BYRON IN ITALY byron
 

On 25 April 1816 he left England for the Continent, never to return.

Byron travelled to Geneva where the Shelleys and Claire Clairmont had rented a villa. He reached Venice at the end of 1816 and remained there, with the exception of a brief interlude in Rome (at no 66 Piazza di Spagna, opposite the Keats House, where the Danish sculptor Thorwaldsen carved his bust), until June 1819, when he moved to Ravenna to be near his last great love, Teresa Guiccioli, the 19 year-old wife of the elderly Count Guiccioli. Newstead Abbey was finally sold and Byron thus freed himself of any financial worries. He became interested in the cause of the Italian patriots, Silvio Pellico and Pellegrino Rossi. He was a member of the secret revolutionary society 'SocietÓ Romantica' too. The Papal authorities banished the Counts Gambas, Teresa's father and brother, from Ravenna as they belonged to the 'SocietÓ Romantica'. Teresa left her husband for Byron in 1821 and they found refuge in Pisa where Shelley was living. Leigh Hunt, in financial difficulties, also joined them and began to edit the journal The Liberal.


Whilst Byron was in Pisa he received news of the death of his daughter Allegra, aged five, in a convent at Bagnocavallo. Byron had never visited her and Shelley was struck by his heartlessness.
However, the friendship between Byron and Shelley continued and they both had boats built by a Captain Daniel Roberts in Genoa. Shelley's boat 'Don Juan' (renamed 'Ariel') was the small ketch in which he was drowned, while Byron's boat the 'Bolivar' was much larger and fitted out regardless of expense. By the end of 1822 Byron's love for Teresa Guiccioli had faded and he moved to Genoa where he had a short-lived liaison with Lady Blessington. He began to feel that political action was more important than poetry. He actively supported the campaign for Greek liberty by forming both the 'Byron Brigade' as well as giving large sums of money to the Greeks. He arrived in Missolonghi in 1824 but died on 19 April of a fever before seeing any serious action. His body was buried in his family tomb in Hucknall Torkard after it had been refused burial in Westminster Abbey.

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