Giulio Camillo (1480-1544), or Giulio Camillo Delminio to give him his full name, was one of the most famous men of the 16th century. He was one of those people whom their contemporaries regard with awe as having vast potentialities. His theatre was talked of in all Italy and in France; its mysterious fame seemed to grow with the years. Yet what was it exactly A wooden theatre, crowded with images, was shown by Camillo himself in Venice to a correspondent of Erasmus; something similar was later on view in Paris. the secret of how it really worked was to be revealed to only one person in the world, the King of France. Camillo never produced the great book, which he was always about to produce, in which his lofty designs were to be preserved for posterity. It is thus not surprising that posterity forgot this man whom his contemporaries hailed as 'the divine Camillo'. He was born about 1480. For some time he held a professorship at Bologna, but the greater part of his life was spent in the abstruse labours on the theatre for which he was always in need of financial support. Francis I, the King of France, was informed of it and in 1530 Camillo went to France. the King gave him money towards his work, with promise of more. But it would seem that the ducats did not flow as liberally from the French King as he had hoped.
Camillo returned back to Italy and appears to have been out of a patron. the Marchese del Vasto, the Spanish governor of Milan, offered him a pension in return for being taught 'the secret'. this offer was accepted and Camillo spent what remained of his life as Del Vasto's pensioner, discoursing in his presence and in various Academies. His idea for the theatre of Memory has been described in L'idea del teatro (1550), the book published after his death. the theatre of Memory has been realized in a villa near Milan, owned by a certain Pomponio Cotta. there are no documents about this realization.