Trinità dei Monti. Keats and Shelley House, a small apt. in the most famous staircases of the world. But let’s imagine Rome at that time, less than 200.000 people – Naples was much more populated – carriages in the streets, and an old lady living alone and making ends meet in renting her place.

When we enter this hidden place, it’s a hot day of July 2021. Atmosphere in Rome is strange, no tourists around as usual but a white, warm and unbelievably empty staircase, on which Keats’ lovely balcony opens. There was the kitchen there, once, while the library was shared between the lady and the poet.

On the other side, there is Keats’ room, though furniture is a reproduction, except for the refined marbled fireplace, wooden ceiling and floor. The originals were burnt, because of Keats’ disease.

In the library, which now is a reading and exhibition room – recently it hosted “Gusto”, by Nancy Cadogan – there are manuscripts, letters, paintings and memories of Keats, Shelley, Byron and Oscar Wilde, who inherited Keats’ query on aestheticism.

When Italians and English work together and then ask money to Americans, here the result: in 1909, a jewel was born.

Fortunately, the place and its books escaped the second world war because the sign was removed and the books temporary brought to Monte Cassino Abbey.

Today, despite the pandemic, piazza di Spagna wouldn’t have been so charming and beautiful without it.

Credits: Zelda

 

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