VILLA MAGNI: 16th CENTURY
This villa was property of the Ollandini family and in the spring of 1822 it was rented by Percy Bisshe Shelley and his wife Mary – they lived here until the shipwreck in which the poet drowned. This dramatic episode, together with the frequent journeys of Lord Byron, gave birth to the myth of the Gulf of Poets.
Legend has it that it was built in the 16th Century and it was a convent. After the tragic death of Shelley, the villa became property of the Ollandinis, a family of marquises, and nowadays it is still a private property. On the façade there is a plaque with a quote by the Italian poet Ceccardo Roccatagliata Ceccardi.
The villa, in past, it was isolated by the village of St. Terenzo and it could be reached only from the sea: the house was surrounded from a thick wood and the portico was to peak on the sea. The road which nowadays connects San Terenzo to Lerici was completed in the second half of XIX cent.: the Shelleys chose the house really for this, for its wild charm, to be more “ship” that “house”.
Mary Godwin Shelley, author of the masterpiece Frankenstein, wrote about the house: “Our house, Casa Magni, was close to this village of San Terenzo; the sea came up to the door, a steep hill sheltered it behind”. La hill behind is the hill of Marigola: belonging to the same ownership, in the past Villa Magni it was connected to Villa Marigola from shady and pleasant hilly paths, which Mary described in several letters. Mary still writes: “… The scene was indeed of unimaginable beauty. The bue extent of waters the almost landlocked bay, the near castle of Lerici shutting it in to the east, and distant Portovenere to the west ; the various forms of the precipitous rocks that bound to the beach, over which there was only a winding rugged foothpath towards Lerici and none on the other side”.