The FoundationAxel Munthe donated Villa San Michele to the Swedish state in his will dated January 4, 1948, where he describes how the property could be used:
“For example, for free or for a suitable fee, grant housing for Swedish students, artists, researchers, journalists or other guests, who could be presumed to share my feelings for Italy and classical culture, as well as humanistic research as a whole”.
The ties between Villa San Michele och det Swedish Royal Family were strong. In the donation process, the then-Crown-Prince, Gustaf Adolf, played an important part. He was one of the founders of the Swedish Institute in Rome. Now, together with the director of that Institute, Axel Boëthius, he managed to persuade the government to accept the donation, on the condition that Villa San Michele would support itself financially.
The government thus created a Foundation for the administration of Villa San Michele. When it adopted its charter on June 16, 1950, the purpose was clarified and described as follows:
”to promote and deepen Sweden’s cultural links with Italy, and to encourage these in both directions and to support such research as can suitably be performed on the San Michele estate or with this estate as a starting point…. a home for visiting Swedish artists, scientists, composers, authors, journalists, university students and, as space permits, other Swedes with an interest in Italian and classical culture and humanistic research”.
Guided by these phrases, the boards and directors of Villa San Michele have tried to turn Munthe’s last will into practical action. The vague definition of what cultural exchange might mean, has left rather extensive room for interpretation. Villa San Michele's traditions, for example the concerts which had already begun in Munthe’s time, have served as guidelines. The relationship between the San Michele Foundation and the Swedish Royal Family continues to be strong. King Carl XIV Gustaf and Queen Silvia were the guests of honour at the centenary celebrations for Villa San Michele on Capri in 1997. In 2019, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia honoured the Villa with their presence on a privat visit.
Below is a list of the Directors who have led the activities at Villa Villa San Michele throughout the years:
Journalist and author. 2018-
Archaeologist, author. 2017
Staffan de Mistura
Scenographer, director. 2003-2014
Author, journalist. 1950-1967