Carlo Lorenzini, better known by the pseudonym Collodi (taken from the name of his mother's native town), was born in Florence 24th November 1826. His mother, Angelina Orzali, although a qualified primary school teacher, worked as a maid for the illustrious Garzoni Venturi family from Tuscany - their estate in Collodi was to remain one of young Carlo's fondest memories - and later for the rich Ginori family of Florence. His father, Domenico Lorenzini, of more humble origins, a man of weak character and fragile constitution, worked as a cookfor the same Ginori family.
The eldest child of a large and unfortunate family (six of the ten children did not reach adulthood), Carlo attended primary school in Collodi, under the guardianship of an aunt. Despite a lively, restless character and tendency towards insubordination, he was sent to study divinity at the seminary of Val d'Elsa and later at the Padri Scolopi religious college in Florence.
When his brother, Paolo Lorenzini, became an executive at the Manifattura Ginori porcelain company, the family finally enjoyed financial peace of mind, and Carlo was able to undertake a career as a white collar worker and then journalist.
In 1848 he enlisted to fight in the Italian War of Independence along with other supporters of Mazzini. In the summer of the same year he founded the daily satirical newspaper ""Il Lampione"", which was quickly closed down due to censorship - as a result of the return to power of Grand Duke Leopold in 1849 - only to reopen eleven years later (thanks to the tenacity of its founder) on the occasion of the plebiscite for annexation to Piedmont. During that period of time, the satirical paperwas replaced by a strictly theatrical publication called ""Scaramuccia"".
In 1856 Collodi wrote the book ""Un romanzo in vapore"", punctuated by a defiant tone and much humour, followed by ""Il viaggio per l'Italia di Giannettino"".
In 1859, driven by patriotic ideals, he fought in the second War of Independence.
Until 1875 Collodi, a witty and versatile writer, considered extremely lazy by some, contributed to numerous newspapers; he also wrote novels and theatrical dramas, none of which, however, was of particular creative value.
He began writing children's books in 1876: ""I racconti delle fate"", beautiful translations of French fairy tales commissioned by bookshop and publishing company Paggi. From then on, Collodi stuck with the genre of children's literature, producing a series of school textbooks which made him a pillar of the education system in the newly-united Italy.
He only became a household name, however, with the publication of the novel ""The Adventures of Pinocchio"", the story of the most famous puppet in the world. Initially published in installments, the first of which appeared 7th July 1881, in ""Giornale per i bambini"" by Ferdinando Martini, under the title ""Story of a Puppet"", it was published in its entirety in 1883 by Florence publisher, Felice Paggi. The book has since been published in 187 editions and translated into 260 languages and dialects.
Carlo Collodi died suddenly in Florence on 26th October 1890, denied the chance of savouring his well-deserved success.
His manuscripts, donated by his family, are kept in the National Central Library in Florence.