The symptoms of tuberculosis appeared early in 1820, in which year he traveled to Italy, with a friend Joseph Severn, in search of a better climate.
They arrived in Naples harbour on 21 October 1820. Here the ship was held in quarantine for 10 days and they did not arrive in Rome until 15 November. Keats’s doctor, James Clark, who lived in Piazza di Spagna and knew Keats's story, was himself interested in literature and looked after the poet with care and devotion. He believed, however, that Keats had digestive problems and not the tuberculosis which had been diagnosed in England. To raise Keats's morale, which was low after his long journey, he suggested regular exercise instead of the rest prescribed in London. Keats was able to go out at first, and would sometimes walk on the Pincio. He and Severn even hired horses and rode out on the Via Flaminia. But on 10 December 1820, he suffered a serious haemorrhage. He recovered slightly for Christmas and started to go out again; but on 10 January his health finally broke down and he never left his bedroom again. He died in Severn’s arms on 23 February 1821 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery, behind the Pyramid in Testaccio. He was 25 years old.