The artistic cemeteries of Rome
We start our journey with a significant data: on October 8th 2016 a memorandum of understanding was signed between the MiBACT and SEFIT Utilitalia for the enhancement of cemeteries. The agreement reflects the intention of MIBACT to support Local Authorities in the enhancement of monumental cemeteries, an inestimable historical, artistic and architectural heritage of many Italian municipalities. Many of us have visited the most beautiful and important cemeteries - often monumental - of the world. Let's think of Père Lachaise in Paris, the Hebrew of Prague, Staglieno in Genoa, Highgate in London and many others around the world. Tourists often come to these oases of peace out of curiosity or to see the graves of famous people and admire sculptures and epitaphs that are real works of art. But let's get back to our trip...
In this short path we want to show you what we liked and we recommend to see in Rome regarding the growing phenomenon of necroturism.
CEMETERY OF THE VERANO
The exact name is Cimitero Comunale Monumentale Campo Verano and is one of the best known and visited cemeteries in Lazio and in Italy. It is located in the Tiburtino district, adjacent to the Basilica of San Lorenzo outside the walls. It has always been considered a place of great artistic and cultural value and here are the burials of many famous people, including the Lazio Gabriella Ferri, Mario Brega, Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, Aldo Fabrizi, Nino Manfredi, Marcello Mastroianni, Roberto Rossellini , Alberto Sordi and Trilussa.
The modern cemetery was established during the Napoleonic reign thanks primarily to the project of the esteemed Roman architect Giuseppe Valadier and later by another appreciated Roman architect, Virginio Vespignani, whose monumental sepulcher can be admired in the Verano. Over the years, the cemetery complex has grown to include other land and now covers over 70 hectares. Verano, with its artistic heritage, is definitely an outdoor museum of inestimable value. It is also thanks to this that for years the Municipality of Rome has organized interesting thematic tours through historical itineraries that lead to the tombs of the protagonists of specific historical periods or categories of characters. Each itinerary is studied starting from a main theme that gives rise to a fascinating story about a specific historical era and the characters that have characterized it, a journey back in time to an entire nation. For more information: www.comune.roma.it
Also known as the Protestant Cemetery, the English or simply Cimitero di Testaccio, it is an obligatory Roman stop for romantics and fans of English literature. As the name indicates, the cemetery is destined for the eternal rest of non-Catholic foreigners. Exceptions are the burials granted to illustrious Italians who, for the alternative culture expressed in life, for the quality of their work or for the circumstances of life have been in some way "foreign" in their own nation. We refer, for example, to Antonio Gramsci (who married a Russian woman), to the writer Carlo Emilio Gadda, to the poet Dario Bellezza, to name a few.
The Acattolico is located in the Testaccio district right next to the Pyramid of Cestius, in a lovely, well-kept garden populated by a historic colony of cats. It is imperative to mention the tomb of the English poet John Keats who, along with that of Percy Shelley, is one of the most admired thanks to the now famous epitaph that does not mention his name but remembers it: "This tomb contains the mortal remains of a young English poet who, on his deathbed, in the bitterness of his heart, faced with the evil power of his enemies, wanted these words to be engraved on his tombstone: "Here lies one whose name was written on the water "». The epigraph on the tomb of the romantic poet Shelley, however, refers to his death at sea and resumes three verses from the song of Ariel from the "Storm" by William Shakespeare: "Nothing of him dissolves but undergoes a marine metamorphosis to become something of rich and strange ".
The Acattolico Cemetery of Rome is managed by a council of fifteen ambassadors accredited in Italy and residing in Rome, most of whom come from nations with a large Protestant or Orthodox majority. The official website is always updated and full of information about visiting hours. also inside there is a small library with publications on cemetery art and some books about the artists who rest in this lovely garden among cypresses, myrtles and wild roses. For more information: www.cemeteryrome.it
CRIPTA DEI FRATI CAPPUCCINI
The Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini is a place of worship located in the elegant Via Veneto in Rome and inside it houses the crypt decorated with the bones of about four thousand Capuchin friars. The crypt is divided into five small chapels where, in addition to the bones, it is possible to see whole bodies of mummified friars wearing the typical Capuchin robes. The curious choice of decorating the crypt with bones might seem gruesome, but it is actually a way of exorcising death and emphasizing how the body is nothing but a "container" of the soul and, as such, once it is he has abandoned it, the container can be reused in another way.
At the entrance to the crypt the plaque of "welcome" reads: "What you are we were; what we are you will be ". The convent of Via Veneto organizes guided tours - even the English language - with a route linked to the history of the place, to the friars who lived here and other curiosities related to this particular monument. For more information: www.cappucciniviaveneto.it