In anticipation of Writers Between the Covers, on sale October 29, we’re spotlighting literary locales associated with some of the couples featured in the book.
After a whirlwind courtship and a clandestine wedding in 1846, celebrity poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning fled England to escape the reproach of her tyrannical father, who had forbidden her and her siblings ever to marry.
The newlyweds settled in Florence, making their home at Casa Guidi, a grand apartment in a 15th-century palazzo. Elizabeth declared the abode “magnificent” and wrote in a letter, “We have six beautiful rooms and a kitchen, three of them quite palace rooms and opening on a terrace.” For 14 happy years, the Brownings lived, loved, and wrote primarily at Casa Guidi, turning out such works as Elizabeth’s Aurora Leigh and Robert’s Men and Women. The couple’s only child, Pen, was born in the Florentine palazzo, and Elizabeth later died there in her husband’s arms on June 29, 1861.
CHECK INTO CASA GUIDI
Some of Casa Guidi’s elegant rooms have been restored to close approximations of how they appeared during the Brownings’ time, while a modern kitchen and bathrooms were installed in the former servants’ quarters. The apartments are available to rent for most weeks during the year, and certain rooms are open for public viewing on select afternoons.
[Photos © The Landmark Trust]