Guide to Literary Rome

A guide to Literary Rome and the famous writers both Italian & Foriegn who made Rom their home over the centuries. Famous writers include Shelley, Byron, Keats and the famous English Ghetto which is now known as the Spanish Steps area of Rome.


The Piazza di Spagna, was known locally by the Romans for many years as the "English Ghetto". A place where visiting writers from around the globe and particularly England called their home. At No. 26 we find the house where John Keats lived for a few months before dying from tuberculosis. In the Keats-Shelley Memorial house there is a collection of documents concerning the English Romantic poets, such as Percy Bysshe Shelly and George Byron. 

The nearby Antico Cafe Greco, located at Via Condotti 86, was a famous stop for Italian and foreign artists. Founded in 1760 by Nicola della Maddalena, a Greek, the cafe achieved fame later when it began to serve a better coffee, served in small cups. Amongst some of its famous clientele were Liszt, Gounod, Stendhal, Heine, Wagner, Twain, Gogol, and D'Annunzio.

In Via del Corso 18, you'll find the Goethe Museum, set up in rooms of a boarding house. Casa Moscatelli, was where the poet stayed in Rome. When Goethe left Rome after his second visit in 1788 he declared "Leaving this capital of the world, of which I have been a citizen for so long, and without hopes of returning, gives a feeling that cannot be expressed in words. No one, except those who have felt it, can understand it".

Behind the Pyramid of Cestius, is the Protestant cemetery, the final resting place for non-catholic foreigners who died in Rome since the late 18th century. There are numerous tombs including that of Keats, with the simple epitaph " Here lies one whose name was write in water", and the tomb of Goethe's only son, born from the poets affair with Christiane Vulpius.

In the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, you'll find the study centre on the Roman poet and journalist Carlo Alberto Palustri, better known as Trilussa. Another important Roman literary figure was Guisseppe Belli, the city's greatest bard, who was born in 1791 and died in 1863. he is buried in Verano cemetery.

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