In June 1881, Nietzsche traveled on from Recoaro into the Engadin, staying first in St. Moritz and the moving on, in July 1881, to a small town in the mountains, where he was to stay for three months, and return time and again: Sils Maria. Here Nietzsche read Spinoza, went for walks by the lake — noting, in particular, the existence of a large, pyramidshaped rock by the water, close to Surlei — and wondered about whether to buy a typewriter. Externally, Nietzsche's life looked dull, even boring: he stayed in a small house near the woods, ate a cheap lunch from the tourist menu at a nearby hotel, and sometimes chatted with the other visitors. His inner life, however, was rich, intense, and exciting, even dangerous, as he told Heinrich Köselitz on 14 August 1881: “Actually I am leading an extremely dangerous life, for I am one of those machines that might explode! The intensity of my feeling makes me shudder and laugh” (daß ich eigentlich ein höchst gefährliches Leben lebe, denn ich gehöre zu den Maschinen, welche zerspringen können! Die Intensitäten meines Gefühls machen mich schaudern und lachen; KSA 6, 112).
From Sils Maria, Nietzsche traveled to Genoa, where he spent the winter and undertook to live under the protection of three local “patron saints”: Columbus, Paganini, and Mazzini (KSB 6, 134). A letter to Paul Rée gives us an insight into the kind of cures used by Nietzsche for his constant ill-health: they included phosphoric magnesia and kali phosphoricum (KSB 6, 139).