From science to fashion, from art to luxury cars, Italian extraordinary creativity and ability have left their mark on the world.
Leonardo da Vinci, Maria Montessori, Giorgio Armani, Ennio Morricone… Read all about the 10 most influential Italians in the world, and learn how to pronounce their names.
Michelangelo was born near Arezzo, in Toscana (Tuscany). He was a painter, sculptor, architect engineer, and even a poet. He is known worldwide for his frescoes in the Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel) in Vaticano (Vatican City).
The Renaissance master painted The Last Judgment (Il Giudizio Universale) on the altar wall and nine scenes from the Book of Genesis on the ceiling. The Creation of Adam is the best known scene with the hands of God and Adam, reproduced in posters and T-shirts everywhere.
Michelangelo is the sculptor of the celebrated Statue of David, a symbol of beauty and strength, one of the most popular Renaissance masterpieces in the world.
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Leonardo da Vinci was born in Vinci, a small town in Toscana (Tuscany). The man is considered a real genius: according to two different studies conducted by American psychologist Catherine Cox and Tony Buzan, the inventor of mind mapping, his IQ was around 200. More than double the range of most human beings.
Leonardo da Vinci was a polymath: a person who has a great knowledge and abilities in numerous fields. He was one of the greatest painters of all time, an engineer who invented hydraulic pumps, humanoid automatons, and flying machines. He was a skilled architect, but he also knew about anatomy, cartography, botany, palaeontology, and many other subjects.
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Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, the city of the famous Leaning Tower. He was a scientist, philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. He was the first to introduce the scientific method, a new way of studying phenomena based on observation, measurement, and experiment. Galileo Galilei improved the telescope and he was able to recognize that Mikołaj Kopernik’s (Nicolaus Copernicus) theory was right: the sun is at the centre of the solar system and the planets revolve around it.
Furthermore, Galileo Galilei introduced the law of falling bodies and the concept of inertia.
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Maria Montessori was born in the province of Ancona, in 1870. She was an educator and the creator of her own educational system: the Montessori system, which is based on the belief that children have a natural drive to learn and a great creative potential, if treated as individuals.
Maria Montessori was the first woman in Italy to graduate in medicine in 1896. She worked as an assistant doctor at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Rome, where she started to study the educational problems of intellectually disabled children.
She opened her first school, and her successes led to the openings of Montessori schools everywhere in the world.
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Giorgio Armani is the most influential and acclaimed fashion designer in the world. His clothes have very neat and tailored lines, which always confer a modern yet elegant and classy look. According to Wikipedia, he is the one who started the red carpet fashion. As a matter of fact, Hollywood greatest stars have worn his unforgettable gowns while attending the Academy Awards event. Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster are just a few of them.
Giorgio Armani was also the first fashion designer to ban excessively skinny models from catwalks to fight anorexia. He is also the owner of Milan’s main basketball team: Olimpia Milano.
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Enzo Ferrari is the creator of the most luxurious car on earth: the Ferrari. He was born in Modena, and he never received a formal education.
He was only ten years old when he fell in love with car racing and decided to become a motor racing driver. As soon as he could, he started racing for Alfa Romeo, but after a while he decided to work in the management and development of Alfa Romeo cars. After a while, Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari where he started producing magnificent sports cars with a little prancing horse as a logo. His cars were fast enough to race and win various Formula One championships.
Ferraris are considered the most desirable cars: Elvis Presley and John Lennon owned one. Eric Clapton, David Beckham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicolas Cage, Ashton Kutcher, Eddie Murphy and many other celebrities, still drive a Ferrari.
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Federico Fellini was born in Rimini, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, in 1920. Fellini became one of the most important filmmakers worldwide, and his works were appreciated by film directors as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Guillermo del Toro.
He was nominated 12 times by the Academy Awards, and he won four Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and an Honorary Oscar in 1993, besides all the other prizes he was awarded during his career.
His most famous films are La Strada, La Dolce Vita, 8½, Roma, Amarcord.
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Luciano Pavarotti is an Italian opera singer born in Modena, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, in 1935. He was considered one of the best tenors of the 20th century, if not the best. He played in the most important theatres in the world and won five Grammy Awards.
He also organized Pavarotti & Friends, a series of benefit concerts between 1992 and 2003 in his home town, whose proceeds were donated to humanitarian causes.
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Ennio Morricone was an Italian composer and conductor, he was born in Rome in 1928. Morricone wrote more than 400 scores for cinema and television, as well as more than 100 classical works. He won an Oscar for Best Original Score in 2016 and a Special Academy Award for Career Achievement in 2007. Ennio Morricone is considered one of the greatest film composers of all time.
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Rita Levi-Montalcini was born in Torino, in the region of Piemonte, in 1909. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with colleague Stanley Cohen for the discovery of nerve growth factor in 1986.
From 2001 until she died, in 2012, she served as a Senator for Life in the Italian Senate.
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