"that kindly Pliny was held in affection by the poor folk of Comum and Tifernum"
A reference to the Roman Pliny the Younger
(61-c.112 AD), nephew of Pliny the Elder. Pliny was born in Novo Comum in Italy, where Como is now; later in his life he had a summer house near Tifernum in Tuscany. Pliny the Younger was a writer and lawyer, a prominent member of first century Roman society who today is probably best known for his account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, described in a letter to the historian Tacitus.