IRIS ORIGO (1902-1988) was born in England, the child of an Anglo-Irish mother and an American father. Privately educated in Florence, she later devoted herself to the development of La Foce, her Tuscan farming estate, and to her writing. Her work in biography includes Leopardi: A Study in Solitude, and The Last Attachment, a study of Byron's love affair with Teresa Guiccioli. During World War Two she and her husband, the Marchese Antonio Origo, converted La Foce into a refuge for children from the bombed cities of northern Italy and escaped Allied prisoners of war. The Marchesa Origo was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in England.
'It is jolting to recall, through Origo's sober and self-effacing prose, the atrocious conditions of the summer of 1944, as the Allies fought their way painfully up the peninsula from the beachhead of Anzio.' Financial Times