Mario Tobino was born on 16 January 1910 in Viareggio. He graduated in Medicine in 1936 and immediately afterwards he met directly with the life in the mental hospital and with the mental patients, a relationship that he would keep with them for all his life.
In June 1940 he was in Libya, where he worked as doctor until October 1941, following the troops fighting in the war of Libya. This experience is narrated in the book “Il deserto della Libia”, published in 1952. At his return in Florence he frequented, among the others, Vittorini and Montale.
On 9th of July 1942 he began the long experience in Maggiano as doctor in the Mental Hospital of Lucca, where he worked for more than forty years. In the same year, he met Paola Olivetti, his long life companion.
From spring to autumn of 1944 he attended the war of the national liberation as partisan, an experience that marked him as a men and as a writer and that is at the center of “Clandestino”, published in 1962 and winner of the XVI edition of «Premio Strega».
In 1953 he published the “Libere donne di Magliano”, which consecrated him as one of the most important Italian writers.
In 1961 he began the collaboration with the «Corriere della Sera», a long relationship that lasted until 1985.
In 1972, his book “Per le antiche scale” won the prize «Premio Campiello».
At the end of the seventies, Tobino fought against the negative effects of the law n.180, known as «Legge Basaglia».
He continued his literary activity during the latter part of his life: in 1982 he published “Gli ultimi giorni di Magliano”, in 1984 “La ladra” and in 1988 “Tre amici”. During that period he received many prizes and recognitions and the last of them was the «Premio Pirandello», that he collected on 10th of Dicember 1991 in Agrigento, the day before he died.