Foe is going on a city break to Rome next month. Unbelievably, we haven’t been before and, as there's so much to see, I know we'll struggle to fit everything into three days. Of course we're going to visit the 'must-sees' including the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain and Vatican City and we couldn't call ourselves bookish geeks if we didn't tie in some literary highlights along the way.
Top of the list is Keats-Shelley House near the Spanish Steps, this is where Keats lived at the end of his short life before dying of Tuberculosis at just twenty-five. This brings me conveniently on to the Protestant Cemetery near the pyramid of Cestius, where Keats was buried and then became the final resting place for many writers and artists, including poets Shelley and Corso. I expect by then we'll need a rest so where better then to head to the Antico Caffè Greco in the English Quarter where we'll drink coffee where the great Charles Dickens once sat.
Oscar Wilde, “The Grave of Keats” (1881)
RID of the world’s injustice, and his pain, He rests at last beneath God’s veil of blue: Taken from life when life and love were new The youngest of the martyrs here is lain, Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain. No cypress shades his grave, no funeral yew, But gentle violets weeping with the dew Weave on his bones an ever-blossoming chain. O proudest heart that broke for misery! O sweetest lips since those of Mitylene! O poet-painter of our English Land! Thy name was writ in water——it shall stand: And tears like mine will keep thy memory green, As Isabella did her Basil-tree.