Giovanni Gronchi, 91, a former president of Italy, died Tuesday in his home in Rome.

He was elected president of the Italian Republic, a largely ceremonial post, in 1955. He retained the office until 1962.

Mr. Gronchi was an early proponent of the "opening to the left" in Italian politics from the early 1950s. This was an effort to bring the socialists and other left of center parties into an alliance with the dominant Christian Democratic Party.

During his years as president, he made several visits abroad, including one to the Soviet Union despite the criticism of some Roman Catholic leaders. He also visited the United States, Canada, France, West Germany, Britain, and Latin America.

Mr. Gronchi came to prominence during World War II. He established contact with underground groups, and with the late Alcide de Gasperi, represented the Christian Democrats on the central committee of the National Liberation Front.

He was born in Pontedera, in the province of Pisa and earned degrees in letters and law at the University of Pisa. He entered parliament in 1919, after seeing action as a volunteer in the Italian Army during World War I.

Mr. Gronchi served from 1922 to 1923 in Benito Mussolini's government. He resigned his post and was ousted from parliament by the Fascists.

He served in Italian transitional governments after World War II. He was elected speaker of the Chamber of Deputies in 1948, a post he held until becoming president.

As the speaker, he helped steer the North Atlantic and Western European Union treaties through parliament.

Survivors include his wife, Carla, a son and a daughter.