An itinerary entirely dedicated to Manzoni and to his masterpiece: "I Promessi Sposi" (The Betrothed).
Statue of Alessandro Manzoni in San Fedele Square (by Picone Fabio, CC BY-SA 4.0 via WikiCommons)
A few steps away from the busy Vittorio Emanuele II gallery is the church of San Fedele, representative of Alessandro Manzoni’s life, as he was profoundly religious and used to go to this church. Unfortunately, it was here that the writer suffered a head injury when he fell on the steps and later died of meningitis in 1873.
The monument dedicated to the writer was erected in the centre of the square in 1883, a characteristic and memorable monument, nowadays a statue outdated by many but with a powerful meaning, recalling the power of poems, verses, writings, and the simple but fundamental combination of paper and ink.
The church, built in the 16th century, has been recognised as an example of Counter-Reformation sacred architecture because it is very close to the instructions of St. Carlo Borromeo. A decidedly evocative church closely linked to the life of Alessandro Manzoni, albeit due to a sad event, is worth visiting on the way to getting to know the artist.
Manzoni was religious for most of his life, but this was not always the case.
From a young age, he wrote poetry, influenced by Romantic writers and enthused by the ideals of the French Revolution, therefore seeming detached from deep religious beliefs.
1810 was the year of Manzoni’s so-called ‘conversion’, meaning that he returned to the Christian faith, towards which he had always shown a certain amount of disinterest.
Some rumours attribute this sudden spiritual change back to specific events. However, what probably led young Alessandro and his family to Catholic religious practice was a much longer journey due to many intertwined factors.
Undoubtedly, ‘I Promessi Sposi’ underlines the writer’s philosophy towards Christianity, divine Grace and Providence, as they are the main driven factors of the plot. This characteristic gives us a glimpse at the peculiarity of Manzoni’s faith.
In parallel, the story is considered the most representative work of Italian Romanticism. It is one of the greatest in Italian literature for the depth of its themes. Its uniqueness is also evident in the modesty of the protagonists.