Franco Nembrini was born in Trescore Balneario, in the province of Bergamo, on August 15, 1955. The fourth of ten siblings, he understood at the age of 12 that literature could guide him in the journey of his life and promised his teacher that he, too, would become an Italian Literature teacher.
He started high school but was forced to leave school at the age of sixteen when his family ran into economic difficulties, and he went to work in a factory. When he was eighteen, he decided to take a high school equivalency exam in order to get a diploma from a specialized high school for educators. In three months of “mad and most desperate study” (a quotation borrowed from Leopardi, the poet who, together with Dante, is the object of Franco’s great passion) he learned the curriculum and passed the final exam.
He later enrolled in a BA program in Education at the Catholic University of Milan. In the meantime, he started teaching theology in high school (he was the first lay theology teacher in the dioceses of Bergamo). He also became one of the leaders of the Catholic movement “Communion and Liberation” in the dioceses of Bergamo. He married and had four sons.
Franco received his BA degree in 1982 and, shortly thereafter, a group of desperate parents asked him for help. In answer to their requests, Franco helped found “La Traccia,” a private middle school in Calcinate (BG). Today the school combines an Elementary School, a Middle School, and a High School (offering artistic, linguistic, and scientific curricula) and has about a thousand students.
In the meantime, fulfilling the promise he had made to his high school teacher, Franco started teaching Italian Literature in technical high schools.
Between 1999 and 2006 Franco served as President of the Federazione Opere Educative (Federation of Educational Works), an association of private schools linked to the Compagnia delle Opere organization. During the same period, he served on the Italian National Council of Catholic Schools, on the board of the Italian Episcopal Conference’s Pastoral Council for the School, and on the Commission for equality of status between public and private schools at the Ministry of Education.
Franco taught in public schools until Summer 2009, when, due to health problems, he had to give up teaching. However, he remained President of the “La Traccia” school until Summer 2015.
In recent years, due to the unexpectedly widespread success of his books Dante poeta del desiderio (Dante, poet of desire) and Di padre in figlio (From father to son), he has been invited to give talks on education and on Dante all over Italy and abroad, particularly in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, Ukraine, Kazakhistan, Russia, and Siberia.
In 2012, Franco founded a small publishing house called “Centocanti,” which published the DVD collection El Dante and Franco’s commentary on Miguel Mañara by Oscar V. Milosz.
The DVD collection El Dante captured the attention of Tv2000, the broadcasting arm of the Italian Episcopal Conference, which asked Franco to go on TV to talk about his passion for Dante and for literature. Thus, the 34-episode TV show Nel mezzo del Cammin was born, and was broadcast between 2015 and 2016. The show was a great success, and Franco was asked to create another TV show, entitled L’avventura di Pinocchio (The adventures of Pinocchio), which went on the air in 2016.