Ravenna

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Shelley Sites/Sights

Ravenna

In August 1821, Shelley spent ten days visiting Byron, who was comfortably ensconced in a lavish suite of apartments in the Palazzo Guiccioli. (The Ravenna palazzo was the property of the Count Guiccioli, whose wife Teresa was Byron's mistress.) The place swarmed with an eclectic menagerie of humans and animals—Shelley counted among the latter "two monkeys, five cats, eight dogs . . . ten horses . . . an eagle, a crow, and a falcon." All except the horses, he noted, "walk about the house, which every now and then resounds with their unarbitrated quarrels" (cited in Holmes's Shelley: The Pursuit, 664-5). Today, the palace houses offices on a busy pedestrian walkway; it is currently in some disrepair but was undergoing restoration when we visited.
Although the gardens are overgrown and the plaster chipped and peeling, one can still get a sense of how luxurious the Palazzo Guiccioli must have been.
Nearby is the Capuchin convent of Bagnacavallo, where Byron sent his daughter Allegra, and the lovely hill-town of Fossonbrone, which Shelley visited in 1822.

Published @ RC

January 2006