25, 1866
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pescasseroli
Died: November 20, 1952

 49 Marcus Terentius Varro

Marcus Terentius Varro
3
Famous As: Scholar, Writer
Birthdate: 0116 BC
Birthplace: Rieti
Died: 0027 BC

 50 John Fante

John Fante
3
Famous As: Novelist, Short story writer
Birthdate: April 8, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
Died: May 8, 1983