Axel Munthe was born in Oskarshamn, Sweden, 1857. He was one of the most outstanding doctors of his time. He spent almost his life travelling and working abroad and his last days in Stoccolma.
He graduated in medicine in Paris, when he was only 23 and he opened his first medical office in this same city. He married the Swedish Ultima Hornberg.
His passion for medicine and his devotion to mankind were probably the main reasons of his success.
In 1884 he went for the first time in Italy to help the Neapolitans dying from cholera. He’s a world wide appreciated writer and he produced his first literary works during this period. He wrote many articles on the events observed during those years, which were collected in Travel letters from Naples, published in 1885.
In 1887 he went to Capri and he was so charmed by the island beauties that he would have established there for many years.
In 1890 he went to Rome where he became a professional doctor and his fame greatly increased.
He became private doctor of the Swedish Queen Victoria and he was married for the second time to an English woman, Hilda Pennington-Mellor.
He was volunteer to the British Red Cross during the First World War. He reported his experience in his Red Cross and Iron Cross, by a doctor in France, published in London, 1917. His masterpiece, History of St Michael was published n London, 1929.
This book has been translated in 50 languages. It was the English writer Henry James who suggested Munthe to write a book about the years he spent on building his villa in Capri. It's a wonderful portrait of the First World War years, during which Munthe found time to think over human relationship and the meaning of life. His villa in Capri was the ideal scenery to spend sometime on his meditations.
In 1943 Munthe left Capri forever and was received as a guest in the Royal Castle of king Gustavo V of Sweden. He died in 1949.