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Italian Folktales

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,409 ratings  ·  197 reviews
One of the New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year: These traditional stories of Italy, retold by a literary master, are “a treasure” (Los Angeles Times).
Filled with kings and peasants, saints and ogres—as well as some quite extraordinary plants and animals—these two hundred tales bring to life Italy’s folklore, sometimes with earthy humor, sometimes with noble mystery, and sometim(Losthe New
Paperback, English Edition, 800 pages
Published November 15th 1992 by Mariner Books (first published 1956)
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Melanti You mean Stone Soup?

Here's the wiki entry: There's links to a couple of versions down at the bottom.

I don't think there's a version of…more
You mean Stone Soup?

Here's the wiki entry: There's links to a couple of versions down at the bottom.

I don't think there's a version of that in this book though - I searched the Kindle edition for the word "soup" and none of the results look likely.


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Ahmad Sharabiani
Fiabe italiane = Italian Folktales, Italo Calvino
Italian Folktales, is a collection of 200 Italian folktales, published in 1956, by Italo Calvino. Calvino began the project in 1954, influenced by Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folktale.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: از هفتم ژوئن سال 2011 میلادی تا هشتم ژوئن سال 2011 میلادی
عنوان: افسانه های ایتالیایی؛ نویسنده: ایتالوکالوینو؛ مترجم: محسن ابراهیم؛ تهران، نشر نیلا، 1378، در 516 ص، شابک: 9646900003؛ موضوع: افسانه ها و قصه های ایتالیائی - قرن 20
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I was just taking a little stroll on a rainbow. I'll be right down.

One word review : Charming!

Italo Calvino sets out here to salvage the treasure trove of popular wisdom, his inspiration in the monumental works of the likes of Brothers Grimm, Perrault, Andersen or Afanasiev. The result is this collection of very Italian and very amusing folklore collected from dusty library shelves by previous ethnographers and polished up by Calvino. He adds his personal touch of wry humour and subversive m
Nandakishore Varma
There is an endless fascination to fairy and folk tales. As a child, I remember listening to them at my great-aunt’s knee: she was a great storyteller, and often embellished and modified tales, so that cruel and sad parts were left out. The same tales were restored to their original form when told by my mother, who was adamant that a child should not be shielded from cruelties and horror. Needless to say, I preferred my great-aunt.

Later on, I came to read and love the Classics Junior
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Molti re e regine

In a way, I guess I was expecting more from the 200 tales in this collection, which Calvino collected from throughout Italia in the 1950s.

Many common threads braid these tales. A few seem duplicative of others, with minor variations; and some mirror prominent tales from Grimms collection. I will write down the threads I can recall while I'm on my vacation beginning tomorrow. Collectively, the list will undoubtedly prove very humorous.

I do know a lot more now about the common structure of these tales. I oug
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you name it. really.
As a tiny child, I read this an enormous number of times -- I remember bringing it in to my kindergarten class to show to my teacher (who, certainly, had doubts that I'd actually read it. Psh. (Yes. I am hugely pretentious.))

Regardless. I've read bits and pieces of it again and again over the years, and it remains one of the most delightful books I know. There is no reason for this not to be a favorite book for kids -- it's exciting, full of an enormous number (200!) of vivid stories
Wow! It's hard to even know where to begin reviewing this collection. I started reading it in 2015 for a group read, and finished about a third. I set it aside meaning to return to it, but never did. At the start of this year, I decided I would read 10 fairy tales from it between every print book I finished. And 7 months later, I'm finished! I enjoyed the process so much I'm going to start doing that with another fairy tale collection.

And I literally read it to pieces. Both the front
Alastair Fontana
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My mother gave me this book when I was seven years old. She got it from a salesman who was smart enough to convince her that the book was perfect for a seven years old, even though it was a book of more than a thousand pages, and an expensive one, with an heavy binding that made it difficult for a little boy to handle. Well, this was probably the best gift I ever had. I read the book countless times, totally fascinated by the weirdness of the characters and by the gruesomeness of the stories, el ...more
Scribble Orca
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: either Calvino completionists or fiabe italiane fetishists
Useful reference material. To be admired for the approach and scholarship. Otherwise bland.
Laura Vo
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Most traditional stories were past down from generation to generation in an oral tradition which made for well paced and entertaining stories. Sadly they are often retold in the hands of someone with a pace that is comparable to a three legged horse in a race, and sadly not as entertaining. (I know some of you are thinking I'm awful for that right now and are taking a moment to think the worst of me.) Thankfully, Italo Calvino lent his hand to the collecting and retelling of Italian folktales an ...more
Mary Catelli
Calvino wanted to be Italy's Brothers Grimm. Not in the sense of collecting the tales, which folklorists had been doing, but creating a popular collection. This is the result, down to the 200 tales. He notes that he also, like the Grimms, spruced up the tales. Unlike them, he put in end notes about what tales he combined, and what little details he added. (He went by the language and not by the country's borders.)

It's a wide variety, including some religious legends and animal fables
Aug 07, 2011 marked it as to-read
Well, Neil Gaiman gave it five stars...

and Wikipedia had this intriguing insight:

"Over a seven-year period, Calvino wrote three realist novels, The White Schooner (1947–1949), Youth in Turin (1950–1951), and The Queen's Necklace (1952–54), but all were deemed defective.[28] During the eighteen months it took to complete I giovani del Po (Youth in Turin), he made an important self-discovery: "I began doing what came most naturally to me – that is, following the memory of the things I
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I wish my parents had read this aloud to me when I was little- perhaps one of the best collections of fairy tales I've ever read. Calvino finds a very strong narrative voice while still managing to balance his own typical style and the speaking style of those who told him the stories in the first place.

My favorite is a similar story to little red riding hood except with an ogre...
"Grandmother, what a big neck you have..."
"I've always worn such heavy jeweled necklaces my dear."
200 folktales ... I feel like I have completed a major reading project.

Reading folktales/fairytales, it's fun to see some of the similarities in European stories and start to pick up not only national but regional idiosyncrasies. This extensive collection of Italian tales not only has similarities to some very familiar stories but some also have threads of Arabic tales and Roman myths.
This is my first experience of Italian folktales outside of Roman mythology, so one of the things I
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Too many of these stories followed the same pattern: poor character is having a bad time > something semi-magical happens > character gains wealth or nobility.

For a writer with communist sympathies and an anarchist father, Calvino sure seems to (re-)tell a lot of stories that glorify kings, marriage, and wealth.
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My Grandmother, from Italy, would tell my brother and I Giufa stories every night. We loved them. I have become the teller of Giufa stories. I was convinced that my Grandmother had made all these stories up about this poor farmboy, and his mother.

When my eldest son was in 1st Grade, he asked me one night after a Giufa story, "Is Giufa real, Dad."
Wanting my son to believe these stories to get the full impact, I replied, "Of course."
Then my son said, "Then tomorrow when we go to the librar
Parrish Lantern
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it

This is a masterful collection of Italian Folktales, where the reader is lured into a world of flux, of metamorphoses, where kings and peasants, tricksters and saints, and a whole zoology* of extraordinary animals, plants and fish wend their way through the landscape and history of the Italian nation.

Italian Folktales (Fiabe Italiane) is a collection of 200 folktales, collated from various regions around Italy, and from the works of a whole army of collectors, folklorists, ethnologists etc., making use of an
Madly Jane
Highly uneven collection that I've been reading off and on the last year. It's a general favorite but it did now "wow" me as some of the Russian authors do.
It's not the cosmicomics :(
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
When you read a book every day for two months, you develop a relationship with the book. That’s what happened with Italian Folktales. I felt like I grew to know Italy through both space and time through the hundreds of stories in this book, stories from every part of Italy, over seven hundred pages of stories. Many had familiar elements; I read stories that reminded me of Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, among others. Most had at least some of the classic characteristics of fa ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
When you have 800 pages of folk tales and fairy tales, even when you try reading a few a night, it eventually gets old, like eating mashed potatoes every night. A great majority of these stories are silly, nonsensical things, with a lot of repeating plot structures. Only a few reached an absurd level, or better yet, an absurd-symbolic level. I did get some inspiration from a few of the tales, and that's why I signed up.
Feb 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
These are some seriously crazy fairy tales.

I finally finished this book.

I've been reading it, with varying degrees of intensity, since early 2004.

It is a 700+ page book of 200 folktales with notes and intros.

I tried to read one fairy tale every day. I failed that goal, but I came close at times.

These stories were so crazy, and yet most echoed motifs and structures of the fairy tales of other cultures.

I am so completely fascinated with the psychological need
Tyler Jones
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Stories, told and retold, take on lives of their own as parts of the tale are dropped, other parts added, some things stressed and other things inverted. These folktales, gathered from all over Italy, provide incredible insight into how language reflects social mores and prejudice. An amazingly illuminating work. I suggest reading these tales in as rapid succession as possible to make all the threads that wind through the tales (tales where children lose hands, tales of magic food, tales with de ...more
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Containing short (2-3 page) old folktales, this is a charming collection. Not the type of thing you pick up and read from front to back (nearly 800 pages, 200 stories) more something you would pick up to read one or two before bed or to a child. Not a Calvino novel in the vein of the others of his I've read, but a very worthwhile addition to the bookcase.
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Ah an oldie but a goodie ... pulled this out to read some of the tales to my 3 year old. While she fell asleep during the 1st one, I kept reading. This is a book I've read before (parts), but enjoy again and again.
Oct 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Generally speaking, I don't post books on Goodreads that I have read more than 20 years ago. I read this extraordinary and deep collection in 1990, but parts of it still haunt me.
Ian Evans
Jan 25, 2008 rated it liked it
An amusing collection of fairy tales and folk stories that hasn't a whiff of postmodern style. Suck it, lit majors.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, read-2019
3.5 stars. Best read in tiny chunks; most of the individual stories are a lot of fun (albeit somewhat disorienting from our post-post-modern perspective on plot and characterization. Also, Why is it the third brother and the youngest daughter that’s always successful? Why are so many parents ready to sacrifice their kids (but not vice versa)? Why are so many husbands not able to recognize their wives (and vice versa)? Why is there a king on every street corner?). Read in larger chunks they can a ...more
G Beulah
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This collection of over 400 stories from across Italy is by turns funny, delightful, dark, and bizarre. Each is written concisely enough to be read in several minutes but this does not hinder each tale's ability to draw the reader into a world of charms, curses and magical beings. I bought another copy of this for my sister (who is dyslexic) as it's the perfect book for those who love a good story but find reading longer books difficult.
Paul Engle
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Italo Calvino (1923-85) was an Italian national treasure, best known for his fiction and rightly so. This book, however, is a departure from his better known offerings; a collection of two hundred Italian folktales. It is a large work, 766 pages, but each story is relatively short and for me it has stayed in easy reach on my nightstand since I bought it over a decade ago. Stories can be chosen at random, each a little gem of insight into the culture of a different region. If you are curious abou ...more
vi macdonald
In this collection it's apparent that Calvino saw the way the Brothers Grimm applied their unique writing style to traditional stories, allowing their collection of German tales to have a very cohesive and unique feeling to it, and tried to emulate this through his own unique lens. This leaves the reader with not only a meticulous and detailed collection of Italian folktales, but one that is peppered with the writing style and insights of an Italo Calvino novel. So many of these tales have such ...more
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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 that of fantastical fair
“Now that the book is finished, I know that this was not a hallucination, a sort of professional malady, but the confirmation of something I already suspected—folktales are real.” 2 likes
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