Carlo Collodi

On This Day in History: Carlo Collodi, Creator of Pinocchio, Born

History of Italy

Carlo Lorenzini, renowned by his pen name Carlo Collodi, came into the world on November 24, 1826, in Florence. Widely celebrated for his fairy tale novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” Collodi’s life was marked by diverse experiences, ranging from political activism to a shift towards children’s literature.

Early Life

Born to Angiolina Orzali Lorenzini and Domenico Lorenzini, a cook, Collodi spent his formative years in Collodi, the town that later inspired his pen name. As the eldest of eleven siblings, he navigated a childhood marked by the loss of seven siblings. Raised in Collodi by his maternal grandmother, Collodi’s educational journey took him from primary school to a theological seminary in Colle Val d’Elsa. Despite initial financial support from the marchese Ginori Lisci, Collodi veered away from priesthood and pursued further education at the College of the Scolopi Fathers in Florence. His professional journey commenced in 1844 when he joined the Libreria Piatti bookstore in Florence, assisting the renowned manuscript specialist Giuseppe Aiazzi.

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Collodi’s Career

Collodi’s involvement in the Italian Wars of Independence and his service as a volunteer with the Tuscan army shaped his early career. Engaging actively in political matters, he founded the satirical newspaper “Il Lampione” in 1853, which faced censorship under the Grand Duke of Tuscany. This setback led Collodi to establish his second newspaper, “Lo scaramuccia,” in 1854. Transitioning to literature, he penned his first notable work, “Il signor Alberi ha ragione!” in 1860, introducing the pseudonym Collodi.

Disillusioned with Italian politics, Collodi shifted his focus to children’s literature, translating French fairy tales into Italian. Notable works include “Racconti delle fate” in 1875 and the pedagogic series featuring Giannettino in 1876. Inspired by his desire to express convictions through allegory, Collodi embarked on writing “Storia di un burattino” (Story of a Marionette) in 1880, later known as “Le avventure di Pinocchio.” The serialised tale gained international acclaim and Disney adapted into a film in 1940.

pinocchio by carlo collodi
Illustrations from Pinocchio

Legacy and Later Life

Carlo Collodi’s sudden demise on October 26, 1890, in Florence marked the end of a prolific literary career. His legacy endures through the National Carlo Collodi Foundation, established in 1962 to promote education and his works. Pinocchio Park, inaugurated in 1956 in Collodi, stands as a testament to the enduring popularity of Collodi’s enchanting creation. Today, on the anniversary of his birth, we celebrate the enduring impact of Carlo Collodi’s contributions to literature and children’s imagination.

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