Villa San Michele is a house located in the town of Anacapri, the island of Capri. The villa takes its name from a small chapel that stood in medieval times at the end of the Phoenician steps precisely in the territory of Anacapri.
In 1895, the Swedish doctor Axel Munthe fell in love with the ruins of an ancient chapel, consisting of once smashed and a few crumbling walls, and wanted to buy it at all costs. While performing the restoration work in the vineyard adjacent unearthed the ruins the presence of the remains of an ancient Roman villa; these drew to adorn the new villa with numerous archaeological finds which still can be seen in the original construction of Munthe.
The restoration lasted many years not only because of the difficulties of building without lines of communication and supply, which were not pedestrian, with the nearby Capri and the sea, but also for the many vicissitudes of life Munthe, who repeatedly had to start leaving unfinished his labor. The story of his life is told by the same Munthe in an autobiography that he wanted to call The Story of San Michele, and with which he also traces the various stages of restoration. Published in 1929, The Story of San Michele has proved one of the most widely read books of the twentieth century.
The Swedish doctor does not dwelt for a long time Villa San Michele, as an eye disease forced him to retire in less bright Materita Torre, who also had it restored. The house was then rented to the Marchesa Luisa Casati Stampa that he led for many years an extravagant and sometimes excessive life.