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.

Vote for Your Favourite Italian Writers

 1 Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri.
6
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 30, 1265
Sun Sign: Taurus
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.

 2 Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli.
0
Famous As: Political Philosopher
Birthdate: May 3, 1469
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 21, 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. 

 3 Joel McHale

Joel McHale.
0
Famous As: Comedian, Actor
Birthdate: November 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome

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.

 4 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco.
0
Famous As: Italian Semiotician, Philosopher
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.

Recommended Lists:

 5 Giacomo Casanova

Giacomo Casanova.
0
Famous As: Womanizer
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.

 6 Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini.
0
Famous As: Film Director and Scriptwriter
Birthdate: January 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rimini, Kingdom of Italy
Died: October 31, 1993

Italian film director and screenwriter, Federico Fellini, is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. He was nominated for the Academy Awards 12 times and won four in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. His distinctive style of film-making has inspired generations of directors in both Italy and Hollywood.

Recommended Lists:

 7 Petrarch

Petrarch.
0
Famous As: Poet & Philosopher
Birthdate: July 20, 1304
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arezzo
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. 
You May Like

 8 Ovid

Ovid.
0
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.

Recommended Lists:

 9 Francesco Petrarch

Francesco Petrarch.
0
Famous As: Poet, Scholar and Humanist
Birthdate: July 20, 1304
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arezzo
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. 

 10 Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori.
0
Famous As: Physician and Educator
Birthdate: August 31, 1870
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chiaravalle (Ancona), Italy
Died: May 6, 1952

Maria Montessori was an Italian educator and physician best known for developing the Montessori method of education, a student-friendly method, which is being used in several public and private schools around the world. In 2020, she was nominated by Time magazine as one of their Top 100 Women of the year.

 11 Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini.
0
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.

 12 Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante
0
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

 13 Benedict of Nursia

Benedict of Nursia.
0
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: March 2, 0480
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Norcia, Umbria, Kingdom of Odoacer, Italy
Died: March 21, 0547
The only valid mention of Saint Benedict is found in the Dialogues of St. Gregory I. Of the many legends about him is the one in which he rolled himself against bushes to inflict wounds, just to escape the Devil who showed the image of a beautiful woman to him.

 14 Reinhold Messner

Reinhold Messner
0
Famous As: Explorer, Politician, Writer, Mountaineer
Birthdate: September 17, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brixen

 15 Primo Levi

Primo Levi.
0
Famous As: Writer, Chemist
Birthdate: July 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: April 11, 1987

Primo Levi was an Italian Jewish partisan, chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor. Over the course of his career, Levi authored several books, including If This Is a Man, which narrates his experience in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The book was adapted into a stage production titled Primo in 2004. Levi's 1963 memoir titled The Truce was adapted into a film.

 16 Pliny the Younger

Pliny the Younger.
0
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.
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 16, 1313
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Certaldo, Italy
Died: December 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 Asia Argento

Asia Argento.
2
Famous As: Actress, Model, Writer
Birthdate: September 20, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome
Asia Argento, daughter of filmmaker Dario Argento, has starred in movies such as XXX, Traveling Companion, and Transylvania. She declared that Harvey Weinstein had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, while she was herself accused of assaulting Jimmy Bennett. She was dating Anthony Bourdain at the time of his death.

 19 Tana French

Tana French.
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vermont, United States

Tana French is an American-Irish theatrical actress and writer. She is best known for her first novel, In the Woods, which received several prestigious awards, such as the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Macavity Award, Anthony Award, and Barry Award. Over the years, Tana French has become an important name among fiction readers across the world.

 20 Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni.
0
Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Editor
Birthdate: September 29, 1912
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Died: July 30, 2007

Michelangelo Antonioni was an Italian screenwriter, film director, editor, short story author, and painter. Renowned for making films with striking visual composition and elusive plots, Antonioni's work has influenced art cinema of the subsequent generation. Over the course of his career, Antonioni won many prestigious awards, including an honorary Academy Award, Palme d'Or, the Golden Bear, and the Golden Lion.

 21 Italo Calvino

Italo Calvino
0
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.

 22 Antonio Carluccio

Antonio Carluccio
0
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 19, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vietri sul Mare, Salerno, Campania, Italy
Died: November 18, 2017

 23 Luchino Visconti

Luchino Visconti
0
Famous As: Theatre director, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: November 2, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Milan
Died: March 17, 1976

 24 Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Poet lawyer
Birthdate: April 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome

 25 Charles Atlas

Charles Atlas
0
Famous As: Bodybuilder
Birthdate: October 30, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Acri Acri, Cosenza, Italy
Died: December 24, 1972

 26 Leon Battista Alberti

Leon Battista Alberti.
0
Famous As: Architect, Linguist
Birthdate: February 18, 1404
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Genoa
Died: April 20, 1472
Born into an affluent banker family of Florence, Leon Battista Alberti was rumored to be an illegitimate son of his father and a Bolognese widow. The ideal Renaissance man, he later applied mathematical precision to his paintings and architectural work. His written work on art remains invaluable.

 27 Gabriele D'Annunzio

Gabriele D'Annunzio
0
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.  

 28 Veronica De Laurentiis

Veronica De Laurentiis
0
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 29 Luigi Pirandello

Luigi Pirandello.
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 28, 1867
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Agrigento
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.

 30 Giulio Andreotti

Giulio Andreotti
0
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Politician, Diplomat, Reporter
Birthdate: January 14, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome
Died: May 6, 2013

 31 Catherine of Siena

Catherine of Siena.
0
Famous As: Mystic
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 Juvenal

Juvenal.
0
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.

 33 Veronica Franco

Veronica Franco.
0
Famous As: Courtesan, Poetess
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.

 34 Oriana Fallaci

Oriana Fallaci
0
Famous As: War correspondent, Politician, Writer, Journalist, Conspiracy theorist
Birthdate: June 29, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Florence
Died: September 15, 2006

 35 Roberto Saviano

Roberto Saviano
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 22, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

 36 Plautus

Plautus
0
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: 0254 BC
Birthplace: Sarsina, Italy
Died: 0184 BC

 37 Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 6, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Porto Empedocle, Italy
Died: July 17, 2019

 38 Dario Fo

Dario Fo.
0
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: March 24, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sangiano

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.

 39 Julius Evola

Julius Evola.
2
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.

 40 Giacomo Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi
0
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.

 41 Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini
2
Famous As: Film director, Actor, Film producer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Racecar driver
Birthdate: May 8, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome
Died: June 3, 1977

 42 Carlo Collodi

Carlo Collodi
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 24, 1826
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: October 26, 1890

 43 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
0
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 22, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: December 2, 1944

 44 Pierluigi Collina

Pierluigi Collina
0
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.

 45 Vasco Rossi

Vasco Rossi
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zocca, Italy

 46 Francesco Redi

Francesco Redi
0
Famous As: Physician, Naturalist, Poet, Writer, Painter, Entomologist, Parasitologist
Birthdate: February 18, 1626
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pisa
Died: April 22, 1698

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.   

 47 Lucrezia Tornabuoni

Lucrezia Tornabuoni
0
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 22, 1427
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: March 25, 1482

 48 Elisabetta Dami

Elisabetta Dami
0
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 1, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

 49 Robert Bellarmine

Robert Bellarmine
0
Famous As: Theologian, Writer, Librarian, University teacher, Catholic priest
Birthdate: October 4, 1542
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montepulciano
Died: September 17, 1621

Robert Bellarmine was an Italian Jesuit and cardinal of the Catholic Church. One of the most important figures in the Counter-Reformation, he has been named a Doctor of the Church. He has also been canonized as a saint. He was a  professor of theology at the Roman College and later became its rector. He became Archbishop of Capua in 1602. 

 50 Gabriele Amorth

Gabriele Amorth
0
Famous As: Catholic priest, Writer, Theologian
Birthdate: May 1, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Modena
Died: September 16, 2016