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Lake Como

Lake Como (Italian Lago di Como) lies in northern Italy, twenty-five miles northeast of Milan. The lake has long been famous for its appearance in the writings of such classical writers as Virgil, Pliny, and Claudian. The lake is windy and often subject to flooding, but the banks are covered with rich vegetation, including vines, figs, olives, and pomegranates.

The Shelleys first visited Lake Como in the spring of 1818 and were so enchanted by its beauty that they sought a permanent residence there. Not finding anything suitable, they travelled further south in Italy and never found occasion to revisit the site. The setting remained in Mary Shelley's imagination, however, and she reverted to it in The Last Man, where the small party of English survivors of the universal plague settle for a time on its shore, and in the revised 1831 edition of Frankenstein, where Elizabeth Lavenza is now discovered there by the Frankenstein parents early in the novel. Mary Shelley returned to the Lake many years later, and expressed her sense of reenchantment in Rambles in Germany and Italy in 1840, 1842, and 1843.