One of the great poets of English Romanticism, John Keats published his first book of poetry at the age of 21. Now, 200 years later, his vivacious and powerful wordsmithery still rings true. Having originally trained as a surgeon in London, Keats gave up medicine and pursued his long-standing love for poetry with an unwavering dedication until he contracted tuberculosis at the age of 25.
Under doctors’ orders, Keats travelled to Rome in search of a dose of winter sunshine to ease his tuberculosis, where he spent the final four months of his life in a rented apartment overlooking Piazza di Spagna. The whimsical streets around the Spanish Steps had attracted many English artists and writers as well as wealthy aristocrats who flocked to the Eternal City during their Grand Tours of Europe. To mark the 200th anniversary of Keats’ death we thought we would take you on our very own Grand Tour of Rome.
Hotel de la Ville atop the Spanish Steps
Perfectly placed to begin your tour, our elegant 18th-century palazzo, Hotel de la Ville, sits perched above the Spanish Steps, just a stone’s throw from where Keats rented his apartment, in a peerless position embodying and overlooking life in the Eternal City. Fall for its enchanting courtyard and an exquisite menu crafted by renowned Italian chef Fulvio Pierangelini.
Keats-Shelley Memorial House
5-minute stroll down the Spanish Steps
Pay homage to the great poet with a visit to his humble abode. The apartment where Keats stayed has been converted into an intimate museum, lined with extraordinary memorabilia including a lock of Keats’ hair and heart-felt messages from Romantic poetry lovers. A haven for historians, the library references the works of Keats alongside the likes of Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth and Wilde.
Pompeo Batoni's Studio, 25, Via Bocca di Leone
5-minute walk from the Piazza di Spagna
Portrait painter Pompeo Batoni’s bold yet flattering brushwork attracted affluent customers in droves, and from the late 1750s his portraits became the height of fashion. Stroll past the grand house on Via Bocca di Leone, which would have been abuzz with artists, writers and English nobles all keen to capture their brilliance on canvas.
The Vatican Museums
30-minute walk from Pompeo Batoni’s Studio
The world-renowned Vatican Museums sit within the Vatican City itself, home to an impressive collection of 54 galleries showcasing some of the world’s most famous artworks. Grand Tourists would beeline to the Belvedere Courtyard to admire the statues of Apollo, the Laocoon and Antinous, while modern day tourists have become fixated by Michelangelo's paintings stretching across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
The Roman Colosseum
12 minutes by car from Hotel de la Ville
The city’s striking Colosseum has been a main attraction in Rome since its construction in 70-80 AD. The vast oval structure is the largest standing amphitheatre in the world, and a magnificent sight to behold from all angles. Nowadays, much more of the building is accessible to visitors than it would have been in the 1700s.
The Roman Forum
10 minutes by car from Hotel de la Ville
Nestled amongst the ancient ruins of the former government buildings, the grand Roman Forum stands between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum and was a thriving hub of social and political discussion, surrounded by bustling market stalls. During the “Grand Tour” era, the majority of the site had not been fully excavated and it was not until the 19th century that larger areas of the site were unearthed.
13 minutes by car from Hotel de la Ville
Perched across from the Palazzo dei Conservatori, the Capitoline Museum was considered equally as impressive as the Vatican Museums. Among the spectacular antique sculptures and bronzes, one of the highlights of the collection is the bronze depiction of Camillus and the Spinario.
Our dedicated Concierge team will be delighted to help you book flexible escapes to look forward to in 2021. Enquire by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +39 06 977 931.