In 1820 at the age of 25, the poet John Keats left for Rome. He had tuberculosis and his doctors hoped that the Italian sun would provide a cure. But Keats, in love with Fanny Brawne, kept postponing the trip. Soon he started coughing up blood and knew it was time to go. But not before exchanging locks of hair with Fanny. A true romantic.
Keats was accompanied by his close friend, portrait painter, Joseph Severn. They rented lodgings in a tiny room facing Piazza di Spagna. Here Severn nursed his friend devotedly. It was a heart-breaking experience, he wrote home. Keats was in so much pain that he would often cry when he’d wake up still alive.
Keats died in his Roman room on 23 February 1821. His last request was to be placed under a tombstone with no date or date. All he wanted written on his tomb was "Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water."
Keats is buried at the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.
Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Rome