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Vincentio Saviolo

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Vincentio Saviolo
Born date of birth unknown
Padua, Italy
Died ca. 1599
London, England
Occupation Fencing master
Nationality Italian
Patron Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Genres Fencing manual
Language English
Notable work(s) His Practice, in Two Books (1595)
First printed
english edition
Jackson, 1972

Vincentio Saviolo was a 16th century Italian fencing master. He seems to have been born in Padua, Italy some time in the mid 16th century, and he traveled widely in his youth, ultimately learning both the Italian method of rapier fencing and possibly the Spanish system of la Verdadera Destreza. He arrived in London in 1590 and quickly gained a great deal of prestige; he seems to have also taken on the former school of Italian master Rocco Bonetti. There are a number of anecdotes about Saviolo's activities in London, but as these are largely derived from the writings of his hostile critic George Silver, it's unclear how trustworthy they are.

In 1595, Saviolo published a fencing manual entitled His Practise, in Two Bookes. It presents his system of rapier fencing, apparently a synthesis of Italian and Spanish concepts,[1] and is structured as a dialogue between Saviolo and a student. The treatise was probably written with the assistance of his friend John Florio, and it's possible that Saviolo wrote the treatise in Italian and Florio translated it.

The exact date of Saviolo's death is uncertain, but he seems to have been deceased by the time George Silver published in 1599.


Additional Resources

The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.


  1. Hand, Stephen and Martinez, Ramon. "Spanish Influence in the Rapier Play of Vincentio Saviolo". Spada: Anthology of Swordsmanship. Ed. Stephen Hand. Union City, CA: Chivalry Bookshelf, 2002. p 132.