The Path to the Nest of Spiders

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The Path to the Nest of Spiders
First English translation
Author Italo Calvino
Original title Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno
Translator Archibald Colquhoun
Country Italy
Language Italian
Publication date
Published in English

The Path to the Nest of Spiders (Italian: Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno) is a 1947 novel by the Italian writer Italo Calvino. The narrative is a coming-of-age story, set against the backdrop of World War II. It was Calvino's first novel.


Pin, an orphaned cobbler's apprentice in a town on the Ligurian coast, lives with his sister, a prostitute. After stealing a pistol from a Nazi sailor, Pin searches for an identity with a partisan group. All the while, the people he meets mock him without his knowing. The title refers to Pin's secret hiding place, directions to which he touts as a prize to any adults who win his trust.


Some critics[who?] view the work as unexceptional, on the grounds that it fails to address the issues other than from a very naive perspective; others[who?] credit it with being skillfully written and make a virtue of its portrayal of the complex emotions and politics of adults, as seen through the eyes of a child. However one passage about prisoners-of-war being made to dig their own grave before being shot is universally regarded as impressive.[citation needed]

See also[edit]