Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1821-1852 - Berners Street (Westminster)

Bookseller Pietro Rolandi was born on 3 March 1801 in Vercelli, Piedmonte, into a large family. At the age of sixteen he went to Turin, working as a cabinetmaker. In 1821 he joined his brother Giovanni Battista who had moved to London earlier. The latter was involved in the sale of Italian books and prints. In their partnership, Pietro was charged with running the bookshop at no. 20 Berners Street, Fitzrovia. Its clientele consisted of political refugees and British intellectuals with an interest in Italian culture and politics. Pietro was in contact with many prominent exiles. In 1840 he published a Catalogo di libri Italiani, vendibili presso Pietro Rolandi, libraio ed editore, in Londra. His re-issue of Silvio Pellico’s Le mie prigioni deepened British sympathy for the Italian cause in the struggle against Austrian repression. Suffering from chest problems, he moved to Livorno in 1852 and left the running of the bookshop to his nephew. Pietro died in Naples in February 1863.

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