John Florio

Alternative Name(s) Giovanni Florio
Date 1553 - 1625
Biographical NotesAuthor, translator, and language teacher. He was the son of a Tuscan former Franciscan friar and an Englishwoman. Florio is best remembered as a teacher of languages and author of Italian language textbooks. In 1578 Florio published 'Florio his Firste Fruites', an Italian language instruction book. It contained phrases, dialogues, proverbs, and borrowed prose extracts, arranged in Italian and English in two columns, all of which was followed by a grammar. In 1591 Florio published a second manual, entitled 'Florios Second Frutes', again containing dialogues, but this time followed by a collection of 6000 Italian proverbs titled 'the Gardine of Recreation', the largest proverb list to be published in the sixteenth century. In 1598 he also published 'A Worlde of Wordes, or, Most Copious, and Exact Dictionarie in English and Italian'.

In a varied career Florio also translated Cartier's 'A Shorte and Briefe Narration of the Two Navigations and Discoveries to the Northweast Partes Called Newe Fraunce' (1580, an edition paid for by Richard Hakluyt), and Montaigne's 'Essayes, or, Morall, Politike and Militarie Discourses' (1603), as well as teaching Italian to numerous prominent aristocrats, including Prince Henry. He apparently also served as a spy for Walsingham during the 1580s. See ODNB.
Work(s)Author of Florios Second Frutes to be Gathered of Twelve Trees, of Divers but Delightsome Tastes to the Tongues of Italians and Englishmen (1591)