Giovanni Arpino

Giovanni Arpino (27 January 1927 – 10 December 1987) was an Italian writer and journalist.


Born in Pula-Croatia to Piedmontese parents, Arpino moved to Bra in the Province of Cuneo. Here he married Caterina Brero before moving to Turin, where he would remain for the rest of his life.

He graduated in 1951 with a thesis on the Russian poet Sergei Yesenin and the following year made his literary debut with the novel Sei stato felice, Giovanni, published by Einaudi.

He took up sports journalism, writing for the daily papers La Stampa and Il Giornale; together with Gianni Brera at the La Gazzetta dello Sport he brought a new literary quality to Italian writing on sport. His most important work in this line was the 1977 football novel Azzurro tenebra. In Italy he got to know the Argentinian writer and fellow sports enthusiast Osvaldo Soriano.

Arpino also wrote plays, short stories, epigrams and stories for children.

He won the Strega Prize in 1964 with L'ombra delle colline, the Premio Campiello of 1972 with Randagio è l'eroe and the 1980 SuperCampiello with Il fratello italiano. His novels are characterised by a dry and ironic style.

His novel Un delitto d'onore became Pietro Germi’s highly regarded 1962 comedy Divorce, Italian Style, with Marcello Mastroianni.

His story Il buio e il miele was made into two films: Dino Risi’s Profumo di donna, with Vittorio Gassman, and Martin Brest’s Scent of a woman, which earned Al Pacino an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Arpino died in Turin in 1987. His links to his childhood town of Bra have been maintained by the establishment of a multifunctional cultural centre and of a prize for children’s literature.


  • Sei stato felice, Giovanni (1952)
  • Gli anni del giudizio (1958)
  • La suora giovane (1959)
  • Un delitto d'onore (1960)
  • Una nuvola d'ira (1962)
  • L'ombra delle colline (1962)
  • Un'anima persa (1966)
  • La babbuina (1967)
  • Il buio e il miele (1969) translated as Scent of a Woman (2012)
  • Randagio è l'eroe (1972)
  • Racconti di vent’anni (1974)
  • L'assalto al treno ed altre storie (1974)
  • Rafé e Micropiede (1974)
  • Domingo il favoloso (1975)
  • Il primo quarto di luna (1976)
  • Azzurro tenebra (1977)
  • Il fratello italiano (1980)
  • Le mille e una Italia (1980)
  • Un gran mare di gente (1981)
  • Bocce ferme (1982)
  • La sposa segreta (1983)
  • Il contadino Genè (1985)
  • Passo d'addio (1986)
  • La trappola amorosa (postumo, 1988)

In 2005 Mondadori published a volume of selected works edited by the literary critic Giorgio Bàrberi Squarotti.



This article was based originally on its counterpart in the Italian Wikipedia, it:Giovanni Arpino, which is licensed under the GFDL.

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