San Terenzo: Villa Shelley
The Gulf of Poets historically has always been a very popular holiday destination with great men of letters: at San Terenzo, Patrizio and Zoe visit Villa Shelley, once “Villa Magni”, which changed its name in 1822 in honour of Mary and Percy Shelley, regular guests for various summers ... until Percy Shelley drowned through an accident precisely in the Gulf of Lerici. Lord Byron too was an assiduous frequenter, it seems that he swam across the gulf, from Lerici to Porto Venere!
Once the villa was a monastery, then Marquis Ollandini (called “The Madman”) turned it into a noble residence, giving it a very northern look. The garden, converted from the monks’ vegetable garden to the park of the villa, today is a public park. Once the residence looked directly out on the sea and the Shelleys kept their boat at the entrance, ready to go out in the Gulf. It is well-known that Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein” in Switzerland, but she also dedicated 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” ... Percy instead 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”
A visit to Villa Shelley is a must for all yachters that land at San Terenzo, you will feel as if you were reliving early nineteenth-century Romanticism!