35 Facts About Italo Calvino


Italo Calvino was an Italian writer and journalist.


Italo Calvino's best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy, the Cosmicomics collection of short stories, and the novels Invisible Cities and If on a winter's night a traveler.


Italo Calvino is buried in the garden cemetery of Castiglione della Pescaia in Tuscany.


Italo Calvino was born in Santiago de las Vegas, a suburb of Havana, Cuba, in 1923.


Italo Calvino's father, Mario, was a tropical agronomist and botanist who taught agriculture and floriculture.


Italo Calvino's mother, Giuliana Luigia Evelina "Eva" Mameli, was a botanist and university professor.


Italo Calvino described his parents as being "very different in personality from one another", suggesting perhaps deeper tensions behind a comfortable, albeit strict, middle-class upbringing devoid of conflict.


Italo Calvino's brother Floriano, who became a distinguished geologist, was born in 1927.


Italo Calvino attended the English nursery school St George's College, followed by a Protestant elementary private school run by Waldensians.


In 1941, Italo Calvino enrolled at the University of Turin, choosing the Agriculture Faculty where his father had previously taught courses in agronomy.


Luigi Pirandello and Gabriele D'Annunzio, Cesare Vico Lodovici and Ugo Betti, Eugene O'Neill and Thornton Wilder are among the main authors Italo Calvino cites as his sources of inspiration.


Italo Calvino transferred to the University of Florence in 1943 and reluctantly passed three more exams in agriculture.


Now twenty years old, Italo Calvino refused military service and went into hiding.


Italo Calvino settled in Turin in 1945, after a long hesitation over living there or in Milan.


Italo Calvino then left Einaudi to work as a journalist for the official Communist daily, L'Unita, and the newborn Communist political magazine, Rinascita.


Italo Calvino returned to Einaudi in 1950, responsible this time for the literary volumes.


Italo Calvino eventually became a consulting editor, a position that allowed him to hone his writing talent, discover new writers, and develop into "a reader of texts".


Over a seven-year period, Italo Calvino wrote three realist novels, The White Schooner, Youth in Turin, and The Queen's Necklace, but all were deemed defective.


The protagonist, a seventeenth century viscount sundered in two by a cannonball, incarnated Italo Calvino's growing political doubts and the divisive turbulence of the Cold War.


In 1952 Italo Calvino wrote with Giorgio Bassani for Botteghe Oscure, a magazine named after the popular name of the party's head-offices in Rome.


From 1955 to 1958 Italo Calvino had an affair with Italian actress Elsa De Giorgi, a married, older woman.


Excerpts of the hundreds of love letters Italo Calvino wrote to her were published in the Corriere della Sera in 2004, causing some controversy.


In 1957, disillusioned by the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary, Italo Calvino left the Italian Communist Party.


Italo Calvino withdrew from taking an active role in politics and never joined another party.


Italo Calvino found new outlets for his periodic writings in the journals Citta aperta and Tempo presente, the magazine Passato e presente, and the weekly Italia Domani.


In 1962 Italo Calvino met Argentinian translator Esther Judith Singer and married her in 1964 in Havana, during a trip in which he visited his birthplace and was introduced to Ernesto "Che" Guevara.


On 15 October 1967, a few days after Guevara's death, Italo Calvino wrote a tribute to him that was published in Cuba in 1968, and in Italy thirty years later.


Italo Calvino and his wife settled in Rome in the via Monte Brianzo where their daughter, Giovanna, was born in 1965.


Once again working for Einaudi, Italo Calvino began publishing some of his "Cosmicomics" in Il Caffe, a literary magazine.


Italo Calvino accepted both the Asti Prize and the Feltrinelli Prize for his writing in 1970 and 1972, respectively.


In two autobiographical essays published in 1962 and 1970, Italo Calvino described himself as "atheist" and his outlook as "non-religious".


Italo Calvino had more significant contact with the academic world, notably at the Sorbonne and the University of Urbino.


Between 1972 and 1973, Italo Calvino published two short stories, "The Name, the Nose" and the Oulipo-inspired "The Burning of the Abominable House", in the Italian edition of Playboy.


Italo Calvino became a regular contributor to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.


In 1975, Italo Calvino was made Honorary Member of the American Academy.