Of great historical, artistic, landscape and literary interest, the home/museum that formerly belonged to Swedish author/psychiatrist Axel Munthe, author of the book “The Story of San Michele” (1929), is the most visited site on the isle of Capri (along with the Blue Grotto).

Axel Munthe built his home on a site that he purchased in 1895, overlooking the sea at one of the most panoramic points on the island, with a host of significant structures in the vicinity: an imperial Roman villa, a medieval chapel dedicated to San Michele, and a typical Capri-style house. The complex is an admirable synthesis of architecture and landscape: Roman and Gothic elements blend with features from the Capri vernacular tradition, as may be seen from the refined atrium with an impluvium, the atrium with a cubiculum overlooking the gulf, as well as pergolas raised on columns, precious artefacts and copies of ancient works. The garden’s simple layout is characterized by two main straight paths, a cypress-lined avenue, and the pergola on columns. Two open spaces – the ambulatory looking out to sea and the garden itself – mediate the transition from the artifice of the buildings to the surrounding Mediterranean maquis. The garden is planted not just with flora from the Mediterranean landscape but species from other parts of the world, including the rare Kochia saxicola. Acanthus, myrtle, broom and cistus grow spontaneously among the vases, amphorae and artistic objects, in the shade of pines, cypresses and palms. As the year progresses, camellias, hydrangeas, roses, cinerarias, azaleas, wisteria and agapanthus bloom in turn. Forced to return to his homeland because of an eye disease, upon his death in 1949 Munthe left the villa to the Swedish State; today, it is owned by a Foundation that has converted it into a museum, where among other things, during the summer, evocative classical chamber music concerts are staged.