At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa – writer



Sicilian prince whose novel achieved recognition after his death


The Sicilian writer, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, was born on this day in 1896 in Palermo in Sicily.

Tomasi's only novel, The Leopard, became the best selling novel in the history of Italian literature
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
He became the last Prince of Lampedusa after the death of his father and his only novel, Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), was published in 1958 after his death, soon becoming recognised as a great work of Italian literature.

The novel, which is set in his native Sicily during the Risorgimento, won the Strega price in 1959 for him posthumously.
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After starting to study jurisprudence at university in Rome he was drafted into the army in 1915.

He fought in the battle of Caporetto and was taken prisoner by The Austro-Hungarian army. He was held in a prisoner of war camp for a while in Hungary but eventually managed to escape and return to Italy.

Giuseppe inherited his father’s title in 1934 and eventually settled down to write his novel. He completed Il Gattopardo in 1956, but it was rejected by the first two publishers he submitted it to.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa died in Rome in 1957 at the age of 60. His novel was published a year after his death. It became the best selling novel in Italian history and was made into a film in 1963 by the director Lucchino Visconti.

The novel is celebrated at the Museo del Gattorpardo in the town of Santa Margherita di Belice, in the Sicilian province of Agrigento, where Tomasi had a palace.


Travel tip:

Palermo, the birthplace of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, is the capital city of Sicily, the biggest Italian island, which is situated at the toe of the peninsula of Italy out in the Mediterranean Sea.

Rabbit Beach has been described as among the best beaches in the world for the quality of its sand and its clear water.
Rabbit Beach in Lampedusa is said to be among
the finest beaches in the world
Photo: Figiu (CC BY 3.0)

Travel tip:

Lampedusa, home to about 6,000 people is an island situated 205 kilometres (127 miles) south-west of Sicily. The southernmost part of Italy, it is part of the Sicilian province of Agrigento but is actually just 113 kilometres (70 miles) off the cost of Tunisia.  Rabbit Beach, on the south side of the island, is renowned as one of the finest beaches in the world, combining soft white sand with crystal clear water.

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