Burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church, Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno has been seen as a martyr to religious intolerance; only recently has he also been recognized as a queer hero.
Italian novelist Aldo Busi, while eschewing the label "gay writer," nevertheless presents homosexual acts as normative behavior and foregrounds gay sex as an epiphany for his protagonists.
Carlo Coccioli, Italian-born trilingual writer and author of the landmark gay novel Fabrizio Lupo (1952), depicted the struggle to find and keep religious faith in spite of the absurdity of life and the propensity of human beings to dehumanize each other.
In the Divine Comedy Dante treats male homosexuality first as violence against God and then more sympathetically as merely one of the kinds of love.
Until quite recently, male homosexuality has had a discontinuous, fragmented, and largely condemnatory history in Italian literature, and lesbianism has been almost totally ignored.
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
Most of the fiction and much of the poetry of Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of the great Marxist homosexual artists of the twentieth century, was shaped by his fascination with the lives of subproletarian youths.
Both the elegiac and the romantic pastoral have been associated with homoerotic desire from their beginnings in classical literature to their echoes in contemporary literatures.
For Sandro Penna boyhood was the embodiment of desire and the inspiration for all of his poetry.
The fifteenth-century Italian scholar and poet Poliziano wrote many homoerotic Greek and Latin epigrams, published when he was seventeen.
Italian rhetorician and philosopher Antonio Rocco is author of an early classic of pederastic literature, L'Alcibiade fanciullo a scola (Alcibiades the schoolboy), which was written in 1630 and published anonymously in 1652.
Critics use the term male romantic friendship to describe strong attachments between men in works ranging from ancient epics and medieval romances to Renaissance plays, Gothic novels, westerns, and war movies.
The bisexual poet who published under the name Umberto Saba wrote poems that expressed his love both of his wife and daughter and of adolescent boys.
Although Pier Vittorio Tondelli occupies a central position within the Italian literary canon, the theme of homosexuality in his work has been ignored or minimized by his critics.