The setting is Lombardy. The land is ruled by King Flavio, who is also the King of England. He has two counsellors, Ugone and Lotario. Ugone’s son, the young knight Guido, is this very day to marry Lotario’s daughter, the noble-minded Emilia. Ugone also has a daughter, the lovely Teodata. He desires her to seek a position as a lady-in-waiting at the court in order “to avoid the bitter solitude of her maiden years”. Little does he know that she already has a secret lover. This is Vitige, the King’s adjutant.