'The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.' So wrote the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) in the preface to his poem Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats (July, 1821).
Keats died in Rome on February 23rd, 1821, and was buried in what was then commonly called the Cimitero dei Protestanti or even the Cimitero degli Inglesi. Little more than a year later, following his death by drowning off the Tuscan coast, Shelley joined his friend and fellow poet in the Cimitero Acattolico di Roma (Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome), to give the place its proper name.
The small cemetery stands in the shadow of the ancient Pyramid of Gaius Cestius
(c. 12-18 BCE).
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 walking tours of Rome.
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