Silvio Pellico

1789 (Saluzzo, Italy) – 1854 (Turin)

Pellico is best known for a poem, Francesca da Rimini, and for his influential account of his years as a political prisoner. Settled in Milan, he met Byron and Stendhal (who frequented the same literary salons as he did), Schlegel and de Staël; Byron and he each translated the other’s work, while Stendhal, fond of Pellico, later looked after the publishing of his friend’s prison memoirs. It has been speculated that the mysterious ‘Davis’ that Pellico recorded meeting was in fact the noted scientist Humphry Davy: no-one knows, but Pellico’s friendship with Davy’s equally celebrated colleague Volta shortens the odds.