Italian literature arguably began after the founding of Rome in 753 BC. Latin literature was, and still is, highly influential in the world, with numerous writers, poets, philosophers, and historians, such as Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Virgil, Horace, Propertius, Ovid and Livy.
Much later, following in the footsteps of Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, Italian Renaissance authors produced a number of important works such as Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, who wrote The Facetious Nights of Straparola (1550–1555) and the Pentamerone (1634) respectively, printed some of the first known versions of fairy tales in Europe, examples of which appear in this collection.
Later still the Italian Romantic movement coincided with the Risorgimento, the patriotic movement that brought Italy political unity and freedom from foreign domination. Italian writers embraced Romanticism in the early 19th century. The time of Italy’s rebirth was heralded by the poets Vittorio Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo, and Giacomo Leopardi. The works by Alessandro Manzoni, the leading Italian Romantic, are a symbol of the Italian political struggle.
As ever it’s been a delightful journey wandering through Italy’s famous cities and grand histories as I put this small collection together. I hope that you enjoy these stories too.