Ciao Bobo: Italy bids farewell to satirist Sergio Staino

Staino was best known as the creator of Bobo.

Italian figures from the world of politics and culture on Saturday paid tribute to Sergio Staino, the leftist cartoonist and journalist who died in a hospital in Florence at the age of 83.

Staino, who had been ill for some time, was best known as the creator of Bobo, a semi-autobiographical left-wing character who featured in comic strips in Italian newspapers since 1979.

Bobo is an average, middle-aged worker and family man whose struggles offered a glimpse into Italy’s politics and institutions for almost 45 years.

Staino was “an intellectual who left his mark on a significant part of the imagination of the left with his irony, intelligence and pen” – the leader of centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) Elly Schlein said on Saturday – “We all grew up with his cartoons, his characters, his piercing jokes.”

Staino was a former editor of l’Unità, once the official newspaper of the now-defunct Italian Communist Party (PCI) which was supportive of successor parties on the left until its closure in 2017, including the PD.

“Dear Sergio, we thought you and Bobo were immortal!” – Florence mayor Dario Nardella (PD) wrote on X – “Florence loses a great professional who, through his pencil, made us reflect and dream.”

Carlo Calenda, leader of the centrist Azione party, posted on social media that Staino “was not only a great artist but also a good and profound person.”