The Betrothed (Italian: I promessi sposi [i promessi spzi]) is an Italian historical novel by Alessandro Manzoni, first published in 1827, in three volumes. It has been called the most famous and widely read novel in the Italian language.
Set in northern Italy in 1628, during the oppressive years of direct Spanish rule, it is seen as a veiled attack on the Austrian Empire, which controlled the region at the time the novel was written (the definitive version was published in 1842). It is also noted for the extraordinary description of the plague that struck Milan around 1630. Renzo and Lucia, a couple living in a village in Lombardy, near Lecco, on Lake Como, are planning to wed on 8 November 1628. The parish priest, don Abbondio, is walking home on the eve of the wedding when he is accosted by two "bravi" (thugs) who warn him not to perform the marriage, because the local baron (Don Rodrigo) has forbidden it. CONTINUED