Villa San Michele, the things that make a home
Villa San Michele, in Capri, in the province of Naples, was designed and built by Swedish psychiatrist Axel Munthe. In 1895, he bought the ruins of an ancient chapel and renovated it turning into his home.
The English artist and writer William Morris, one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts movement, formulated this golden rule: «Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful». A visit to Villa San Michele is an opportunity to see the astounding number of objects that its owner considered both useful and beautiful.
The garden is scattered with statues and marble sculptures enveloped by climbing plants and moss; under the porticoes facing the two different blue shades of the sky and the sea, and in the rooms inside the house, objects made of stone, mosaic, terracotta, metal and ceramics are grouped in what appears to be a casual manner – when in reality each item reminded the collector specifically of a fragment of his existence.
The villa-museum showcases almost 1,700 handmade objects from all times – from Egyptian, Etruscan and Roman antiquity to the XX century – and from all over the world, from Scandinavia to Russia.
Munthe told the story of how this work of art came to life in a widely popular book published in 1929, “The story of San Michele”.
A story that continues in this corner of paradise, looking onto the sea.