of Carlo Collodi
Lorenzini, better known by the pseudonym Collodi (taken from the
name of his mother's native town), was born in Florence 24th
November 1826. His mother, Angelina Orzali, although a qualified
primary school teacher, worked as a maid for the illustrious
Garzoni Venturi family from Tuscany - their estate in Collodi
was to remain one of young Carlo's fondest memories - and later
for the rich Ginori family of Florence. His father, Domenico
Lorenzini, of more humble origins, a man of weak character and
fragile constitution, worked as a cookfor the same Ginori
The eldest child of a large and unfortunate family (six of
the ten children did not reach adulthood), Carlo attended
primary school in Collodi, under the guardianship of an aunt.
Despite a lively, restless character and tendency towards
insubordination, he was sent to study divinity at the seminary
of Val d'Elsa and later at the Padri Scolopi religious college
When his brother, Paolo Lorenzini, became an executive at the
Manifattura Ginori porcelain company, the family finally enjoyed
financial peace of mind, and Carlo was able to undertake a
career as a white collar worker and then journalist.
In 1848 he enlisted to fight in the Italian War of Independence
along with other supporters of Mazzini. In the summer of the
same year he founded the daily satirical newspaper "Il
Lampione", which was quickly closed down due to censorship
- as a result of the return to power of Grand Duke Leopold in
1849 - only to reopen eleven years later (thanks to the tenacity
of its founder) on the occasion of the plebiscite for annexation
to Piedmont. During that period of time, the satirical paperwas
replaced by a strictly theatrical publication called
In 1856 Collodi wrote the book "Un romanzo in vapore",
punctuated by a defiant tone and much humour, followed by
"Il viaggio per l'Italia di Giannettino".
In 1859, driven by patriotic ideals, he fought in the second War
Until 1875 Collodi, a witty and versatile writer, considered
extremely lazy by some, contributed to numerous newspapers; he
also wrote novels and theatrical dramas, none of which, however,
was of particular creative value.
He began writing children's books in 1876: "I racconti
delle fate", beautiful translations of French fairy tales
commissioned by bookshop and publishing company Paggi. From then
on, Collodi stuck with the genre of children's literature,
producing a series of school textbooks which made him a pillar
of the education system in the newly-united Italy.
He only became a household name, however, with the publication
of the novel "The
Adventures of Pinocchio", the story of the most famous
puppet in the world. Initially published in installments, the
first of which appeared 7th July 1881, in "Giornale per i
bambini" by Ferdinando Martini, under the title "Story
of a Puppet", it was published in its entirety in 1883 by
Florence publisher, Felice Paggi. The book has since been
published in 187 editions and translated into 260 languages and
Carlo Collodi died suddenly in Florence on 26th October 1890,
denied the chance of savouring his well-deserved success.
His manuscripts, donated by his family, are kept in the National
Central Library in Florence.