Villa Diodati

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The Villa Diodati is a manor in Cologny close to Lake Geneva. It is most famous for having been the summer residence of Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, John Polidori and others in 1816, where the basis for the classic horror stories Frankenstein and The Vampyre was laid.

Originally called the Villa Belle Rive, Byron named it the Villa Diodati after the family that owned it. The family was distantly related to Italian translator Giovanni Diodati, uncle of Charles Diodati, the close friend of poet John Milton. Despite the presence of a plaque at the Villa heralding a supposed visit of Milton in 1638, in fact the villa was not built until 1710, long after Milton's death.[1]

In the twentieth century, the Villa was owned by the Washers, a prominent Belgian family of industralists. It was sold in 2000 to an American businessman.

In popular culture[edit]

The villa is featured in the film Gothic and in Chuck Palahniuk's novel Haunted, where the frame plot takes place in a modern version of the Villa Diodati. Also, Tim Powers's novel The Stress of Her Regard has several scenes set there featuring Byron, Polidori, and the Shelleys.

In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which she began writing in the Villa Diodati (né Villa Belle Rive), Victor Frankenstein's second home is called "Belrive".

In the comic book The Unwritten, published by DC Vertigo, the Villa Diodati is the location where reclusive novelist Wilson Taylor was last seen alive - and where he planned and wrote his bestselling series of books about the boy wizard Tommy Taylor. The comic's protagonist, Wilson's son, refers to the fact that Tommy Taylor thus shares his birthplace with Frankenstein.

Villa Diodati is also the name of a speculative fiction writers' workshop founded by Ruth Nestvold, dedicated to providing English-language feedback for writers in continental Europe. Notable participants include Benjamin Rosenbaum and Aliette de Bodard. [2]


  1. ^ "Milton and the Villa Diodati", William S. Clark, Review of English Studies, 1935:os-XI: 51-57.
  2. ^ "Villa Diodati homepage". 

Coordinates: 46°13′13″N 6°11′0″E / 46.22028°N 6.18333°E / 46.22028; 6.18333