The Keats Shelly House in Rome is the perfect locale for literature lovers and creatives. This tiny, quaint museum is situated right at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in the heart of the bustling shopping district of Rome.
In fact, many people who visit the Spanish Steps have little clue that upon the doorstep of this often very crowded hotspot is a small museum – a place to escape the crowded staircase and popular passagata street of via del Corso.
The Keats Shelly House is one of intrigue and wonder. The house, overlooking the incredible outdoor staircase of the Spanish Steps, comprises little furniture – only the fundamental basics every writer deems important – books, bookshelves and a cozy, welcoming atmosphere of course. This is a museum that takes the visitor back to a time when poetry and love of literature were the order of the day.
Keats (of British origin), was fascinated by Italy and the allure of arts, culture and the country’s rich history, as with many other romantic poets and writers. In fact, Keats passed away in this house in 1821 at the tender age of 25 during a journey to the country. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and never recovered.
Keats was buried in the Non-Catholic Cemetery near the Pyramid of Testaccio in Rome, alongside many other writers from Italy itself and across the globe. This is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world today.
The Keats Shelly House is tangible proof of Keats’ life and love for literature. Explore wooden bookshelf after bookshelf of classic texts comprising over 8000 volumes, making it the largest Romantic literature collection in the world. You’ll also learn of Keats’ relationship with other writers during his lifetime, including Shelly, Byron, Hunt, Munthe and Polidori.
During the off-season the Keats Shelly House is one of the most pleasant spots in Rome. You can observe the Spanish Steps from Keats’ bedroom window, sit down on the chairs available in the library and read Keats’ poetry, or merely move from picture frame to picture frame, exploring objects belonging to Keats and his writer friends at that time.
One of my favourite spots in the Keats Shelly House in Rome is no doubt Keats’ bedroom. There is something magical about looking out of the window and observing passersby’s on the Spanish Steps, hearing the faded hum of voices outside and watching the sun cast yellow glowing shadows in the spaces between the terracotta-colored Roman buildings.
As a writer, this for me is a spot to observe, and take in the hustle and bustle all around yet still maintain the tranquility and distance needed to think and be creative. It is a great vantage point indeed.
How to Get to the Keats Shelly House in Rome
Take the metro to the Spagna stop. As you emerge walk down via del Corso towards the Spanish Steps tourist attraction (as indicated on most tourist maps). The Keats Shelly House is situated on the right-hand side of the staircase (at the very bottom). The address is Piazza di Spagna 26, 00187 Rome, Italy.