Born: November 24, 1826, in Florence, Italy
Died: October 26, 1890, in Florence, Italy
Carlo 'Collodi' (originally Carlo Lorenzini) took his pseudonym from the name of the town where his mother was born; a small village in Tuscany. The son of a cook and domestic servant, he grew up 'wild' on the streets of Florence. These experiences likely later informed the writing of this author of the well-known children's tale Pinocchio, although he never married nor had children of his own. He joined the seminary as a young man in order to study for the priesthood, but found, perhaps not surprisingly, that it was not an appropriate vocation for him. His interests were also more attuned to patriotism than religion at the time.
Accordingly in 1848 he joined the Tuscan volunteers supporting the Risogimento in its struggle with Austria. Soon afterward he began his career as an advocate-journalist, publishing a newspaper of political satire, Il Lampione. The government closed down this paper before long, but Collodi continued to write in various capacities for a number of years. In 1853 he wrote for La Scarrammucia, a journal on theater, and between 1850-1859 he wrote a number of novels, varying in subject.
In 1859 Collodi fought in a cavalry regiment, again in opposition to the Austrians. By 1860 he was working as a government official in the area of educational reforms. When he was asked to translate fairy tales from French to Italian, his work was so successful he was then asked to write his own educational books for pupils. Giannettino and Minnuzzolo were therefore written and published in 1876 and 1878, respectively.
The text Collodi is best known for, Pinnocchio: The Adventures of a Puppet, was begun in serial form in the July 7, 1881 edition of the journal Giornale dei bambini. He gradually added more episodes and published the collection in 1883 which in turn was translated into English in 1892. Walt Disney created a feature length animated film based on the book in 1940.