Collodi, Carlo (pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini, 1826–90), Italian writer, journalist, civil servant, and patriot, the author of Le avventure di Pinocchio (1881–3), generally regarded as the masterpiece of Italian children's literature. Pinocchio is not a traditional story reworked, but is, nevertheless, a fairy tale, a principal character being ‘the Fairy with indigo hair’ (not ‘the Blue Fairy’, which is a Disney distortion of the original). Collodi came to fairies and to children late and simultaneously, when he was nearly 50 in 1875. By then he had long been noted in his native Florence for his cultural activities for adults and for his political commitment. One of many siblings brought up in poverty, he knew both the historic city and the Tuscan countryside from boyhood; he was given a good education with priests, thanks to his parents' noble employer. Work in a prominent bookshop brought him into contact with the liberal Florentine intelligentsia. He became an ardent supporter of the ideals of the Risorgimento, eager to see the Italian states freed from foreign domination and from antiquated regimes, and able to unite as one nation. In 1848, the great year of European revolutions, he fought against the Austrians in the First War of Independence in Italy. Returning safely, he embarked on his life's twin professions, becoming a civil servant with the Tuscan legislature and launching a politico-satirical newspaper. Because of the censorship, his journalism soon turned towards the theatre, and he began to write plays and then novels.