The Story of San Michele, by Axel Munthe (London: John Murray, 2004; and earlier editions)
Book and place come together in Anacapri on the Isle of Capri. In The Story of San Michele, Axel Munthe blends memoir and Italian history to tell the story of the villa he built there. Munthe purchased the ancient Roman site in 1895. Serving as his own architect, Munthe built a home that “opens freely toward the sky, the ocean and all of nature….” Today, visitors are invited to explore the museum, gardens, and nature reserve. The Swedish cultural site is open everyday -- May to September, 9:00 to 6:00; October, 9:00 to 5:00; November to February, 9:00 to 3:30; March, 9:00 to 4:30; and April, 9:00 to 5:00. For additional information, visit the Villa San Michele website.
“’San Michele, San Michele!’ echoed in my heart. In the vineyard below the chapel stood a old man digging deep furrows in the soil for the new vines. ‘Buon giorno, Mastro Vincenzo!’ The vineyard was his and so was the little house close by, he had built it all with his own hands, mostly with stones and bricks of the Roba di Timberio that was strewn all over the garden. Maria Porta-Lettere told him all she knew about me and Mastro Vincenzo invited me to sit down in his garden and have a glass of win. I looked at the little house and chapel. My heart began to beat so violently that I could hardly speak.” – from The Story of San Michele, by Axel Munthe