Best known for her epic poem Scanderbeide (1623), Margherita Sarrocchi was deeply involved in the intellectual culture of her adopted city of Rome. She engaged in debates over baroque poetics and questions of natural philosophy with writers, scientists and mathematicians, relationships cultivated through the informal salon she held in her home. The gatherings Sarrocchi hosted were a sought-after invitation, described by one observer as “…the meeting place and academy for the best minds in Rome.” Indeed, this unofficial "academy" attracted figures from Tasso and Marino to Federico Cesi, the founder of the Accademia dei Lincei. Among Sarrocchi’s honored guests was Galileo, a newly elected member of the Lincei visiting Rome on the heels of his Sidereus Nuncius (1610). Galileo would later recall warmly the time he had spent there in the company of the mathematician Luca Valerio (Sarrocchi’s former tutor and longtime friend) and "other gentlemen of letters." Sarrocchi underscored these same collegial bonds when she sent greetings to Galileo in Florence from herself, "signor Luca," and "all these gentlemen who made your acquaintance at my home."

After Galileo's departure from Rome, Sarrocchi began a correspondence with him that lasted for approximately one year. The letters exchanged between Sarrocchi and Galileo reveal that, at least for a time, the two shared a mutual respect and admiration that encompassed matters of both science and literature.