For 33 days in 1975 the infectious smile of John Paul I lit up the world. Illustrissimi is a collection of droll letters he wrote for a newspaper before his election. Adressed to famous characters in history and literature, his pointed comments sparkle with humour and wisdom. Whether he is discussing the pangs of adolescnece with Pinocchio, pornography with Sir Walter Scott, capitalism with Marconi or miniskirsts with the Empress Maria Theresa, he manages to be both edifying and amusing. Illustrissimi is one of the few available clues to the personality of a Pope whose brief ministry charmed millions of people.