Rome was a popular stop for artists and writers during the Italian Grand Tour of centuries past. The Keats-Shelley House pays homage to a particular group of Romantic poets—specifically John Keats, who briefly lived in the house at the end of his life—who resided in Italy’s Eternal City during the early 19th century.
English poet John Keats moved into this house at the base of the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna in late 1820, and died from tuberculosis here just a few months later. While the objects in his room were burned after he died, a replica of his bed and his death mask are now on display. The rest of this small museum contains letters, art, and other objects related to Byron, Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Oscar Wilde, and Percy Bysshe Shelley (whose name is on the house, though he never lived here). The historic site is managed by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, which often holds literary events in English at the museum.
Rome walking and bike tours that include a stop in Piazza di Spagna can include a visit to the Keats-Shelley House, as well as other city highlights like the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Keats-Shelley House is an especially interesting attraction for English literature and poetry buffs.
- The museum’s gift shop sells English-language books and objects related to Romantic poetry.
- You must leave large bags in the entrance.
- Photography is allowed without flash.
- Though the museum is accessible to wheelchairs inside, there are stairs to reach the entrance. Contact the museum to arrange for transportation up the stairs.
How to Get There
The Keats-Shelley House is at in Piazza di Spagna, on the right side of the base of the Spanish Steps. It is easily reached from metro line A’s Spagna stop.
When to Get There
The museum is open 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm Monday to Saturday; it is closed Sunday as well as December 8 and December 24 through January 1. It’s busiest from Easter to October, when you should plan to arrive first thing in the morning to explore before the crowds arrive.
Keats lived in the Rome house with artist friend Joseph Severn, whose portraits of the poet hang in various places around the museum.