• Cuore: The Heart of a Boy

Since its first publication, Cuore has become required reading for generations of Italians, being reprinted in more than five hundred editions and translated into twenty-five languages.

Cuore, meaning 'heart' in Italian, is the fictional diary of a young boy’s life in a Turin school. The narrator, Enrico, writes vividly of life in the classroom and in the local streets, portraying the achievements and setbacks, pleasures and pains of growing up in a late nineteenth-century Italian community.

Enrico's journals are interspersed with letters from his parents encouraging him to be industrious, kind, honest, loyal and respectful. These exhortations are reinforced by stories about children whose selfless deeds demonstrate the patriotism, sense of duty and love of family to which the young Italian citizen should aspire. De Amicis, a former professional soldier, wrote the book in the aftermath of the Italian war for independence and the Unification of Italy in 1870, with the intention of fostering an sense of Italian identity.

Cuore has been adapted into almost every conceivable medium, including films, major television series, radio adaptations, plays and comic books. It has even become a cult anime film in Japan. Henry Miller wrote a glowing monograph on the book, and world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli composed a song about it, showing how this account of childhood has inspired many and continues to do so to this day.

Translated from the Italian by Desmond Hartley

'A moving account of childhood.'  Le Monde

'An Italian classic … vividly depicts the achievements and pleasures as well as the setbacks and pains of growing up in an Italian town.' – Book Report


EDMONDO DE AMICIS (1846–1908) was born in Piedmont, at a time when Italy lay dismembered. A soldier by profession, he spent much of his youth fighting for a united Italy.

An admirer of the writer Alessandro Manzoni, who considered that Florentine should be the standard Italian language, he wrote only in Florentine Italian. With the huge success of Cuore he achieved his goal of having had – through his novel’s central place on the school syllabus – a formative influence on the written language of modern Italy.

Bibliographic Data
Date Published 5th January 2009
ISBN Number 9780720612325
Pages 256

Cuore: The Heart of a Boy

  • £9.95


Tags: italian literature, italy, italy novels, european fiction, european classics, italian classics, desmond hartley, edmondo amicis, de amicis, edmondo de amicis, cuore, heart