Francesco Saverio Salfi

Francesco Saverio Salfi or Franco Salfi (24 January 1759 in Cosenza – 1832 in Paris) was an Italian writer, politician and librettist.


An ordained priest, he distinguished himself with his ability to compose verses at a very young age at Accademia Cosentina. In 1786, he wrote an essay that argues against popular beliefs related to the 1783 Calabrian earthquakes. He was opposed by the ecclesiastical authorities as a result.

In 1787, he settled in Naples where he taught literary disciplines, had contacts with the Enlightenment intellectuals (Gaetano Filangieri, Francesco Mario Pagano, Antonio Jerocades, Nicola Pacifico etc.) and began to progressively move away from the Church. In 1788, on the occasion of the refusal to pay the Chinea to the Papal State by the government of Ferdinand IV of Naples, he wrote a satire against the papal state and in favor of Neapolitan politics.

In 1792, he was one of the intellectuals who met with French Admiral Latouche-Tréville in Naples and entered the Neapolitan Patriotic Society. In 1794, in order to avoid a trial, he escaped from Naples to Genoa, where he abandoned his ecclesiastical habit, and then to Milan, where he shortened his name to "Franco" and actively collaborated with the Republican Lombardy's Political Thermometer.[1] In this period he devoted himself to the theater, paying attention to the language of the people. In addition to the satire of General Colli, for example, he translated the first part of the Declaration of 1789 into a play.[2]


  • Franco Crispini, Appartenenze illuministiche : i calabresi Francesco Saverio Salfi e Francesco Antonio Grimaldi, Cosenza : Klipper, 2004, ISBN 88-88223-06-1
  • F.S. Salfi, Valentina Zaffino (ed.), «Progressioni» dell'uomo. Verso la "civil società". [Lezioni di Diritto pubblico, o delle genti, V-X], Cosenza, Pellegrini, 2010, ISBN 978-88-8101-673-0
  • F.S. Salfi, Franco Crispini (ed.), "Introduzione" di Valentina Zaffino, Elogio di Filangieri, Cosenza, Pellegrini, 2012, ISBN 978-88-8101-863-5
  • Daniel Winkler, "Francesco Saverio Salfi", in D.W., Körper, Revolution, Nation. Vittorio Alfieri und das republikanische Tragödienprojekt der Sattelzeit. Wilhelm Fink, München 2016, ISBN 978-3-7705-6129-2. pp. 227–272.


  1. Melzi, Gaetano (1859). Dizionario di opere anonime e pseudonime di scrittori italiani o come che sia aventi relazione all'Italia. Milano: L. di G. Pirola. p. vol. III (S-Z), p. 136.
  2. Luca Addante, Nota al Giornale di viaggio in Calabria di Giuseppe Maria galanti. Soveria Mannelli : Rubbettino, 2008, p. 260, nota 6

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