The title “The Gulf of Poets” was not given to this area by chance. Several renowned poets and writers enjoyed their holidays here; Byron and Shelley among them. In recent years the Italian Nobel Prize winner, Eugenio Montale spent most of his childhood, and later most of his summer holidays in Monterosso.
.….”Here by a miracle the striving
of frustrate passions is stilled,
here even we, the poorest, find a fortune
and it is the scent of lemons…..”
(traslation by Millicent Bell).
From the poem, “The Lemons”, 1921. This is how Eugenio Montale, through his poetry, tells of the beauty of Monterosso and how the Cinque Terre must be discovered. Here his parents owned a Liberty Style villa, a home that Montale called, “ the ochre pagoda” or the “villa of two palms”. Unfortunately this villa cannot be visited today as it is privately owned, but, in alternative one might visit the “Literary Park” dedicated to the poet. Official guides will lead you through the terraces descending into the sea and the ambience that inspired his poetry. During these visits poems taken from his volume “Ossi di Seppie” (Cuttlefish Bones) will be read.
The cemetery in the medieval hamlet, where the Montale family tomb is found, is worthy of a visit as he speaks often of it in his poems.
In regards to his rapport with the Cinque Terre, Montale admitted that, “The time in Monterosso has been a truly formative season, but it has also started my introversion, and has brought to an imprisonment of the universe”.