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San Terenzo: Villa Shelley

Go back to 19th century Romanticism in the Gulf of the Poets

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The Gulf of Poets has always been a popular holiday destination for the great men of letters. At San Terenzo, for example, you can find the so called Villa Shelley, once Villa Magni. Villa Shelley changed its name in 1822 in honour of Mary and Percy Shelley, regular Summer guests until Percy died drowned for an accident in the Gulf of Lerici.

Lord Byron was a regular guest too, he used to swim across the Gulf, from Lerici to Porto Venere, they say! Once the Villa was a monastery, then Marquis Ollandini (known as The Madman) turned it into a noble residence with a Northern look. The garden was turned from the monks’ vegetable garden into a park, public Today. In the past, the Villa looked out on the sea and the Shelleys used to keep their boat at the entrance, ready to go sailing in the Gulf.

Mary Shelley wrote her most famous novel “Frankenstein” in Switzerland, but she also dedicated several writings and thoughts to this place: “To see the sun setting on this scene, the shining stars, the moon rising was a sight of marvellous beauty”. While Percy wrote: “I, like the swallow of Anacreon, have left my Nile and have migrated here for the summer, in an isolated house opposite the sea and surrounded by the sweet and sublime scenery of the Gulf of La Spezia”.

When in the Gulf area, pay a visit to Villa Shelley, you will feel like a time traveller, back to the early 19th Century Romanticism!

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