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5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair | CosmosMariners.com
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Italy is best known for its incredible food, rich history, and distinctive architecture. However, this sun-soaked European country has also been beloved by writers--both from Italy and elsewhere--for centuries. If you're looking to add some literary history into your upcoming Italian vacation, you'll want to make sure that you visit these incredible spots!


Rome

After you tour the Colosseum and the Pantheon, set aside some time to see why this city was such a magnet for Romantic era poets and writers.

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair | CosmosMariners.com
Keats-Shelley House
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-At the foot of the Spanish steps, you'll find the Keats-Shelley House, where John Keats spent his last months while fighting tuberculosis. His close friend, Percy Bysshe Shelley, lived with him here.

-Head over to the Protestant Cemetery to pay your respects to John Keats; his grave is one of the most visited ones in the cemetery, and Irish writer Oscar Wilde even wrote a poem to it.

-Soak in the atmosphere of the English Quarter, which was called home by a swath of writers, including George Eliot, Hans Christian Anderson, Nathaniel Hawthorne (who set his novel Marble Faun in Rome after living there), and Charles Dickens.

-Follow in the footsteps of Henry James, who adored Rome and lived here for a 14-month stretch in the late 1860s. Read his thoughts on the city in his essay "The After-Season in Rome" as you wander from St. Peter's to St. Paul's Gate to the Villa Borghese.

-Tour Goethe's House (Casa di Goethe), where the German writer lived with painter Johann Tischbein from 1786-1788.

Verona

Although there's no concrete evidence that Shakespeare visited Verona in person, his famous romance (featuring that star-crossed couple Romeo and Juliet) still draws thousands of visitors to this Northern Italy city. Shakespeare also set another play here: Two Gentlemen of Verona, but it can't quite match the fervor created by R+J.

Shakespeare wasn't the first to trod the road that was the Romeo and Juliet story: he based his play on a well-known novel, which was, in turn, based on a long-standing European legend of lovers from warring families. In some of the legends, the families are Guelfis and Ghebellinis; in others, they are the Montecchis and Capuletis. Thus, many of the places that you can visit are historical best guesses based on local legends and documentation of warring families here.

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair | CosmosMariners.com
The famed balcony at Casa di Guilleta
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-At the Casa di Guilleta (Juliet's House), you can see the famed balcony on which Juliet supposedly stood as she pondered the cutie she'd seen at her most recent party. Since the actual Juliet is a bit of a historical question mark, you'll have to use your imagination as you re-enact that famous scene.

-Juliet's tomb is located inside the monastery of San Francesco al Corso; historians believe this may be the tragic heroine's final resting place as this monastery was the only one within the walled city of Verona at the end of the 13th century, which is when many believe the original story to have taken place.

-In the center of Verona is Romeo's House, which dates back to the 13th century. Tradition holds that this property once belonged to the Montecchi (or Montegue) family.

Venice

You probably know this Italian town for its canals and gondolas. Like Rome, Venice attracted many Romantic era writers, though that was far from the only time that the city captured literary imagination. Many famous writers called this city home, including Robert Browning (who died here), Lord Byron, Henry James (who set Wings of the Dove in the city), and Ernest Hemingway (who set set his novel Across the River and into the Trees here).

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair | CosmosMariners.com
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-Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice is set here. While Jewish moneylender Shylock isn't based on any particular history character, he is indicative of the severe restrictions and abuse that the Jewish community experienced in Venice in the 16th century. Wander through the Venetian Ghetto while you read Shylock's famous "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" speech--words that still ring true five hundred years later.

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair | CosmosMariners.com
Hotel Danieli
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-Head over to the Danieli, a posh hotel that has hosted the likes of Marcel Proust (who visited Venice in the early 1900s), Charles Dickens, Salman Rushdie, and Truman Capote.

Sardinia

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair | CosmosMariners.com
Baunei, Sardinia
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This small island off of Italy's west coast draws visitors in with its beautiful blue waters and powdery white sand beaches. The area's stunning beauty has inspired a new wave of literary contributions in the form of the Sardinian Literary Spring. Beginning in the 1980s, this movement was started by a trio of authors: Guilio Angioni (Flames of Toledo), Sergio Atzeni (Bellas Mariposas), and Salvatore Mannuzzu (Procedura).

Florence

If you love the Florence Cathedral, the Galleria dell'Accademia, and the Uffizi Gallery, you're in good company. From the beginnings of Italian literature, this city has inspired literary masters in a variety of genres. The son of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, and Percy Bysshe Shelley was born here (Percy Florence Shelley), poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning died here, and Dostoevsky lived here for a year from 1868-1869.

5 Italian Vacation Spots with Literary Flair | CosmosMariners.com
Dante's House
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-Dante, the 14th century author of the Divine Comedy, lived and worked here; he was one of the first poets to write exclusively in Italian instead of the standard Latin. Visit the Sasso di Dante, where he supposedly loved to sit and write, then tour Casa di Dante on Via Dante Aligheri (Dante's a big deal in Florence still!). Don't forget to peek inside the Bargello, which was once the city headquarters of Florence; it was here that Dante's banishment was announced.

-Machiavelli, the author of The Prince, and the father of modern day political rhetoric, was born in Florence and lived much of his life in the city. When he died, he was buried in a tomb in Church of Santa Croce.


Whether you're looking for ways to add some literary flair into cheap holidays or if you're planning to splash out on a luxurious Italian getaway, this beautiful European country has plenty to offer any book lover.

Have you visited Italy? Which of these authors would you be most interested in learning about? What parts of Italy would you like to see?

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