Cuore, meaning 'heart' in Italian, is the fictional diary of a young boy’s life in a Turin school. The narrator, Enrico, writes vividly of life in the classroom and in the local streets, portraying the achievements and setbacks, pleasures and pains of growing up in a late nineteenth-century Italian community.
Enrico's journals are interspersed with letters from his parents encouraging him to be industrious, kind, honest, loyal and respectful. These exhortations are reinforced by stories about children whose selfless deeds demonstrate the patriotism, sense of duty and love of family to which the young Italian citizen should aspire. De Amicis, a former professional soldier, wrote the book in the aftermath of the Italian war for independence and the Unification of Italy in 1870, with the intention of fostering an sense of Italian identity.
Cuore has been adapted into almost every conceivable medium, including films, major television series, radio adaptations, plays and comic books. It has even become a cult anime film in Japan. Henry Miller wrote a glowing monograph on the book, and world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli composed a song about it, showing how this account of childhood has inspired many and continues to do so to this day.