Collections - January 23, 2021

The Literary Mediterranean

By Stacy Suaya

Here's our roundup of BoutiqueHomes in coastal European locations that inspired great writers. 

"There were periods in Greece when I tasted and saw and heard with much more sharpness and clarity than I'd ever done before or since," said Don Delillo, the American author of The Names. Oh, the stories you'll have to tell too, after a stay at Greek Island Retreat, set on 900 acres of nature reserve.

The poet and author of I, Claudius, Robert Graves moved to Mallorca in 1929, of which he proclaimed, “I found everything I wanted as a writer: sun, sea, mountains, spring water, shady trees, no politics, and a few civilized luxuries such as electric light and a bus service to Palma, the capital.” You will find much more than that at Formentor, a glass-walled confection with a private dock, pool and island views.

The Captain Corelli's Mandolin author Louis de Bernieres set another acclaimed novel, A Bird Without Wings, on the southwest coast of Turkey. Palm House No. 17, a boutique hotel in the region, draws from the country's traditional past, including its rich culinary one – all for your sampling at the daily breakfast.

Patricia Highsmith, author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, looked to the coastal region outside of Naples as an idyllic backdrop for her 1955 psychological thriller. We could see a scene unfolding at Torre Punta Campanella, a 16th-century watchtower-turned-villa for rent in the land that was also the setting for Homer's Odyssey.

A tale of Siamese siblings played out on this paradisal French island, The Corsican Brothers is a novella by Alexander Dumas that dates to 1844. L'Aiglon is a much newer artistic endeavor, though the original structure is a hotel from the 1960s. Restored with beautiful raw materials, it's the perfect place to read - or write - your next opus.

Grazia Deledda, from the town of Nuoro in central Sardinia, became the first Italian woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1926. A trip north from the Reeds in the Wind author's birthplace would take you to Porto Cervo, where the curtains of Villa Gelosa billow in the gentle breeze and terrace coffee always awaits.

On the French Riviera, F. Scott Fitzgerald met the Murphys, a glamorous couple who inspired the Divers in Tender is The Night, set here in the 1920s. Villa Tiipoto, one of our villas that is also set here, lets you step into that dazzle. Enjoy its privacy and a pool that overlooks the azure sea, conjuring up all that Jazz Age decadence.

It is said the great British crime writer Agatha Christie found the inspiration to finish The Mystery of the Blue Train while visiting the Canary Islands. We imagine that this pillowed patio at Villa Guatiza, a private finca on a volcanic isle, would have been a lovely place to jot it all down.

Thomas Pynchon's postmodernist classic novel V opens in the capital city of Valletta, a breathtakingly beautiful and fortified UNESCO heritage site. It's also the perfect place to start exploring all of Malta, especially if your home base is Architect's Studio, a third floor penthouse with striking views of the harbor and historic Fort St. Elmo.

Often compared to Miguel de Cervantes, Charles Dickens and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Ruiz Zafón's famous mystery novel The Shadow of the Wind was set in artful and gastronomic Barcelona. If you're ever in the Catalan city, consider a stay at Terrace Penthouse, atop all the buzz with a rooftop terrace.

For more literary Mediterranean destinations, browse our collection of vacation home rentals and small hotels here.