The Story of San Michele

Axel Munthe (1857–1949)
The Story of San Michele
New York: Dutton and Co., Inc., 1936

The Story of San Michele by the Swedish physician Axel Munthe tells the story of his love for (old) Capri and the slow building of his villa there, much of it out of Tiberian rubble. Mixed with enchanting pictures (I mean paintings of the mind, not vignettes) of the life there (almost wholly pre-literate), and quite hair-raising stories of plagues and epidemics (he was a doctor, after all) there and especially in Naples. Finnish witches are thrown in gratis, as well as terrifying mothers superior.
The villa is still there, and can with some difficulty be seen. A book to cling to, and read over and over again through one’s life. Happy summer! Here in Florence it’s 105F. God help us all!

Francis O’Neill (member)
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