Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Baron in the Trees” as Want to Read:
The Baron in the Trees
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Baron in the Trees

(I nostri antenati #2)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  38,337 ratings  ·  2,102 reviews
A landmark new translation of a Calvino classic, a whimsical, spirited novel that imagines a life lived entirely on its own terms

Cosimo di Rondó, a young Italian nobleman of the eighteenth century, rebels against his parents by climbing into the trees and remaining there for the rest of his life. He adapts efficiently to an existence in the forest canopy—he hunts, sows cro
Paperback, 217 pages
Published March 28th 1977 by Mariner Books (first published 1957)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Baron in the Trees, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Hamidreza این کتاب فوق العاده اس . پر از احساسه
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  38,337 ratings  ·  2,102 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Baron in the Trees
Ahmad Sharabiani
Il Barone Rampante = The Baron in the Trees, Italo Calvino

The Baron in the Trees is a 1957 novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino. Calvino published a new version of the novel in 1959.

Set in an imaginary village on the Ligurian Riviera, Ombrosa represents the author's vision as a central theme, little inclined to judgments and dull opinions.

The novel is narrated by Biagio, the younger brother of the protagonist, and is the story of a young baron, Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò, firstborn of a noble fam
Jim Fonseca
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fantasy/farce by the master. Set in Italy around the time of Napoleon, a young man, discouraged by his boring relationship with his two crazy parents, crazy sister, friar/tutor and crazy uncle who lives with them, “takes to the trees” of the surrounding forest at age twelve and never touches the ground again, dying at age 65. Like an overly long joke, I wondered how long Calvino could pull off this story and keep it interesting, but he does it successfully for more than 200 pages.


The Barn’s li
Richard Derus
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Cosimo, a young eighteenth-century Italian nobleman, rebels by climbing into the trees to remain there for the rest of his life. He adapts efficiently to an arboreal existence and even has love affairs.

My Review: This being a famous and well-studied book, I suppose the publisher didn't feel the need to do a sell-job on it. That little squib is barely a log-line!

I read this book first in ~1974, because it had a cool-looking jacket. It also had an Italian auth
Steven Godin
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, fiction

This was my eleventieth Calvino, and it gets mighty close to being my favourite; that however, will likely always remain Invisible Cities, but this wondrous effort is comfortably perched on the second branch down from the top of the Calvino tree. It was such sheer joy to read! Brimming with charm and delight from start to finish. Calvino has conjured up such a fantastical tale of an eighteenth century Baron living in the trees - without ever stepping foot on the ground again.

The Baron in the Tr
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
"(..) surrounding buds of phrases with frameworks of leaves and clouds, then interweaving again, and so running on and on and on until it splutters and bursts into a last senseless clusters of words, ideas, dreams, and so..."

Once upon a time, somewhere between the innocence of childhood and the pluck of the bold rebel, a young Italian nobleman called Cosimo exercised his right to dissent after twelve long years of abiding by the inherent societal norms of his aristocratic title and refused to e
Mar 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
... anyone who wants to see the earth properly must keep himself at a necessary distance from it ...
The Baron in the Trees ~~ Italo Calvino


Italo Calvino has been on my bucket list of authors for quite some time. For some reason I just never got around to reading him; there were better known or flashier authors positioned higher on the list. Then, my friend, Matthew, reviewed a work of Calvino’s, The Castle of Crossed Destinies and in his review he mentioned The Baron in the Trees. I knew at tha
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
On 15 June 1767, Cosimo, 12-year-old son of an Italian aristocrat living in stately semi-reclusion in Ombrosa, near Genoa, takes to the trees of the vast family park as a protest against paternal discipline. He lives there, without touching ground, for the rest of his days. This being that sylvan age when Europe was so covered with trees that "a monkey could have left Rome and skipped from tree to tree till it reach Spain, without ever touching earth." The story teeters on the edge of farce.

That's when love makes you climb trees and come down only to put you (very momentarily) at the feet of your beloved.
Between a philosophical tale and Munchausen-style adventures, this admirably written book is devoured from cover to cover. A sort of Italian Voltaire, Calvino highlights the spirit of enlightenment here through the somewhat hysterical story of a man from the end of the 18th century who, after his childhood, will only live in the trees.
This book is also a lovely tribute to trees! We
Diane S ☔
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
A witty and whimsical work by Calvino, at least the first part, the second not to much. Cosimo is twelve, the son of a nobleman is twelve when he takes to the trees after a quarrel with his father. He never comes down again. Our narrator is his you get brother and it is through him that we keep abreast of the doings of Cosimo.

Cosimo invents his own world in the treetop, a Utopia, life as he wants to live. He sees much, learns the books and so progresses in his knowledge. From the treetops he wil
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Most peculiar this Fable. Or at least its beginnings.

It baffled me that after the initial proposition, the notion of a young nobleman exiling himself to live in the trees of his family’s estate--a proposition that has a great deal of charm and immediately captivates the reader--, a fair amount of the early part of the novel is devoted at making the unlikely believable, and the unbelievable likely.

For the ordered and systematic transposition of the life on the ground onto its
Violet wells
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italy
I originally read this in Italian and enjoyed it more. It lost some of its enchantment in English - or perhaps I've grown more cynical in the interim.

A moment of adolescent rebellion provides the novel's template. Cosimo has an argument with his parents and instead of hiding in his room as most of us would do climbs a tree and refuses to come down. As adolescents we like the idea that a rebellious decision might be irreversible. Integrity seems to reside down that path. So Cosimo decides never
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This Italo Calvino (Italy) came recommended to me from Karl Ove Knausgaard (Norway). It was unusual in that it was a fantasy for adults--the story of a boy who gets angry with his parents and instead of going to his room, goes to his trees. And stays there. For life.

Sound like the Swiss Family Robinson? In a way, but they came down to earth. He never does. Instead, like St. Exupéry's Little Prince on his Even Littler Planets, Cosimo remains "out there."

In fact, he becomes downright primate-like
Matthew Ted
73rd book of 2020.

This is my sixth Calvino now, and the second book in Our Ancestors - his triptych of tales. I'll go out and say it straight away: this is going in my Favourites shelf.

This novel reflects the beauty of nature, of literature itself, of solitude, and love all wrapped in Calvino's wondrous language and gentle philosophy.

The somewhat whimsical lover in me has always been drawn to the plot of this novel. It is a conte philosophique about a twelve year old boy, son of a Baron, decide
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, italian
Calvino is hard to fathom: he's Janus-faced and elusive. A unique case in Italian literature, especially among the politically committed writers of his generation, whose tendency to denounce the latent 'fascism' of the Italian society could only be expressed in the most straightforward ways: by exploiting one's own existential struggle for instance, as in Pasolini's work (in which political and sexual repression were felt as one and the same thing), or by showing off in the elitist, ineffectual ...more
Ivana Books Are Magic
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Baron in the Trees reads like a fairy-tale, but one with modern touches that include sophisticated satire and parody. In a nutshell, this novel is a story of a young baron who decides to live in the trees. The novel itself is narrated by the younger brother of the baron Cosimo. Besides describing Cosimo to us, the narrator does a great job of portraying his family members and other characters as well.

Cosimo, the hero of the book, climbs a tree after having quarreled with his father, vowing
Barbara K.
Some time ago Audible offered for free a number of books originally written in languages other than English. (If I recall correctly, it was a promotion in support of International Reading Day.) Of those I selected from the list, The Baron in the Trees has easily been the most enjoyable.

To begin, this edition is a success on all counts - the writing is brilliant, the translation fluid, and the narration perfectly attuned to the text. It can easily be read and enjoyed simply as an amusing fable of
Henry Martin
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Of all the new authors I started reading in the past ten years, Italo Calvino is, undoubtedly, the most innovative when it comes to serious fiction. His novels never fail to amaze me either by their plots, the use of language, or their message. The Baron in the Trees is my fourth Calvino book, preceded by Invisible Cities, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler..., and Cosmicomics.

While the previous three books were more serious in nature, The Baron in the Trees is unquestionably a whimsical tale. T
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reread after many years "The Baron in the trees", the second novel of the trilogy "Our ancestors", after having just reread the first, "The Cloven Viscount", and after this I will read the third, The Nonexistent Knight. I have a good memory of when I first read them as a teenager and I am curious to see how I will find them now, as an adult.
The plot is set in the eighteenth century and is narrated in first person by Biagio, the protagonist's brother, that is Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò (without a
120119: of calvino’s work this is possibly my favorite. on reflection, i think this is because it seems effortless, is not illustration, manifestation, argument, of any kind of literary ‘game’. rather than exploring connection and pleasure of the text through genres, as If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. there is perhaps some poetic structure of which i am not aware, there is certainly commentary on ideals/idols of the ‘enlightenment’, some fun with plausible/absurd correspondence with thinkers ...more
Vince Will Iam
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second Calvino book in a row and it's surprising as ever. The plot is just splendid. It's impossible to feel indifferent about the epic adventures of Cosimo -- narrated by his brother but presumably distorted by Cosimo himself :)

12-year-old Cosimo decides to go and live in the trees to escape the strictures and pomposity of aristocratic life and his sister's awful cooked "escargot". The novel has the panache and humour of Don Quixote, though with more romantic and philosophical accents. It is al
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012, novellas
In 1767 twelve-year-old Cosimo di Rondo, the oldest son of an Italian Baron, climbs into a tree outside his house in protest at being forced to eat snails for dinner. His family tells him to come down at once, but he refuses, in fact he vows that his feet will never touch the ground again, and so begins the chronicle of the strangest of lives, told by his brother, as Cosimo lives out his days in the branches of trees.

This story is what the film ‘Ivul’ by Andrew Kotting was loosely based on, and
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
"If I were not Napolean, I would want to be the citizen Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò" exclaims Napolean Bonaparte after meeting our Baron in the trees.

The extrordinary tale of Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò, the baron who in adoloscent rebellion, moves into the trees and never comes down is an exercise in metaphors. 12 year old Cosimo challenges the authority of his father to make him eat snails and goes up the tree. Everyone assumes he will come back, but with the stubborness of idea, Cosimo soon start
Lucy Dacus
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a sweet story, and beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein. I felt like I was reading an incredible children's book. ...more
Trapper King
Sep 02, 2022 rated it liked it
Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler is one of my favorite books Ive ever read, so I have recently picked up both the Non-existent Knight, and this here Baron in the Trees—both of which were thoroughly disappointing. To any of you Calvino heads out there - should I keep trying? Is everything else of his this bland, or does he ever come close again to the magic of If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler? I was hoping to find more.
The Baron in the Trees (Il barone rampante) [1957] – ★★★1/2

The Baron in the Trees is the fourth book of Italian author Italo Calvino (The Invisible Cities [1972]), telling of a young man, Cosimo, of the eighteenth century who decides to live on trees, never going down, sticking to his own principle that he would never touch the ground again. His family soon realises that what might have started as a childish tantrum has transformed into something big and life-changing. In time, Cosimo manages no
Yasmin Moghadamnia
When i started reading this book, i figured, alright, its just a sweet little story that happens to be famous. I should have read it a long time ago when i was a kid. But as it went forward with kuzimo growing up and his ability to learn about love, I felt like Im reading about my own life. Those feelings of rushing love you get when you are with the one person you care about the most, is not something you can pass from easily. Also, the book explains everything with a super simplified, yet rich ...more
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Something daring lurks at the core of this otherwise linear novel. It is a parable of the Enlightenment. It depicts a fanciful revolt against tradition, one leading to an arboreal existence. This life in the trees blossoms through taxonomy into osmething wonderful.

This wasn't what I expected. I sensed with my typical flawed aplomb that The Baron In The Trees would be a series of language-games with half-covered politcs being the nexus of all the fun. There would be no end and the puns would ext
Calvino reports, in one of the Hermit in Paris essays, that he wrote this novel in response to leaving the communist party, after the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. I'm nevertheless not getting a god-that-failed critique vibe here. The novel's setting involves the destruction of the French Revolution by reactionaries (so there's that concordance with 1956)--and the protagonist is a proponent of the revolution--he is likely in the revolution's leftwing, envisioning a radical arborocracy that gr ...more
Mattia Ravasi
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Featured in my Top 5 Italo Calvino Books: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHHJq...

One of the saddest love stories ever told, and a wondrous, imaginative effort. Among Italy's best fantasy novels (come on, it is Fantasy) and the one Calvino's book when inventiveness and quirks are paired most effectively with well-rounded, deeply humane characters.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian-lit
The endurance of youthful convictions is on fabulous display here. Calvino has a uniquely delicate, courtly and warm touch. He loves his characters, and that adds an intimacy to his work that is rare.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong Cover 1 14 May 09, 2020 08:34AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong Cover 1 8 May 09, 2020 08:34AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Late Mattia Pascal
  • I Malavoglia
  • Zeno's Conscience
  • L'amico ritrovato
  • One, No One and One Hundred Thousand
  • L'isola di Arturo
  • La luna e i falò
  • White Nights
  • Survival in Auschwitz
  • Il giorno della civetta
  • The Tartar Steppe
  • Se questo è un uomo: Versione drammatica di Pieralberto Marché e Primo Levi
  • La Locandiera
  • Una questione privata
  • Novecento. Un monologo
  • I promessi sposi (1827)
  • The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
  • La favola di Amore e Psiche
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979).

His style is not easy to classify; much of his writing has an air reminiscent to th

Other books in the series

I nostri antenati (3 books)
  • Il visconte dimezzato
  • Il cavaliere inesistente

Related Articles

Looking for something epic, stellar, or far out? Perhaps a bit dystopian? Then these authors are your chosen ones to read next! We asked...
81 likes · 10 comments
“Si conobbero. Lui conobbe lei e se stesso, perché in verità non s'era mai saputo. E lei conobbe lui e se stessa, perché pur essendosi saputa sempre, mai s'era potuta riconoscere così.” 55 likes
“So began their love, the boy happy and amazed, she happy and not surprised at all (nothing happens by chance to girls). It was the love so long awaited by Cosimo and which had now inexplicably arrived, and so lovely that he could not imagine how he had even thought it lovely before. And the thing newest to him was that it was so simple, and the boy at that moment thought it must be like that always.” 39 likes
More quotes…