Famous Italian Writers

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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.
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 1 
Niccolò Machiavelli
(Diplomat & Philosopher Best Known for His Political Treatise 'The Prince')
Niccolò Machiavelli
7
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
(Italian Writer and Philosopher Best Known for His Poem ‘Divine Comedy’)
Dante Alighieri
12
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
(Regarded as the Most Accomplished Artist of His Era (High Renaissance))
Michelangelo
5
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 
Marco Polo
(Italian Explorer, Venetian Merchant and Adventurer Who Traveled from Europe to Asia Between 1271 and 1295)
Marco Polo
4
Birthdate: 1254 AD
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: January 8, 1324

Marco Polo was a Venetian explorer, writer, and merchant. He explored Asia along the Silk Road and is credited with providing the Europeans with descriptions of the culture of the Eastern world, which remained unknown until his exploration. Polo's travel book inspired other travelers like Christopher Columbus. His writings also influenced European cartography, which led to the Fra Mauro map.

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 5 
Umberto Eco
(Medievalist, Philosopher and Author of 'The Name of the Rose' and 'Foucault's Pendulum')
Umberto Eco
5
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.

 6 
Giada De Laurentiis
(Chef and Host of 'Giada at Home')
Giada De Laurentiis
6
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 
Giacomo Casanova
(Italian Adventurer and Author)
Giacomo Casanova
4
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.
 8 
Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italian Filmmaker Known for His Radical Methods, Overtly Political and Often Scandalous Content)
Pier Paolo Pasolini
4
Birthdate: March 5, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bologna, 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.

 9 
Ovid
(Poet)
Ovid
5
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.

 10 
Francesco Petrarch
(Poet, Scholar and Humanist)
Francesco Petrarch
4
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. 
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 11 
Giordano Bruno
(Philosopher & Mathematician Known For His Cosmological Theories)
Giordano Bruno
4
Birthdate: 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.

 12 
Luigi Pirandello
(Italian Playwright and Novelist & Winner of 1934 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Luigi Pirandello
3
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.

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 13 
Roberto Rossellini
(Film director, Actor, Film producer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Racecar driver)
Roberto Rossellini
6
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.

 14 
Giovanni Boccaccio
(One of the Greatest European Prose Writers of His Time)
Giovanni Boccaccio
4
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.

 15 
Pliny the Younger
(Author, Lawyer)
Pliny the Younger
4
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.

 16 
Julius Evola
(Philosopher)
Julius Evola
6
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.

 17 
Pierluigi Collina
(Association football referee, Writer, Economist)
Pierluigi Collina
4
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.

 18 
Italo Calvino
(The Most Translated Contemporary Italian Writer at the Time of His Death)
Italo Calvino
3
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.

 19 
Dario Fo
(Winner of 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Dario Fo
3
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.

 20 
John Bosco
(Italian Catholic Priest Known for Educating the Poor and Founded the Education System 'Salesian Preventive System')
John Bosco
3
Birthdate: August 16, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Italy
Died: January 31, 1888

The founder of the Salesian Order, John Bosco, also known as Don Bosco, started his life as a priest in Turin. He began teaching young boys who came to Turin for jobs and later branched out to form a similar institution for girls too, with St. Mary Mazzarello.

 21 
Luchino Visconti
(Theatre director, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer)
Luchino Visconti
3
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.

 22 
Antonio Carluccio
3
Birthdate: April 19, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vietri sul Mare, Salerno, Campania, Italy
Died: November 18, 2017
 23 
Giorgio de Chirico
(Italian Painter and Founder of the ‘Scuola Metafisica’ Art Movement)
Giorgio de Chirico
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1888
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Volos, Greece
Died: November 20, 1978

Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico, the founder of the scuola metafisica art movement, showed marked influence of his childhood spent in Greece in his work. His metaphysical paintings showcased empty cityscapes, mannequins, trains, and towers. His notable works include The Child's Brain and The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon.

 24 
Vilfredo Pareto
(Economist, Writer, Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher)
Vilfredo Pareto
3
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.

 25 
Gabriele D'Annunzio
(Former Member of Italian Chamber of Deputies (1897-1900))
Gabriele D'Annunzio
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pescara, 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.  

 26 
Giorgio Vasari
(Artist and Author Best Known for His Biographies of Italian Artists)
Giorgio Vasari
3
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.

Veronica De Laurentiis
3
Birthdate: January 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
 28 
Elena Ferrante
(Novelist)
Elena Ferrante
4
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 
Silvia Colloca
(Actress, Opera Singer, Cookbook Author & TV Cookery Show Personality)
Silvia Colloca
3
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.  

 30 
Christine de Pizan
(Italian Poet and Court Writer for King Charles VI of France)
Christine de Pizan
3
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.
 31 
Catherine of Siena
(Mystic, Author)
Catherine of Siena
4
Birthdate: March 25, 1347
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Siena, Italy
Died: April 29, 1380

Catherine of Siena was a mystic, author, and activist. Thanks to her influence over Pope Gregory XI, Catherine is widely regarded as a prominent figure of medieval Catholicism. She also had a strong influence on the Catholic Church and Italian literature. Canonized in 1461, Catherine of Siena was declared the patron saint of Italy in 1939.

 32 
Carlo Collodi
(Italian Author and Journalist Known for His Fairy Tale Novel 'The Adventures of Pinocchio')
Carlo Collodi
3
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.

 33 
Giacomo Leopardi
(One of the Most Radical and Challenging Thinkers of the 19th Century)
Giacomo Leopardi
3
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.

 34 
Andrea Camilleri
(Italian Writer Best Known as the Writer of the Popular 'Inspector Montalbano' Series of Crime Novels)
Andrea Camilleri
3
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.

 35 
Juvenal
(Poet)
Juvenal
3
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.

 36 
Veronica Franco
(16th Century Italian Poet and Courtesan)
Veronica Franco
3
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.

 37 
Giambattista Vico
(Italian Philosopher Best Known for His 'Verum Factum' Principle)
Giambattista Vico
3
Birthdate: June 23, 1668
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: January 23, 1744

Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico is regarded as a pioneer of what is now known as cultural anthropology, or ethnology. He brought together history and the social sciences in his work Scienza nuova. A poor bookseller’s son, he studied by candlelight but grew up to be a major Counter-Enlightenment figure.

 38 
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
(Italian Poet, Founder of the 'Futurist Movement' and Author of the First 'Futurist Manifesto')
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
3
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.

 39 
Carlo Goldoni
(Italian Librettist and Playwright Credited with Producing Some of Italy's Best-Loved and Most Famous Plays)
Carlo Goldoni
3
Birthdate: February 25, 1707
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: February 6, 1793

Carlo Goldoni was an Italian librettist and playwright from the Republic of Venice. He is credited with producing some of Italy's best-loved and most famous plays. His plays are often admired for their ingenious mix of honesty and wit. One of his most famous works, Servant of Two Masters, has been translated into many languages.

 40 
Roberto Saviano
(Journalist and Author Known for His Investigative Reporting on Organized Crimes and the Italian Mafia)
Roberto Saviano
3
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.

 41 
Plautus
(Roman Playwright Whose Work Influenced the Works of Shakespeare and Molière)
Plautus
3
Birthdate: 0254 AD
Birthplace: Sarsina, Italy
Died: 0184 AD

Plautus was a Roman playwright best remembered for his comedies. He wrote Palliata comoedia, a genre devised by Livius Andronicus, and his comedies are among the earliest of Latin literature to have survived in their totality. Plautus' works had a great impact on future writers like Molière and William Shakespeare.

 42 
Carlo Rovelli
(Physicist, Writer)
Carlo Rovelli
3
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. 

 43 
Gabriele Amorth
(Catholic priest, Writer, Theologian)
Gabriele Amorth
4
Birthdate: May 1, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Modena
Died: September 16, 2016

Exorcist and Catholic priest Gabriele Amorth had been in charge of countless exorcisms in his career of over 6 decades. The founder-president of the International Association of Exorcists, he had also penned a few books on his experiences as an exorcist and had been part of World War II, too.

 44 
Vasco Rossi
(Singer-songwriter)
Vasco Rossi
3
Birthdate: February 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zocca, Italy
 45 
Massimo Bottura
(Restaurateur)
Massimo Bottura
1
Birthdate: September 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Modena, Italy
 46 
Elisabetta Dami
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
 47 
Baldassare Castiglione
3
Birthdate: December 6, 1478
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Casatico, Italy
Died: February 2, 1529
 48 
Lucrezia Tornabuoni
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1427
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: March 25, 1482
 49 
Benedetto Croce
(Philosopher, Politician, Art historian, Writer, Literary critic)
Benedetto Croce
3
Birthdate: February 25, 1866
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pescasseroli
Died: November 20, 1952
 50 
Marcus Terentius Varro
(Scholar, Writer)
Marcus Terentius Varro
3
Birthdate: 0116 BC
Birthplace: Rieti
Died: 0027 BC