2021 marks the seventh centenary of the death of Italy's greatest poet, Dante Alighieri, and by a strange coincidence two of the best loved poets in the English language also have special commemorations in 2021 and 2022. Both John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley died in Italy within a year of one another two hundred years ago, and their remains are enshrined in the Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Rome, near the Cestia Pyramid at Porta San Paolo.
John Keats died on the 23rd February 1821 in what was once a cheap guest house on the Spanish Steps in Rome – now converted into the Keats-Shelley Memorial House, which has welcomed many illustrious visitors like Richard Gear, J.K. Rowling, Prince Charles, and most recently, Bob Geldof. Curator Giuseppe Albano affirms:“It never ceases to amaze me just how much love (Keats) inspires in visitors to the Keats Shelley House...in 200 years after his death Keats' poetry has never been more alive or more loved.”
His fellow poet Shelley died the following year in a boating accident off the coast of Lerici. His friends cremated him on the beach, but his ashes were brought to Rome and repose in the same cemetery.
Despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid epidemic, both the Memorial House and the Non-Catholic Cemetery have planned a full programme of commemorative events in cooperation with the Poetry Society and the Keats House in Hampstead, London. Special initiatives include a virtual guided tour of the Memorial House and the video “The Death of Keats”, narrated by Bob Geldof. Premiere on the 23rd February on YouTube. For information on other events contact:
Info: KS House Tel.+39.06.6784235 www. ksh.roma.it
Cemetery Tel.+39.06.5741900 www.cemeteryrome.it