In Italy, Sexy Halloween has yet to arrive. (Thank God).
Halloween here is still about scary, gross and disturbing costumes, if one dresses up at all.
However, the spirit of the undead is slowly catching on with more events than ever planned for the 31st of October. I’ll be at Testaccio Market’s Open Day, enjoying grilled meats to celebrate the fact that the real Italian holiday is 1 November (Ognisanti or All Saints’ Day).
But why celebrate only the saints? Italy has some of the most interesting cemeteries in the world – if you are willing to walk through the gates and among the graves…
This might sound disturbing to you, but cemeteries are places of culture and traditions that you must consider visiting in a new country.
Italy is no exception and boasts some of the creepiest but coolest final resting places. Here’s a list of the most interesting cemeteries in Italy, and how to visit them.
- Cimitero delle Fontanelle: is an ancient cemetery located in Naples. Its name (referring to a fountain) comes from the presence of water sources in ancient times. This cemetery “hosts” about 40,000 people who were victims of the great plagues in 1656 and 1836. Inside the caves you will also find a church built in the 19th century.
- Catacombe dei Cappuccini: can be found in Palermo, Sicily. The countless corpses exposed are food for thought about the brevity of life, vanity, and the futility of wordly goods. Walk along the tunnels and experience the reality of life and death.
- Cimitero di Staglieno: is the largest cemetery in Genova and one of the most important in Europe. The gorgeous architecture has led to the final resting place being considered an open air museum. Here you can find numerous tombs of well known Italian figures such as Giuseppe Mazzini, whose ideas helped set the way to a unified Italy.
- Cimitero Acattolico: Rome’s non-Catholic cemetery is an quiet refugee set beyond a busy intersection. Between the imposing pyramid of Cestius and the striking gravestones surrounded by greenery, it is a cemetery you are likely to want to spend a lot of time in. The most famous graves belong to the English writers Keats and Shelley.
- Cimitero Monumentale: a real jewel in Milan. Just as the cemetery in Genova, it has a museum-like quality, characterized by interesting architecture and famous names of people resting in peace among monuments and trees. One above all, Alessandro Manzoni. If you are you in Milan don’t miss the chance: visit Cimitero Monumentale with Lookals.
- Camposanto di Pisa: when in Pisa, don’t assume the leaning tower is the main event worth visiting! Legend has it that a body buried in the ground of this historic cemetery in Piazza Duomo will rot within 24 hours of being placed in the ‘holy field’.
There is so much more to life in Bel Paese — death for instance
Many thanks to Chiara for the brilliant idea for this post!