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David Rizzio at the Scottish Court


David Rizzio (1533-1566), Italian musician and courtier, is a highly romanticised historical figure. He has long been represented in the Scottish arts for his close relationship with Mary Queen of Scots, his murder at the hands of her husband and other Protestant lords, and his association with the religious conflicts that marked the Scottish Reformation. Despite his fame, neither his political and cultural role nor his artistic influence have been studied in any scholarly detail.

Through a series of workshops, Dr Emanuela Patti (University of Edinburgh) is aiming to fill this gap, providing the first comprehensive account of Rizzio’s life, career and impact. The last of these three workshops on David Rizzio’s life and legacy explores his representation in literature, opera, painting and cinema. Please see the agenda here.

The workshop will take place at the Italian Institute of Culture on Friday, 13th October (10.00 am – 4.30 pm).

Public lecture

Following the workshop, at 5.30pm, historian Alison Weir will give a public lecture – This Vile Act: the Murder of David Rizzio.

The lecture will take place at the University of Edinburgh. Tickets for the lecture are bookable separately.

Book your free ticket for Alison Weir’s lecture


This project is funded by a Royal Society of Edinburgh Workshop Award.

Find out more about the David Rizzio at the Scottish Court project on the University of Edinburgh website



  • Organizzato da: University of Edinburgh, Royal Society of Edinburgh Workshop Award
  • In collaborazione con: Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh