The Keats - Shelley House
Piazza di Spagna, 26, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
|⏰ Opening Hours
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
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What is Keats-Shelley Memorial House?
Imagine stepping through a doorway that leads you back in time to an era where two of the world’s most celebrated English Romantic poets once found inspiration. Nestled beside the iconic Spanish Steps in Rome, the Keats-Shelley Memorial House is a shrine to the memory of John Keats, who lived and died in this very apartment. It's not just a historical building; it's a sanctuary that celebrates the lives, works, and legacies of Keats and his contemporary Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their fellow Romantic poets.
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As I gently guide you through its rooms, you'll feel the vibrant synergy of art, history, and poetry. This museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and personal belongings of Keats and his friends, among them the likes of Lord Byron and Leigh Hunt, painting a vivid picture of their creative existence amidst the charm of 19th-century Rome.
History of Keats-Shelley Memorial House
The year was 1820 when John Keats, in the hopes of improving his health in Rome's milder climate, took residence in this house. Tragically, his life was cut short due to tuberculosis, and he died here in 1821, at the tender age of 25. The poetic brilliance that Keats had shown was immense, and his untimely demise stirred a wave of emotion and reverence within the literary world.
After Keats's death, the house shared varied fortunes until 1906 when it was threatened with demolition. It was then that a group of dedicated Anglo-American fundraisers, moved by a shared love for Keats and the Romantic poets, secured the house to preserve it for posterity. Officially becoming a museum in 1909, the Keats-Shelley Memorial House now stands as a testament to the rich cultural and historical connections between Italy and the British literary heritage.
Why is Keats-Shelley Memorial House Important?
The importance of the Keats-Shelley Memorial House goes far beyond its function as a museum. It's a beacon of literary history, immortalizing a period where the echo of Romantic poetry influenced not just literature, but the broader cultural mores of the time. For enthusiasts of literature, it holds an irreplaceable collection of first editions, rare books, and original manuscripts that hark back to an age of profound artistic flourish.
Furthermore, as the final abode of John Keats, the house captures the poignancy of his life and the enduring beauty of his art. Visitors can almost hear the whispers of Keats's verses as they wander through the rooms, and for many, this connection is a deeply moving encounter. The house also underscores the shared cultural exchanges between Britain and Italy, showcasing a tangible piece of history where world-class literature met the soulful Italian lifestyle.
Things to Do & See at Keats-Shelley Memorial House
Upon entering the Keats-Shelley Memorial House, one is swept into a world where the spirits of Romanticism are tangible. You’ll have the chance to visit Keats's bedroom, preserved as it was during his final days, complete with the very bed in which he rested. Viewing the poignant death mask of Keats, displayed among his personal belongings, is an encounter that remains with visitors long after they leave.
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Beyond this intimate space, the museum boasts a remarkable collection including original manuscripts and works from not only Keats and Shelley, but also their contemporaries. There is an impressive library that will catch your eye with rare editions and a collection of letters written by these literary giants, offering an unparalleled peek into their thoughts and lives.
For those interested in the impressions of Italy upon these English Romantics, there's no shortage of artworks and relics within the house that depict the country's influence on their work. Seasonally, the museum hosts various temporary exhibitions, literary events, and educational programs that connect the past with the present, inspiring a new generation of poets and writers. As you engage with this living piece of history, you'll find that the essence of Romanticism is not just remembered here but is very much alive.