Considered one of the most important and widely read novels ever written in the Italian language, “The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi)” is Alessandro Manzoni’s 1827 historical novel, which details the terribly oppressive rule of the Spanish over Italy in the early 1600s. At the center of the novel is the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia, whose marriage is forbidden by the local baron, who wishes to wed the lovely Lucia himself. Forced to flee their homes, Renzo and Lucia are separated and must struggle against the ravages of war, famine, and the plague to be reunited again. While in essence a simple and affecting love story, “The Betrothed” is also a fascinating and detailed glimpse into a dramatic and tumultuous period in Italy’s history. Famed for its depiction of young love, devotion, and fidelity, the novel is also noted for its incredibly realistic depictions of the real-life plague that ravaged Milan, as well as the subsequent bread shortages and violent unrest. Manzoni’s “The Betrothed” is an epic Italian masterpiece.