The Betrothed

The Betrothed

Alessandro Manzoni’s novel opens a window to the history of an Italy torn by war and the Italian Plague of 1629–1630. On this very dramatic scene we meet the two main characters, the fiancés Renzo and Lucia. Their life in a small and quiet village near lake Como is disrupted by the intrigues of a corrupted nobleman who tries to kidnap Lucia, a simple girl with a pure soul and a great devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the prayer of the Holy rosary.

Contemporaries of Cardinal Federico Borromeo (cousin of the famous Saint Carol Borromeo), the heroes of Manzoni’s novel are the witnesses of the impressive public devotions of the huge crowds who come to meet the famous Cardinal and receive his blessing. At the same time, the public processions during which the entire population of the city of Milan implores God’s help to stop the plague are a great lessons for us.

But the focal point of Manzoni’s novel is the meeting between two remarkable aristocrats: the great Federico Borromeo, a holy Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, and the mysterious and cruel “l’Innominato”, the “Unnamed”. The tumultuous conversion of the latter represents the crucial moment of the whole story. Through this episode, the author makes a strong case for the power of faith and holiness.

Considered one of the most important novels in the entire history of Italian literature, The Betrothed is an essential reading for anyone who wants to contemplate an extraordinary period from the history of Italy and, simultaneously, to discover the exigencies and values of Christian Tradition.


  • Author: Alessandro Francesco Tommaso Antonio Manzoni (1785 – 1873)
  • Original title: I promessi sposi
  • Original language: Italian
  • Genre: Novel
  • Publication year: 1827
  • Public: Adults
The Betrothed