Learn about the Swedish doctor and writer who turned the site of an ancient Roman villa into his expansive home with terraced gardens and archeological relics from the past 3,000 years.
Explore Villa San Michele, a late 19th-century cliff-top home full of Roman, Etruscan and Greek artifacts. The villa houses an extensive collection of statues, mosaics and relics from antiquity to the early 20th century. The remarkable items were collected by Swedish doctor and writer Axel Munthe, who settled in Capri in 1887.
The large manor house was designed by Munthe to be open to the sea and sky, like a Greek temple. It was built on the ruins of a 2,000-year-old Roman villa and overlooks the Bay of Naples.
See more than 1,000 objects in marble, stone, terracotta, wood, textiles and metal. The relics cover subjects such as dying and nature, but are not grouped in any thematic way.
Go on a self-guided tour of the property and its grounds. Many of the villa’s rooms contain dozens of pieces. Admire the white marble Medusa’s head in Munthe’s studio. See the replica of a Roman mosaic on the floor of the dining room. Investigate the doctor’s bedroom with its 15th-century wrought iron bed and marble relief of the Roman god Apollo.
Step out into the garden with its magnificent views over the Bay of Naples, Sorrento and Mount Vesuvius. Walk along the terraces and look for the Greek tomb, ancient pots and columns among the camellias, azaleas and roses. Have your photo taken next to the black-granite Egyptian sphinx. The garden also contains the remains of the Roman villa. You’ll see the remnants of a small bedroom, called a cubiculum. Study the wall paintings and note the raised section of floor where a bed may have been placed.
During the summer, the garden is the setting for a series of weekly classical music concerts that take place at sunset. For program details and ticket prices check out the villa’s official website.
Situated in Anacapri, the art, history and music of Villa San Michele are a short walk from the town’s main square. The house and its grounds are open daily and admission charges apply.