Keats and Shelley, two great names in the firmament of English poetry, were both in love with Italy, the country where they came to spend time and find further inspiration and happiness under its sun and sweet climate. Sadly neither returned to their home country.
Shelley drowned at sea in the Gulf of La Spezia in 1822 aged 30 and is buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome and Keats who arrived in 1821 died four months later also in Rome. Keats’s Roman apartment situated on the Spanish steps, became this adorable Museum in the centre of Rome dedicated to the English Art of Poetry: the Keats and Shelley museum.
It has been run by a series of curators who have continued to expand the long lived love between English and Italian Art. Both Batsheba Ashby from the Victoria & Albert Museum followed by Giuseppe Albano have run the museum in the latter years, both well versed in the cultures of our two countries. Here they have maintained the fire which glows for English Poetry in Rome. Doctor Albano will come to speak to us about the museum, which he maintains continuing the dedication to English poetry under the sun its origin and its inhabitants.
Keats and Shelley Museum Interior
P.za di Spagna. Spanish steps
P.za di Spagna & La Barcaccia, famous baroque fountain
When Keats arrived in Rome in November 1820, he was already desperately ill with tuberculosis. On the urging of friends and doctors who had hoped that the warmer climate would improve his health, James Clark, Keats’s Scottish doctor, found him and his companion Joseph Severn an apartment in Rome where they were to spend the next four months and where Keats died at the young age of twenty-five. This very apartment is now known as the Keats-Shelley Memorial House and remains virtually unchanged since Keats’s death.
John Keats’s mask
Prices: Members: £16; Friends: £20; Guests: £22 to include a glass of wine