Villa San Michele is a classic dream home, owned by Axel Munthe, a world-renowned doctor, and writer was built at the end of the 19th century at the highest and most panoramic point of the Italian island of Capri.
Munthe was the son of a pharmacist from the Swedish province and became the personal doctor of Queen Victoria of Sweden. He devoted much of his life to building this magnificent villa and his enchanted garden.
At that time, the gardens of Capri were rich in finds from the Roman villas that surfaced everywhere from the ground. It often happened that the local farmers offered them as a gift to the famous doctor, who added them to his already rich collection of finds from the Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian periods, collected on his travels around the world.
Among the most evocative works of art that can be admired in this evocative villa, full of frescoes and Roman sculptures, the Egyptian Sphinx, epoch Ramsete II, XIII century B.C., and the head of Medusa (here below) that adorned the temple of Venus in Rome are certainly noteworthy.
It is said that if you make a wish by placing your left hand on the Sphinx while admiring the sea of Capri, that wish will come true.
Villa San Michele is a riot of art, culture, and nature, it presents the features of the architecture of a Roman Domus with an internal courtyard and atrium, while the long vaulted pergola is typical of the Capri villas of the time. “A house open to the sun, the wind and the voices of the sea and … lights everywhere” was described by Axel Munthe.
The villa and the garden are connected by a loggia with sculptures, which frames a breathtaking landscape in an enchanting way. In this scenario, the successful doctor hosted the highest representatives of the European aristocracy and the royal houses, in addition to the most famous intellectuals of the time.
Axel Munthe’s property comprises eight buildings, the oldest being over a thousand years old, the most recent being built around the middle of the 20th century.
Munthe was also a renowned writer, the book named “La Storia di San Michele“, which tells of the construction of the villa, became one of the major international best-sellers of the contemporary era and one of the most translated books in the world.
An open and tolerant man, he was in many respects a precursor to his time, in fact, he dealt with issues such as women’s health and environmental protection.
The famous writer and philanthropist donated this magnificent property in Italy to the Swedish state, immersed in the heart of the Mediterranean.
By the will of the testator, Villa San Michele should have become a privileged place for Swedish cultural professionals, scientists, and university students. An ideal home to weave relationships and carry out activities that keep relations between Sweden and Italy alive.
Axel Munthe was a man truly capable of dreaming and realizing his dreams.