The Betrothed (I promessi sposi) is an Italian historical novel by Alessandro Manzoni, first published in 1827, in three volumes, and significantly revised and rewritten until the definitive version published between 1840 and 1842. It has been called the most famous and widely read novel in the Italian language.
Set in northern Italy in 1628, during the years of Spanish rule. It is also noted for the extraordinary description of the plague that struck Milan around 1630.
The novel deals with a variety of themes, from the illusory nature of political power to the inherent injustice of any legal system; from the cowardly, hypocritical nature of one prelate (the parish priest don Abbondio) and the heroic sainthood of other priests (the friar Padre Cristoforo, the cardinal Federico Borromeo), to the unwavering strength of love (the relationship between Renzo and Lucia, and their struggle to finally meet again and be married). The novel is renowned for offering keen insights into the meanderings of the human mind.