Italo Calvino

Italo Calvino was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best-known works include the 'Our Ancestors' trilogy (1952–1959), the 'Cosmicomics' collection of short stories (1965), and the novels 'Invisible Cities' (1972) and 'If on a winter's night a traveler' (1979). Calvino's writing is characterized by imaginative narratives, clever use of language, and exploration of literary form and structure. He was also a member of the Oulipo group, which focused on using constrained writing techniques to create literature.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. If on a Winter's Night a Traveller

    The novel is a postmodernist narrative that follows the adventures of the reader, who is trying to read a book called "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller." However, the reader keeps encountering obstacles that prevent him from finishing the book, including printer's errors, censorship, and interruptions from other characters. The story is interspersed with the beginnings of ten different novels, each interrupted at a moment of suspense. The book is a meditation on reading, writing, and the nature of narrative itself.

    The 272nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Invisible Cities

    In this unique novel, a Venetian traveler describes 55 different cities to the Mongol emperor, each city more fantastical and surreal than the last. The cities are divided into categories such as "Cities and Memory," "Cities and Desire," "Cities and Signs," etc. As the traveler continues to describe these cities, it becomes clear that they are all actually the same city, Venice, seen from different perspectives and points in time. The novel explores themes of memory, perception, and the nature of human experience.

    The 293rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Baron in the Trees

    "The Baron in the Trees" tells the story of a young Italian nobleman who, in a fit of rebellion, climbs a tree and vows never to touch the ground again. He spends the rest of his life living in the treetops, observing the world from above, and engaging in adventures with bandits, revolutionaries, and lovers. Despite his self-imposed exile, he becomes a symbol of freedom and individuality, ultimately influencing the course of European history.

    The 717th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Italian Folktales

    This book is a comprehensive collection of 200 traditional Italian folktales, meticulously gathered from different regions of Italy. The stories range from humor to horror, from fairy tales to moral lessons, from whimsical to deeply symbolic, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Italy. These tales, translated and retold, provide a fascinating insight into the folklore, traditions, and beliefs of Italian people.

    The 1955th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Castle of Crossed Destinies

    "The Castle of Crossed Destinies" is a unique narrative where the characters, unable to speak, tell their stories through the use of tarot cards. The book is divided into two parts, each set in a different castle, and features a variety of characters, including knights, kings, and queens, who each use the cards to weave their own tales. The stories are interconnected, creating a complex web of tales that explore themes of fate, destiny, and the interconnectedness of human experiences.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Path to the Nest of Spiders

    The novel is set in Italy during World War II and follows the journey of a young boy who joins the Italian resistance against the Nazis. The story is a coming-of-age tale that explores the boy's struggle to find his identity amidst the chaos of war. Along the way, he encounters various characters, each with their own stories and perspectives on the war, which further shape his understanding of the world. The title refers to a hidden nest of spiders the protagonist discovers, symbolizing the hidden complexities of life and war.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Cloven Viscount

    This novel tells the story of a viscount who, after being split in two by a cannonball during a battle, survives as two separate halves: one purely evil and the other purely good. These two halves return to their homeland where they lead drastically different lives, reflecting the dual nature of humanity and the complexities of moral absolutism. The narrative explores themes of identity, morality, and the struggle to find a balance between opposing aspects of one's nature. Through its fantastical and allegorical approach, the story delves into the consequences of division and the possibility of reconciliation, both within an individual and within society.

    The 3228th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Italian Folktales

    "Italian Folktales" is a collection of enchanting and timeless stories from Italy's rich folkloric heritage. Compiled and retold by a prominent 20th-century writer, the book brings together a diverse array of tales filled with whimsy, wisdom, and magical elements. Each story transports readers into a world of brave heroes, cunning creatures, and fantastical events, reflecting the cultural traditions and social mores of different Italian regions. This anthology not only entertains but also preserves the folkloric legacy of Italy, showcasing the art of storytelling and the universal themes that connect humanity across time and space.

    The 6630th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Mr. Palomar

    The book is a contemplative exploration of the world through the eyes of the titular character, Mr. Palomar, who seeks to understand the complexities of existence through meticulous observation and reflection on seemingly mundane subjects. From watching waves on a beach to contemplating a cheese shop, his attempts to impose order and rationality on his experiences often lead to more philosophical inquiries and existential musings. Through these vignettes, the narrative delves into themes of human perception, the nature of knowledge, and the interplay between the observer and the observed, all conveyed with a blend of humor, irony, and poignant insight.

    The 7082nd Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. T Zero

    "T Zero" is a collection of complex, imaginative stories that blend scientific concepts, mathematical structures, and literary experimentation. The work challenges the boundaries of time, space, and narrative convention, weaving together a tapestry of tales that explore the nature of reality, causality, and human perception. Through a series of thought-provoking vignettes, the book delves into the paradoxes of existence, employing a playful yet profound use of language to question the very framework of storytelling and the universe it attempts to describe.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time