Capri Villa San Michele
The marvelous museum in Axel Munthe's dream home, in Anacapri.
Villa San Michele in Anacapri was the dream home of the Swedish physician, Axel Munthe.
Munthe first came to Capri in 1885. He built his villa on the ruins of an ancient Chapel dedicated to San Michele, following a series of sketches made on a wall.
''My house must be open to the sun, to the wind, and the voice of the sea, just like a Greek temple, and light, light, light everywhere!".
The result was a building articulated on various levels: the study is on the first floor, the loggia crosses pergolas and columns to reach a circular viewpoint which looks out across the Bay of Naples. In Villa San Michele a number of ancient artifacts are displayed - objects found by Munthe in Capri, Anacapri and elsewhere, some of which donated by friends. There are fragments of sarcophaguses, busts, Roman paving, marble and columns can be seen. In the garden there is a Greek tomb and a granite Sphinx which gazes out over the whole Island of Capri.
Munthe described the construction of the villa in his bestselling "The Story of San Michele", which has been translated into some 45 languages
With the exception of a few sporadic absences, Munthe lived on Capri for more than 56 years. His love of the island coincided with the growing popularity of Capri and the arrival of rich and famous travelers from all over the world. Today his villa is, together with the Grotta Azzurra, the most visited place on the whole of Capri.
Munthe shared his love of music, animals, and nature with the Swedish queen, Victoria, who spent long periods of her life on Capri for health reasons. Axel Munthe's concern for the birds on the island, which were shot in disastrous numbers, led him to acquire the rights to the Barbarossa Mountain in order to create a sanctuary for migrating birds.
Villa San Michele Museum - useful information
How to get here: from Capri take the bus to Anacapri. Get off at Piazza Vittoria (the main stop), walk up the steps opposite the bus stop and continue along the little lane to the left.
Opening hours: the museum is open 7 days a week, all year round, from 09.00hrs until an hour before sunset.
Ticket: 6 euro