This is a preview of the content in our Venice Art & Culture app. Get the app to:
  • Read offline
  • Remove ads
  • Access all content
  • Use the in-app Map to find sites, and add custom locations (your hotel...)
  • Build a list of your own favourites
  • Search the contents with full-text search functionality
  • ... and more!
iOS App Store Google Play

Byron goes swimming

Venice makes him a new man

Portrait of Lord Byron, by Thomas Phillips

Like lime (or linden) blossoms, Venice tends to relax the mind, or at least the logical centres; this is especially true in the minds of those who, like the rascally Aretino, ‘live by the sweat of their ink’. Many authors have written their worst books about the city (including Hemingway and Muriel Spark).

But, on certain metabolisms, linden blossoms have the opposite effect, stimulating rather than relaxing the brain. Doctors of literature could call it the ‘Byron syndrome’ and study the symptoms from the poet’s arrival in 1816, his heart full of romance as he rented a villa on the Brenta Canal to compose the last canto of his Childe Harolde’s Pilgrimage. Venice checks in here as a ‘fairy city of the heart’.

She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
Rising with her tiara of proud towers
At airy distance, with majestic motion
A ruler of the waters and their powers.

Read the full content in the app
iOS App Store Google Play

History and Anecdotes


Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by PD Art