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Worth a visit
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Villa San Michele

Listed under Houses in The Amalfi Coast, Italy.

  • Photo of Villa San Michele
  • Photo of Villa San Michele
  • Photo of Villa San Michele
  • Photo of Villa San Michele
  • Photo of Villa San Michele
Photo of Villa San Michele
Photo by flickr user Sami Keinänen
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A number of Roman villas exist along the south coast of Italy and on the nearby islands, restored and tastefully tweaked into modernity in selected areas to make them inhabitable fantasy realms for the rich and famous (and, more recently, sampling-grounds for visitors who hanker after a genuine taste of the ancient Italy of the imagination), but the Villa San Michele boasts the extra feature of its own beautiful collection of stories.

Axel Munthe, its restorer and resident between 1896 and 1910, was a famous and well-liked Swedish doctor, psychiatrist, philanthropist, proponent of alternative therapies and animal rights activist, and was particularly admired for his fearless attitude when working in war zones and disease-ridden areas. He called celebrated artists, scientists and writers his friends and was a close confidant of royalty, and is more often than not first encountered today via his memoirs, 'The Story of San Michele', a book which, though full of whimsy, celebrities, semi-fiction and pastiche, contains powerful elements of his own strong personality and his love of history, nature and Capri's incredible landscape.

You'll see marvels such as a medieval chapel, a stone head of Medusa, a marble bust of Tiberius, and much of Munthe's own collection of Egyptian and Etruscan pieces as well as Roman treasures – and of course the villa itself, with its classical architecture, romantic Mediterranean gardens and ultramarine views of Capri marina, Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples. See it on a bougainvillea-draped day in Spring, and you won't forget it in a hurry.

Written by  larapiegeler.

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