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Bicentenario della morte di Lord Byron

Lord Byron Contemplating the Colosseum (c) Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archive

To commemorate the bicentenary of the death of the poet Lord Byron, the Embassy hosted an event on 21 February to showcase his works and his love for Italy, where he lived for eight years. He learned Italian fluently and praised the country for its “fatal beauty”.

The event was organised in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in London and the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, whose aim is to preserve and promote the literary heritage of British artists of the Romantic period who had links with Italy. There were readings by Simon Armitage, the British poet laureate, who has translated timeless classics such as The Odyssey; Scarlett Sabet, a poet who has published four anthologies; and Fabrizio Matteini, an Italian actor. They gave readings, in English and Italian, of works composed in honour of Byron, highlighting the historic and cultural links between the poet and Italy.

A terra cruda bust of Byron was displayed, loaned for the occasion by Sir Ivor Roberts, former British ambassador to Rome and president of the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association. A rare first edition of the celebrated Byron’s autobiography, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, published in 1818, was also on display, loaned by the Travellers Club in London.