All Saint’s Day – Visiting a Cemetery in Milan

This Saturday is All Saint’s Day in Finland, a very different day to Halloween. Finns remember those who are lost by visiting their graves. It’s quite a sombre affair. A while back, I visited a cemetery in Milan. I wonder how they celebrate All Saint’s Day in Italy?

I like to visit cemeteries when travelling. I am fascinated by the history, serenity and beauty of cemeteries. Cemeteries are usually peaceful, landscaped places, resembling parks. All of them are unique in their own way.

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In Milan, I had looked up the Monumental Cemetery (Cimitero Monumentale) as a must-see. The chilly but sunny weather had tempted others to visit too.

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The Monumental Cemetery has three different sections, one for Catholics, one for Jewish and one for non-Catholics.

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You can buy flowers nearby. In Finland on All Saint’s Day, it’s tradition to take heathers, pine sprigs and candles to the graves. It’s so cold that flowers wouldn’t make it!

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This cemetery was opened in 1866.

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Many of the tombs and sculptures have been created by famous artist of their time.

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Momentous Italians rest in the cemetery. Architects, actresses, industrialists, politicians…

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You’ll be surprised to hear that this “Last Supper” tomb is actually the Campari (the drink!) family’s tomb.

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It has been said that the Monumental Cemetery is like an open air museum.

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Here’s two different portrayals of grief.

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These statues have really friendly faces.

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She’s quite regal don’t you think?

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These two girls are my favourite.

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After All Saint’s Day, we can start building up to Christmas. The deceased resting here have been provided with some Christmas spirit.

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Do you like to stroll around cemeteries when travelling?

Do you have a cemetery you would particularly like to visit? I would love to go to the Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris and actually, I’ve been wanting to go to one in my own backyard – the Hietaniemi Cemetery. Famous Finns, for example Alvar Aalto, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Tove Jansson and Karl Fazer rest there.

xx


16 thoughts on “All Saint’s Day – Visiting a Cemetery in Milan

  1. This is a beautiful cemetery. The ones around here are not like that. There is an old cemetery up north where old cowboys are buried from a war that the ranchers in that area started. One time when my kids were little we did charcoal rubbings from the old stones. There was another one we visited in California but all during the day of course, graveyards are a bit creepy to me.

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    1. I agree, cemeteries can be very creepy! But when the sun is shining, they are quite calming places. The cowboy cemetery would be interesting to visit, such interesting history! The most interesting cemeteries, albeit small, have been on remote islands. They don’t have fancy tombstones but generations of islanders have been buried there.

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  2. I love Italian cemeteries, they seem alive even in death. Rome’s Non-Catholic cemetery is the favourite. I was at the Père Lachaise a couple of times in search of Jim Morrison when younger but then I found so many others as well such as Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Chopin and more and more. If I ever go to Milan, I’ll visit this one for sure.

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  3. What a fascinating cemetery Suvi. I’ve actually wandered through the Hietaniemi cemetery numerous times and seen some of the famous graves. We liked to walk from the cemetery along the coast as far as Cafe Regatti where we’d stop off for a coffee before finding our way back by tram.

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  4. Thanks so much for showing me and all the rest of us, this cemetery. When I was in Milan, I intended to go to this cemetery as I was staying fairly closely near to it, but in the end I didn’t have time and I didn’t make it. So I always wondered what it look like.

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    1. What a lucky coincidence that this was the same cemetery! At least you got to see it this way. I still feel sorry for not having time to visit the Tikhvin Cemetery in St. Petersburg, as it was just opposite the Moscow Hotel where we were staying.

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