Byron’s passionate Ravenna

George Gordon Noel Byron, better known as Lord Byron, was an english poet ad politician who spent his life crossing Europe, where he had several sons and found the inspiration to write some of the most important texts of english romanticism.
Contrary to what one could expect from an english romantic poet who has been cripple since he was born, the english Lord lived an eventful and interesting life marked by various scandal, reported homosexuality, adventurous travels and so, so many women (or so he told).



Lord Byron was born into poverty, with a birth defect that made him cripple. His situation changed after the death of his uncle, from which he inherited the title of Lord and, at the same time, all his debt. However, his title offered him the chance to attend the Capital’s salons and to mantain relations with London’s rich ladies, sometimes for love, sometimes to pay off all his debt.

Like most intellectuals of that time Byron made the Grand Tour, travelling for more than a year through Europe and then coming back to England where he married a rich heiress to hide an incestuous relation whit a cousin, the marriage ended soon also due to the poet’s bisexuality. After the divorce Byron left England again and went to Belgium, then he visited the Shelley in Switzerland and lastly he reached Milan and Venice.

In Venice, paradoxically, began Byron’s experience in Ravenna. Here he met Teresa, wife of the rich conte Guccioli, and began a relationship with her until he became his “errant knave” (an official and public mistress). The presence of Byron was well-accepted by Ravenna’s people: besides writing and wandering Byron entered soon the “carboneria” and was involved in the planning of an insurrection against the foreign occupation. But his activity in the “carboneria” had some negative effects for Byron: the english poet was denounced by conte Guccioli as subversive in exchange for some tax advantages  and was forced to run away. Lord Byron has sailed from Genova to Greece, where he joined the independence movement and later died of fever leaving his masterpiece, “the Don Juan”, unfinished.

During his stay in Ravenna Byron wrote some of his most famous texts: Caino, Marin Falier, Sardanapalus, The two Foscari, and some extracts of Don Juan, the Prophecy of Dante and the Lamento del Tasso. Unfortunately no one of his manuscripts was left in Ravenna, however the Biblioteca Classense hosts some heirlooms of the love story between Byron and Teresa.



Byron lived an unusual life, if you would like to know more about his history and the history of Ravenna do not hesitate to contact me and book a personalised tour for you!

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