Recently we hosted two well known American authors at Casa Tolomei. Tom and Laura McNeal were visiting Tuscany during their research for a new novel on Penini, the son of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.
The English poets and their son were summer residents at Casa Tolomei during the 1850s. Elizabeth loved the villa and wrote many letters about their stay, whereas Robert wrote some famous poetry in the blue room (his study), including ‘In a Balcony’.
Penini himself thought he was in paradise, the moment he arrived from Florence. He loved playing in the garden on the swing and having tea parties with his friends on the little stone benches, walking their dog Flush along the river with Wilson their maid and Ferdinando the cook, playing with rabbits and donkey riding.
Tom and Laura are two wonderful people and we were delighted to have them with us. Their enthusiasm for the house and its history was a treat, and we deeply enjoyed their company. They are also two great authors. So far I read Laura’s The Practice House and Tom’s Far, Far Away and loved them both.
Can’t wait to read Laura’s novel on Penini!