Stefano Zannowich was born in Budva, which at the time was the Republic of Venice, on 18 February 1751. He died in Amsterdam, the Dutch Republic, on 25 May 1786. Called Hanibal, he was a Montenegrin writer and adventurer. He wrote in Italian, French, Latin, and German. He was a pen pal of Gluck, Pietro Metastasio, Voltaire, Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Catherine the Great, and Frederick William II of Prussia, to whom he dedicated a book of French verses translated from Italian, "L'Alcoran des Princes Destinés au Trone". Giacomo Casanova mentions Stefano Zannovich, who "paid a visit to Vienna under the alias of Prince Castriotto d'Albanie."
Stefano was born into the wealthy Paštrović family and lived in the Babindol, Budva. He had several siblings, some of which had almost the same, exciting life as Stefano.
He was educated in Padua and Venice and traveled almost all of Europe. He even presented himself to the European kings as the most interesting ruler of Montenegro, and the "fake emperor Stephen the Little," who seized the throne of Montenegro by falsely representing himself as the Russian Tsar Peter III of Russia.
Numerous times he faked his death and made financial con schemes, which led him to be imprisoned in European prisons and to be expelled from Venice, Florence, and Poland.
In the 18th century, the lawsuit of Dutch companies came to the start of court proceedings against him. The indecisiveness of the Venetian government almost brought the Dutch navy to the Venetian lagoon, and only through the mediation of France and Austria was the war between the two republics prevented, the war that could have been conditioned by the unexpected scams of Zanović.
The most important work was "Turska pisma" or Turkish Letters (Lettere turche, original title) by Stefano Zannowich, first published in Dresden in 1776. With the latest research and study, Zannowich's work now belongs to the genre of epistolary novel, a form especially prevalent in the Age of Enlightenment.