Palazzo Chiesa, lungarno Galilei

Rovine di palazzo Chiesa sul lungarno Galilei (L. Corevi, Comune di Pisa)
Rovine di palazzo Chiesa sul lungarno Galilei (L. Corevi, Comune di Pisa)
Here, on the last part of the ruined wall (a wound from the Second World War, never healed) we read, on an epigraph, the name of Percy Bysshe Shelley. The poet, together with his wife Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, lived in the Palazzo Chiesa (the destroyed one) from November 1821 until the spring of 1822. Mary wrote “The house is right next to that of Scoto, on the north side of the Lung'Arno...” (Scoto is Teresa, wife of Vincenzo Scotto, son of the shipowner Domenico, who bought the park that takes his name). The Shelleys arrived in Pisa for the first time in 1818, without however stopping for long. They travelled to Livorno and settled for a while in Bagni di Lucca. They returned to Pisa in January 1820, staying in the Palazzo dei Galletti (today hosting the Political Science Department of the University of Pisa). From August to October they stayed in Bagni di Pisa (San Giuliano Terme) and then returned to Pisa, staying this time at Palazzo Chiesa, in November 1821. In July 1822 P.B. Shelley died in a shipwreck in the sea in front of Lerici.
Unfortunately, today only the ruins remain of the Palazzo Chiesa. These represent one of the wounds, not yet healed, of the Second World War, and a plaque was placed in memory of the stay of the couple of writers. Mary wrote in a letter dated October 1820: “Shelley liked the mildness of the climate and his loneliness was enlivened by hanging out with several close friends. Strangely, it was chance that made us come across this quiet and half-depopulated city; but its peace pleased Shelley. The river, the nearby mountains and the sea not far away increased its attractiveness and were the destination of many pleasant trips.” The two often travelled to San Giuliano, Pugnano and Molina di Quosa along a canal with a small boat that Percy had bought. Today the canal is too narrow and somewhat overgrown. The trip must have been very romantic, since Mary described it like this: “By day, multitudes of dragonflies darted across the surface; at night the fireflies came out of the bushes on the banks; at noon the cicadas chirped and in the quiet of the evening cooed the owl”.


Cit.
I
The sun is set; the swallows are asleep;
The bats are flitting fast in the gray air;
The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep,
And evening's breath, wandering here and there
Over the quivering surface of the stream,
Wakes not one ripple from its summer dream.
II
There is no dew on the dry grass to-night,
Nor damp within the shadow of the trees;
The wind is intermitting, dry, and light;
And in the inconstant motion of the breeze
The dust and straws are driven up and down,
And whirled about the pavement of the town.
III
Within the surface of the fleeting river
The wrinkled image of the city lay,
Immovably unquiet, and forever
It trembles, but it never fades away;
Go to the... You, being changed,
will find it then as now.
IV
The chasm in which the sun has sunk is shut
By darkest barriers of cinereous cloud,
Like mountain over mountain huddled — but
Growing and moving upwards in a crowd,
And over it a space of watery blue
Which the keen evening star is shining through.

Percy Shelley, Evening: Ponte al mare, Pisa, Rhymes, 1820
Last update: 31/03/2021
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