Franco Venturi (Rome, 1914 - Turin, December 14, 1994) was an Italian historian, essayist and journalist, a scholar of the Enlightenment in Italy and of the history of Russia, and an anti-fascist active in the Resistance.
In 1915, the year after Venturi was born, his father Lionello Venturi, having had his frustration reach its maximum point, decided to start another family in Turin where he won the competition to fill the chair of Film Director at the University. The younger Venturi attended Liceo classico Cavour and during the Resistance and later was active in the ranks of the Action Party; he was captured and subjected to confinement in Avigliano between 1941 and 1943.
Venturi's greatest achievement is his multivolume work Settecento Riformatore, of which three volumes have been translated into English under the general series title The End of the Old Regime in Europe
- The End of the Old Regime in Europe, 1768-1776: The First Crisis
- The End of the Old Regime in Europe, 1776–1789, I: The Great States of the West
- The End of the Old Regime in Europe, 1776–1789, II: Republican Patriotism and the Empires of the East
In addition, he published a volume of his selected essays, under the title Italy and the Enlightenment: Studies in a Cosmopolitan Century. In 1969, he gave the G. M. Trevelyan lectures at Cambridge University, published in 1971 as Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment.
Other than his work on the Enlightenment, Venturi made his greatest contributions in the field of 19th-century Russian history, concentrating on the history of ideas:
- Roots of Revolution: A History of the Populist and Socialist Movements in 19th Century Russia
- Studies in Free Russia
- Franco Venturi: Un intellettuale oltre il confine, Direzione regionale per i beni culturali e paesaggistici della Basilicata.
- Cecilia Carnino, "Rereading Franco Venturi's Eighteenth Century: Absolutist monarchy between reform and revolt," History of European Ideas, 35,1 (2009), 11-23.