The Betrothed is set in the Lombardy (Italy) of the seventeenth-century, which was then under Spanish rule. It tells the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucy, who wish to marry but cannot. The local lord, Don Rodrigo, is in love with Lucy, and intimidates both the population and clergy. They will have to undertake a long series of adventures to reach their goal. This novel presents a faithful reconstruction of the time and area, and depicts themes such as the divine providence, the plague, foreign domination, and poverty.
Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) is considered to be one of the major Italian authors of all times. His works have contributed to the unification of the Italian language and he one of the main figures of Italian history and literature. His works are studied in schools and tell of the cultural origins of modern Italy.