On July 8th, 1822, less than a month short of his thirtieth birthday, the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in a boating accident in the Mediterranean Sea.
His body was washed ashore ten days later and, in compliance with the quarantine rules of the time, was cremated on the beach at Viareggio (Tuscany), with Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt and Edward Trelawny in attendance. Shelley's ashes were sent to Rome for burial in the city's cemetery for non-Catholics, where his son William (1816-19) was interred.
Shelley's gravestone bears the Latin inscription, Cor Cordium (Heart of Hearts), and, in reference to his death at sea, a few lines from Ariel's song in Shakespeare's The Tempest: 'Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange'.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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