Favoloso Calvino: the world as a masterpiece


Over 400 artworks tell the literary genius of Italo Calvino

Many intellectuals and experts have insisted that Italo Calvino‘s writing transcends mere words and narratives, creating a realm of complex imagery and profound symbolism. This perspective suggests that Calvino’s works are journeys through the intricate labyrinths of his imagination, filled with symbols, metaphors, and allusions.

That’s why the curators of the exhibition, Mario Barenghi, together with Electa editions, had a fairly easy job in representing Calvino’s world at the Scuderie del Quirinale.

This exhibition in Rome, inaugurated close to Calvino’s 100th birth anniversary, offers visitors a remarkable opportunity to step into the enchanting world of Italo Calvino, one of the most known narrators in Italy. Born in Cuba in 1923, Calvino then lived most of his life in Italy, between Sanremo, Torino and Rome.

Favoloso Calvino Exhibition at Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome

A comprehensive repertoire to step into Calvino’s world

The exhibition, running until February 4, not only pays tribute to Calvino’s remarkable contributions to literature but also highlights the enduring power of his work to inspire and attract individuals of all backgrounds and interests. It’s an invitation to explore the depth and beauty of the written word, as seen through the eyes of an author whose legacy continues to captivate and inspire.

Visitors are engaged in Calvino’s journey even before stepping into the Scuderie del Quirinale. In fact, if you are walking from Via XXIV Maggio, you will be able to admire a light installation composed of stars, planets and orbits with the silhouette of a tightrope walker at the end,  “Palomar” by Giulio Paolini, inspired by Calvin’s character devoted to observing the sky.

Calvino Exhibition in Rome

To see a city, it is not enough to keep your eyes open. You must first discard everything that prevents you from seeing it – all received ideas and preconceived images.

Inside the exhibition, the canvas paintings on display serve as visual interpretations of the abstract concepts and unique landscapes that Calvino painted with words. These artworks provide a visual representation of the vivid imagery that his writing has evoked in the minds of countless readers. They bring to life the surreal cities of “Invisible Cities” and the fantastical tales of “Cosmicomics.”

Italo Calvino Exhibition in Rome
Tullio Pericoli, Italo Calvino, 1987, acquerello e china su carta, mm 570 x 380, Bologna, collezione privata © Tullio Pericoli

I spent the first twenty-five years of my life (or thereabout) inside a landscape. Without ever getting out of it. I can never lose this landscape, because only what exists entirely within one’s memory is definitive.

Interview with “Le Monde”, 1970

A must-see exhibition for book lovers

Books, central to Calvino’s legacy, are displayed in all their beauty. First editions, rare prints, and foreign translations show the global reach of his work. The exhibition showcases the evolution of his storytelling, from his early works to his later, more experimental writings.

Favoloso Calvino Exhibition Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome
Vittore Carpaccio, San Giorgio che uccide il drago e quattro scene del suo martirio, 1516, olio su tela, cm 180 x 226, Venezia, Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore, Benedicti Claustra Onlus

Don’t miss out:

–         Forêt Palatine by Eva Jospin, a wide cardboard forest inspired by the novel “The Baron in the trees”

–         Calvino’s oil portraits by Carlo Levi

–         Millefiori tapestry known as Tapestry of the Adoration of Franco-Flemish manufacture dating 1530-1535

–         Tra Voltaire e Poe by Mark Dion, 2016

–         Saint George slaying the dragon and four scenes of his martyrdom by Vittore Carpaccio, 1516

–         Another world, 1947 by Maurits Cornelis Escher, made in woodcut head and wire woodcut in black color

–         Piazza d’Italia (Souvenir d’Italie) by Giorgio De Chirico

–         The Exhibition Catalog by Electa and all Calvino’s books at the bookshop

Until February, 4 2024


Via XXIV Maggio, 16

Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10am – 8pm

Tickets: Full 15.00€ + online fee


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