The ever-romantic land of Italy is one such place that is also the home to many talented people, who are known across the globe.
Italy has a sophisticated and fashionable appeal. Think Italy and our mind conjures up images of great artistic works of some of the most world-famous artists and few of the leading names in the fashion industry. Italy, therefore, boasts of many famous people, who have made their mark in different fields all over the world. Mentioned below are some famous ones.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), born in present-day Tuscany, Italy, is one of the greatest sculptors of all time. Commonly known as Michelangelo, he is known for his artistic works, seen in the sculptures of Pietà and David. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel also remains to be a proof of this highly skilled person. This multi-talented artist is also renowned for his works in the fields of architecture, engineering, and poetry.
Leonardo da Vinci
A connoisseur of various fields of arts and sciences, Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519) is probably considered as the most multifariously gifted person till date. Well-known for his abilities as a painter, Mona Lisa and The Last Supper and The Vitruvian Man got him recognition and admiration globally. Apart from being a skilled artist, da Vinci is also the first person to have conceived the idea of a helicopter, calculator, and the fundamental theory of plate tectonics.
Durante degli Alighieri (c. 1 June 1265 – 14 September 1321), famous as Dante, is a well-known Italian poet of the medieval times. His poem, Divine Comedy, is a world-renowned masterpiece, considered to be his greatest work. This book penned in poetry is the very first book to be written and published in Italian, as opposed to Latin, or Greek, which was common back then. He is known as the ‘Father of the Italian Language’, and referred to as il Sommo Poeta (the supreme poet).
Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) is regarded as the ‘Father of Modern Science’, owing to his exemplary contribution to the fields of mathematics, astronomy, physics, and philosophy. He is the first person to discover the four largest natural satellites of Jupiter, named as the Galilean Moons. He also confirmed the phases of Venus, along with the analysis of sunspots.
A very talented and artistic painter, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (28 March or 6 April 1483 – 6 April 1520) was a famous Italian artist whose work speaks volumes of his talent. An earliest example of his work was a self-portrait done by him that showcased his talent in the field of art. He developed his own style, but at the same time, imbibed other cultures as well. He absorbed all the traditions of Florence and translated them into his works.
A leading Italian shoe designer, Salvatore Ferragamo (5 June 1898 – 7 August 1960) began work at a tender age. He showed an inclination towards shoe designing early on, and also had a long association with some of the top names in Hollywood. It was around 1927, when Salvatore Ferragamo designed shoes for some of the wealthiest names in town — right from Maharani of Cooch Behar to Marilyn Monroe. His noteworthy designs include the cage heel and wedge heel.
Founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was named after her city of birth, Florence. She was lauded for her work as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she got the nickname The Lady with the Lamp, after making rounds at nights to attend to wounded soldiers. She established the first secular nursing school in the world at St Thomas’ Hospital, London in 1860. The world celebrates annual International Nurses Day on her birthday in her honor.
Marco Polo (15 September 1254 – 9 January 1324) is a famous traveler who traveled all over China and lived to narrate his experiences. He was a merchant traveler whose travelogues, such as Il Milione (English title: The Travels of Marco Polo), telling the tales of his journey from the Silk Road to China, etc., are popular all over the world. He has been an inspiration to several other travelers including Christopher Columbus.
Enzo Anselmo Ferrari (18 February 1898 – 14 August 1988), also called The Commendatore, was a world-famous Italian motor race driver. He founded Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix and the Ferrari automobile. Under his leadership, Ferrari has won 25 world titles and 5000 races. In 1952, he was made a Cavaliere del lavoro, the Order of Merit for Labour. He holds a place in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame since 1994.
Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (18 February 1745 – 5 March 1827) was a renowned physicist, best known for inventing electric cell and battery in the 19th century. He is regarded as a pioneer in the area of electricity after constructing alternating layers of zinc and copper along with a piece of cardboard soaked in brine solution, thus inventing the first procedure to generate electricity.
Maria Teresa de Filippis
Born on November 11, 1926, Maria Teresa de Filippis is the first woman to race in Formula One. Even though her stint in this field of sport was unsuccessful, she took part in 5 World Championship Grands Prix without scoring any championship points to her credit. Nonetheless, she made her mark in this sport, which is dominated by men even today. It was only after 15 years since her debut that her Italian compatriot, Lella Lombardi, entered the circuit in 1974.
Giorgio Armani (July 11, 1934) is a talented and the most sought after fashion designer in the world. With a modest beginning, Armani dabbled with different careers till he found his basic interest in fashion designing. In the year 1975, he launched the Armani label with the help of a partner. He achieved his breakthrough in the world of fashion through his designs sported by Richard Gere in the movie American Gigolo (1980). Since then, Giorgio Armani is known for his neat and clean silhouettes,
Dino Zoff (February 28, 1942) is a former goalkeeper whose career spanned 22 years, which covers playing for various clubs — including Juventus — and leading his national team to a win in the 1982 Football World Cup. He, at the age of 40 years, 4 months, and 13 days, holds the record for being the oldest person to win the World Cup. After his retirement from professional football, he resorted to coaching at club level and for the national team.
Born on September 22, 1958, Andrea Bocelli is a renowned operatic tenor, and crossover artist in the classical field. Losing his eyesight at the age of 12 did not deter him from mastering multiple instruments, such as the flute, keyboard, saxophone, guitar, drums, trumpet, harp, and melodica. With a sale of 80 million records globally, he holds the maximum sales figures by any solo artist in the history of classical music. In 2010, he was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Other Globally-known Italians
● Christopher Columbus (explorer)
● Amerigo Vespucci (explorer)
● Caravaggio (painter)
● Francesco de’ Rossi (painter)
● Christine de Pizan (writer)
● Maria Montessori (education theorist)
● Roberto Benigni (actor, director)
● Sophia Loren (actress)
● Sofonisba Anguissola (painter)
● Giuseppe Garibaldi (Italian general, politician)
● Saint Catherine of Siena (theologian)
● Rita Levi-Montalcini (neurologist)
● Franco Modigliani (economist)
● Valentino Rossi (motorcycle racer)
● Francesca Schiavon
● Gianni Versace (fashion designer)
● Guccio Gucci (fashion designer)
● Giacomo Agostini (motorcycle road racer)
● Antonio Carluccio (chef)
● Ettore Boiardi (chef)
● Adalberto Libera (architect)
● Adelina Patti (opera singer)
● Enrico Caruso (opera singer)
● Guglielmo Marconi (physicist)
● Lavinia Fontana (painter)
● Enrico Mazzanti (engineer and cartoonist)
● Silvio Berlusconi (politician, media tycoon)
● Monica Bellucci (model, actress)
● Maria Gaetana Agnesi (mathematician, philosopher)
These famous people have made everyone from across the globe sit up and take notice of their notable contributions in their respective fields. They continue to inspire scores of people even today.