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Carlo Collodi: the Florentine Father of Pinocchio

carlo collodi pinocchio

Who doesn’t know Pinocchio? Indeed, perhaps the wooden puppet was best known to children a few generations ago, but the classic Disney cartoon has ensured that it is not forgotten, even in this digital age.

It must also be said that the Pinocchio that many have in mind is just that of Disney, which is not exactly that of the original book. Or rather, let’s say that it is an excellent interpretation of what Carlo Collodi wrote, adapted and made interesting for children and adults of our time.

Much less well known is its author, Carlo Collodi.

The biography

Carlo Collodi’s real name was Carlo Lorenzini, he was born on November 24, 1826.

His family was not well-off, her parents in fact were at the service of the Tuscan noble family of the Garzoni Venturi Ginori: her father was a cook and her mother, Angelina Orzali, was a waitress despite her having an elementary school diploma.

Very often, the parents worked in different residences, and Carlo spent the first years of his childhood in Collodi, with his mother’s aunt. From here was born the pseudonym chosen when he became a writer.

For a certain period, little Carlo thought of an ecclesiastical career, which was, however, one of those that guaranteed relative economic tranquility.

However, Carlo seems to have been a bit undisciplined, with a perhaps too lively character, so he decided to abandon his studies and found a job in Florence as a clerk in the Piatti bookshop.

It is here that he comes into contact with the world of intellectuals and magazine contributors. In 1848, at the age of 22, he became a civil servant.

The first publications

He participated in the First War of Independence and later founded his own magazine ‘Il Lampione’, in favor of the unification of Italy but also with a certain attention to the issues of education of the lowest and most disadvantaged stratum of the population.

The censorship made it close soon, but in the meantime Carlo founded and directed another periodical, ‘Scaramuccia‘.

In this period he begins to write travel or adventure novels.

Again he enlisted for the Second War of Independence, once again luck made him return home safe and sound.

The publisher Paggi entrusted him with the translation from French of Perrault’s ‘Tales of Mother Goose’, with the famous fairy tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Tom Thumb, Puss in Boots.

It is in this way that, as a writer, he begins to take an interest in children’s literature.

The birth of Pinocchio

He writes and publishes, again with the publisher Paggi, ‘Giannettino‘ and ‘Minuzzolo‘, works for children that are the prelude to Pinocchio.

Story of a puppet‘ was born in 1881, published in installments in the ‘Giornale dei Bambini’.

After the great success, the episodes are brought together in a single volume entitled ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio‘.

Carlo Collodi, now famous, died in Florence on October 26, 1890.

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