5 Famous Classic Italian Writers

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Italian literature goes beyond Dante; there are many other classic Italian authors worth reading. Here's a list of famous writers from Italy to add to your must-read list. 

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Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533)

Engraved illustration of Ludovico Ariosto

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Ludovico Ariosto is best known for his epic romance poem "Orlando Furioso." He was born in 1474. He's also mentioned in the novelization of the video game "Assasin's Creed." Ariosto is also said to have coined the term "Humanism." The goal of Humanism is to focus on man's strength rather than their submission to a Christian God. Renaissance Humanism came from Arisoto's humanism. ​

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Italo Calvino (1923-1985)

Portrait of Italo Calvino
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Italo Calvino was an Italian journalist and author. One of his most famous novels "If On a Winter's Night A Traveller," is a postmodern classic published in 1979. The unique frame tale in the story sets it apart from other novels. It has been included in the popular "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" list. Musicians such as Sting have used the novel as inspiration for their albums. At the time of his death in 1985, he was the most translated Italian author in the world. 

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General Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863-1938)

General Gabriele D'Annunzio

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General Gabriele D'Annuzio had one of the most fascinating lives of anyone on this list. He was a renowned author and poet and a fierce soldier during World War I. He was a part of the Decadent artistic movement and a student of Frederich Nietzsche.

His first novel written in 1889 was titled "The Child of Pleasure." Unfortunately, the Generals literary achievements are often overshadowed by his political career. D'Annuzio is credited with helping author the rise of fascism in Italy. He feuded with Mussolini who used much of the author's work to aide in his rise to power. D'Annuzio even met with Mussolini and counseled him to leave Hitler and the Axis Alliance. 

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Umberto Eco (1932-2016)

Portrait of Umberto Eco

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Umberto Eco is probably best known for his book "The Name of The Rose," published in 1980. The historical murder mystery novel combined the author's love of literature and Semiotics, which is the study of communication. Eco was a semiotician and a philosopher. Many of his stories dealt with themes of the meaning and interpretation of communication. Along with being an accomplished author, he was also a well-known literary critic and college professor. 

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Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873)

Painted portrait of Alessandro Manzoni

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Alessandro Manzoni is most famous for his novel "The Betrothed" written in 1827. The novel was seen as a patriotic symbol of Italian unification also known as Risorgimento. It's said that his novel helped to shape a new unified Italy. The book is also seen as a masterpiece of world literature. It's safe to say Italy wouldn't be Italy without this great novelist.       

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Lombardi, Esther. "5 Famous Classic Italian Writers." ThoughtCo, Aug. 1, 2021, thoughtco.com/classic-italian-writers-4132346. Lombardi, Esther. (2021, August 1). 5 Famous Classic Italian Writers. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/classic-italian-writers-4132346 Lombardi, Esther. "5 Famous Classic Italian Writers." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/classic-italian-writers-4132346 (accessed June 10, 2023).