Giovanni Testori

Giovanni Testori

Who is Giovanni Testori

Writer, playwright, painter, art critic, poet, director, actor: it is difficult to define Giovanni Testori, one of the most important Italian intellectuals of the 20th century, in one word.

Born in Novate Milanese on 12 May 1923, at the age of 17 he was already collaborating on several GUF magazines with articles on art criticism. In 1952, he became Roberto Longhi’s favourite pupil and published famous writings on the art of the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries in Lombardy and Piedmont. His first work of fiction was published in 1954: Il dio di Roserio (The God of Roserio). 

Then came the cycle of “I Segreti di Milano” (Secrets of Milan) and his first debut as a playwright at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, with La Maria Brasca in 1960. The 1960s were marked by his association with Luchino Visconti and Testori achieved notoriety with the general public. With Franco Parenti, starting in 1972, he staged the Trilogia degli Scarrozzanti (The Scarrozzanti Trilogy), creating, with Andrèe Ruth Shammah, the Salone Pier Lombardo. 

In 1977, the death of his mother initiated a new phase in the writer’s life, marked by the monologue Conversazione con la morte” (Conversation with Death) and his collaboration with the Teatro dell’Arca in Forlì. The 1980s were instead in the sign of Franco Branciaroli and the Teatro degli Incamminati, which he founded with Emanuele Banterle. These were the years in which his activity as a militant critic was intensifying, aimed at many young talents who owed their fame to him. 

From the mid-1970s, Testori had taken over from Pasolini as commentator on the front page of the ‘Corriere’ and from 1978 became head of the art page. After three years of illness, Testori died on 16 March 1993, when over 800 articles had been added to his famous plays, novels and critical studies. 


To find out more about the life and work of Giovanni Testori you can consult the entry of the Biographical Dictionary of Italians and visit the Wikipedia page managed by the Community and in which many Testorian scholars from different Italian Universities collaborate. The Wikipedia page is also constantly updated with new pages dedicated to the works of the writer from Novate.

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