10 classic authors that Italians Study at school

Which are the authors, the literary classics, that more or less all of us Italians have had to study, willingly or not, during school years and which are an integral part of the Italian culture? Books on which we spent entire afternoons after school, trying to interpret and analys the text in view of an oral or a written exam. A knowledge of these classics can help one have a more complete idea of the cultural cornerstones of our country … as well as of the joys/pains of Italian students!


  1. The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni: let’s start with the book that basically every Italian student has had to deal with (who doesn’t know it?). The final version, written in 1840, sets the story in Lombardy during the 17th century. It is an historical and educational novel that begins with the story of the thwarted love between the young Renzo and Lucia, whose marriage is opposed by Don Rodrigo. After the initial hindrance, a series of adventures (including an imprisonment in a convent, the riots in Milan, the plague) and plots ensue, populated by memorable characters, such as the nun of Monza, don Abbondio, Fra’ Cristoforo and many others.
  2. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri: Does Dante need any introduction? His fascinating journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise is known and studied all over the world (in depth by Italian students).
  3. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio: A work that is slightly less known worldwide and written in the middle of 14th century. It is a collection of short stories that are told over ten days by a group of young men and women cloistered in the countryside to avoid contracting the plague that raged in Florence.
  4. The artistic production of Luigi Pirandello: A great Sicilian playwright, novelist and poet of the XX century, author of novels such as “The Late Mattia Pascal” and “One, No one and one Hundred Thousand” and of innumerable plays, such as “Six Characters in Search of an Author”, “So It Is (If You Think So) “, “The Rules of the Game”, ” Henry IV”.
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  6. The books of Italo Calvin:. Writer of the XX century, who work full of a fairy-tale dimension: The Cloven Viscount, The Baron in the Trees and The Nonexistent Knight are part of a trilogy, but there are also Marcovaldo, Six Memos for the Next Millenium, and various other books, which in school are studied only minimally.
  7. The novels and poems of Gabriele D’Annunzio: of the writer who was the symbol of the Italian Decadentism, you will deal mainly with two novels in school “The child of Pleasure” and “The Intruder” and with the poem “The rain in the pine forest”.
  8. The novels of Giovanni Verga: this Sicilian author is the greatest exponent of the literary movement of realism. His work constitutes a major challenge for Italian students (sometimes accompanied with numerous yawns), who are requested to read “I Malavoglia”, “Mastro Don Gesualdo” and “Rosso Malpelo”.
  9. The books of Italo Svevo: Which Italian student has not confronted himself/herself with “The Confessions of Zeno”? A psychological novel which analyses the life of the main character Cosini Zeno and the relationship with his father.
  10. Ugo Foscolo: of the writer and poet who lived between 1700 and 1800 we study mainly “The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis” and “Of the sepulchres”.
  11. Umberto Eco: the lucky ones have the opportunity to study also the contemporary authors, among which usually the most representative one is Eco, with his wonderful novel “In the Name of the Rose”.


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