Vincentio di Vivaldi has fallen in love with Ellena Rosalba. However, his proud and noble family vehemently oppose the match: they cannot allow him to wed someone with no money or social standing. Thus, his mother, the mean-spirited Marchesa, and her minion, the evil monk Father Schedoni, set in motion a malign plot that has Ellena kidnapped and imprisoned in a convent, to prevent a hasty marriage. Vivaldi’s attempt to free Ellena leads to his arrest and incarceration in the dungeons of the Inquisition, a terrifying maze of tunnels and chambers beneath Rome, while Ellena is taken to a lone dwelling by the sea... In part a response to Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, The Italian is a deeply atmospheric novel, combining sublime landscapes and unnerving feelings of fear and dread. It is one of the landmarks of Gothic fiction.