Francisco Balbi di Correggio
(1505 - 1589) born in Correggio in the Province of Reggio Emilia, Italy in 1505. He was a wandering poet and soldier. During the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 he served as an arquebusier with the Spanish contingent. More important is that he kept a diary of everyhing that happened during the siege and he is therefore acknowledged as one of the most important primary literary sources on the Great Siege. Two years after the great Siege he fist published his diary in Alcala de Henares, Spain. His work proved to be popular and in 1568 he published a second edition in Barcelona. Little is known about Francesco Balbi and some researched believe he died in Reggio Emilia on 12th December 1589. Most remarkable, during the Great Siege he was already a man of sixty years old. He must have been lucky as a soldier of fortune all these years to stay alive and enjoy writing.
Balbi's is the best-known eyewitness account of the siege (there is at least one other, in the form of a long poem by the knight Hipolito Sans), and all subsequent histories rely heavily upon it, including that of Giacomo Bosio, the official historian of the Knights of St John, whose massive account first appeared in 1588.