The Irish poet (1954-1900) is reckoned as the icon of transgression, nonconformity and a major expression of the nineteenth century European Decadentism.
His intrepid homosexuality brought him to jail and, in order to find a place where to live and love, he travelled abroad. Italy was one of his preferred destination, maybe because Italy was quite poor and tolerant in regards to sexual matters.
Oscar Wilde arrives in Naples in 1897. He calls himself Sebastian Melmoth, in order not be recognized, but in vain: Matilde Serao, a wellknown Italian writer and Journalist publishes that it seemed ‘Oscar Wilde is in town’. He travels with his young boyfriend, Alfred Douglas ‘Bosie’, who was his great love and ruin. They lived at ‘Villa Giudice’ in Posillipo (now private residence) and used to meet local boys and men there.
During his stay in Naples, Wilde used to sit at many coffee tables, such as at Gambrinus and at Hotel Parker’s, meeting British tourists, who were curious to see this fellow with a ‘damned soul’.
Wilde was attracted by the beauty of the city, its mild winter climate and by its culture embedded in Greek and Roman history. The National Archaeological Museum of Naples fascinated him with its huge collection of homoerotic statues.
Persecutions against Wilde for his homosexuality never ended. It was extremely difficult for him to have his works translated and represented in theatre. He left Naples for Paris, where he died in poverty in 1900.
Places You’ll See
The tour, with private gay/gay friendly guide, starts at 10.00 AM from your hotel and ends at the National Archeological Museum at around 1.00 PM.
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