Reformer Bernardino Ochino was born in Siena about 1487, the son of a barber. Around 1504, he was entrusted to the order of Franciscan Friars. Some time in 1534 Ochino transferred himself to the newly founded Capuchin order and quickly emerged as its leading figure. During a visit to Naples in 1536 he became associated with the Spanish reformer Juan de Valdés and his followers. Summoned in 1542 to Rome by Pope Pope Paul III, he fled to Geneva. In a series of sermons he set out his Protestant faith which were later published (in Basel) as Prediche.
In August 1545 Ochino left Geneva, staying in Basel and Strasbourg, before being offered a preaching position in Augsburg. Here he published a number of devotional works. In January 1547 the city was besieged by the army of Charles V who demanded that Ochino be surrendered into custody. He fled to Basel, where he was received at the home of the printer Johannes Oporinus. Here he received an invitation from Thomas Cranmer to assist with the reformation of the English church. He travelled to London in November 1547 where he lodged at Lambeth Palace and started preaching to London’s Italian community.
Following Mary’s restoration of Catholicism in 1553, Ochino was obliged to return to the Continent. Whilst living in Zurich, he maintained links with English reformers such as John Jewel and Thomas Sampson. He dedicated his book Laberinti to Elizabeth, recalling their earlier association. His views remained controversial and he was forced to live in permanent exile, moving from one place to another. He finally was welcomed by the Anabaptist community headed by Niccolò Paruta at Slavkov (Austerlitz) in Moravia. Whilst preparing to preach in Transylvania, he died in late 1564 or early 1565. Several of Ochino’s Prediche were translated into English by Anne Cooke, the mother of Francis Bacon.