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15 unique cemeteries to visit on All Souls' Day

15 unique cemeteries to visit on All Souls' Day image by Roberta on Flickr

In Christian culture, All Souls' Day on November 2, is a day when people visit the graves of deceased relatives. Following a list of 15 cemeteries lively and interesting from an artistic point of view, to be visited all year round.

Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno (Genoa)

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Opened in 1851, it is one of the largest and most important monumental cemeteries, both in Italy and in Europe. Lying on a green hill, in its gardens are real works of art, memorial monuments and sculptures so realistic that they seem real. Among those not to be missed is the Angel of Monteverde and the Angel lying on the arch of the Ribaudo Tomb, which Joy Division used as the cover image of their 45 laps "Love Will Tear Us Apart ". Many famous Italian personalities like Giuseppe Mazzini, Fabrizio De André, Edoardo Sanguineti and Fernanda Pivano also rest here.

Monumental Cemetery (Milan)

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Opened in 1866, it is a large open-air museum, where you can admire different styles of funerary art: from the classical genre to the majestic reproductions of Egyptian and Greek temples to modern sculptures by famous artists such as Giò Ponti, Lucio Fontana and Arturo Martini. One of the monuments to visit is the Famedio, the "temple of fame", an imposing building in stone and marble, located at the main entrance of the cemetery. Here the "book of honor" pays tribute to famous people of the city such as Alessandro Manzoni and Carlo Cattaneo, while in its crypt are the remains of famous people such as , Dario Fo, Enzo Jannacci, Alda Merini and Giorgio Gaber.

Monumental Cemetery of the Certosa (Bologna)

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Open air art gallery, is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe. Throughout the nineteenth century it became one of the favorite destinations of the Grand Tour, the training journey of young intellectuals of the time, such as Lord Byron and Charles Dickens, who spoke of this place in their writings. Among the celebrated characters buried here, there are the Nobel Prize for literature Giosuè Carducci, the painter Giorgio Morandi and the singer-songwriter and musician Lucio Dalla.

Acattolico Cemetery (Rome)

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It is also called the Protestant Cemetery or the English of Rome and is located in the area of ​​Testaccio, near the Pyramid of Cestius. Here all the non-Catholics have found eternal rest, which is why there are secular and Protestant tombs, but also Muslims and Buddhists. And even the inscriptions on the tombstones are in more than 15 different languages. The sepulchres and statues are surrounded by greenery and to act as "guardians" there is a colony of cats that lives here. Among the tombs not to be missed are those of Keats, Shelley, Gramsci.

Cemetery of the Porte Sante (Florence)

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This small and ancient camposanto surrounds the Basilica of San Miniato del Monte and although it is far from the center, also worth a visit for the view it gives on the city. Among family chapels and monumental tombs with particular and suggestive statues, there are also the sepulchers of famous people, such as Carlo Collodi, the father of "Pinocchio", the tomb of the Vespucci family and the patriot Ciro Menotti.

Cemetery of San Michele (Venice)

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A real cemetery island, established in the nineteenth century during the Austrian occupation. The authorities prohibited the unhealthy practice of burying the dead under the pavement of the city center and created this cemetery surrounded by the sea, where the dead were brought here with funeral gondolas.

Père Lachaise Cemetery (Paris)

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So beautiful to look like a park, 43 hectares large and with 70,000 graves, it is certainly one of the most popular and visited in the world. Many come to pay homage and admire the tombs of famous people who rest here. Like Jim Morrison, the leader of the Doors, the composer Chopin, the singers Edith Piaf and Maria Callas, but also writers such as Marcel Proust and Oscar Wilde and many others.

Old Jewish Cemetery (Prague)

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Most likely it is one of the busiest in the world, since it is estimated that here rest over 100,000 Jews. All grafted on one another and covered by moss and vegetation, many gravestones date back to the fifteenth century, when this burial place was opened. If the visible ones are about 12 thousand, in reality there are 12 layers of tombs under the ground, to respect the Jewish tradition of not moving or destroying the tombstones, even in the absence of space.

Highgate Cemetery (London)

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There are many legends about the appearance of vampires and spirits among the Gothic tombs of this evocative cemetery. Inaugurated in the mid-nineteenth, it has been in ruins for years, but since 1980 it has been recovered thanks to the contribution of the citizens. The west side, accessible only with guided tours, is famous for its architectural beauties, such as the Egyptian Avenue, the Terrace Catacombs and the Circle of Lebanon. The east, with free access, instead hosts tombs of great people like Karl Marx.

Merry Cemetery (Săpânţa)

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Also known as Cimitirul Vesel, it is famous all over the world for its 800 oak crosses, decorated with bright and vibrant colors and with ironic phrases engraved. Born in the early '30s, it was Stan Ioan Pătraş, a famous sculptor of the time, who created this tradition of depicting the deceased with a themed design and a satirical poem, which represented his life and his typical attitudes.

Central Cemetery (Vienna)

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It is located in the south of the Austrian capital, in the district of Simmering and is the largest cemetery in the city. Its peculiarity is that it is divided into different areas depending on the religion of belonging to the deceased. Here great musicians have found eternal rest as Beethoven, Strauss, Schubert and Brahms.

Okunoin Cemetery (Mount Koya)

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It is the largest in the country, a sacred and suggestive place of Buddhist pilgrimage, with over 200,000 tombs and funerary sculptures, even with unexpected dedications. In fact, there are memorials and tributes to the termites killed by the pesticide companies and to puffer fishes killed by chefs. One of the places not to be missed is the Torodo hall, the pavilion where are kept more than 10,000 lanterns, donated by the faithful, who remain perpetually on.

Cemetery of Oaxaca

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On Halloween night, called the Dia de los muertos, the cemetery comes alive with a colorful party to the sound of mariachi music, dances and banquets, to welcome the dead who return, between 1 and 2 November, to find their loved ones in life. And for this, the tombs are set as if they were tables set with bouquets, candles, food and drinks, adding even the most expensive items to the deceased.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Los Angeles)

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It is close to Paramount Studios and this is a resting place for many actors, directors and rock stars. Among the best known are the musician Johnny Ramone, the director Cecil B. DeMille and the actress Jayne Mansfield. Here too, Halloween is celebrated with musical and folk events. In summer, however, they do picnics and see old movies under the stars.

Neptune Memorial Reef (Key Biscayne)

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At about 12 meters deep, it is the largest artificial coral reef in the world and although it is known as a marine cemetery, it is actually more a cremation memorial site. The remains of the people, in fact, are not kept inside the urns, but mixed with the cement of the statues and buildings and the dead are remembered with plates. For those who want to pay their respects, there is the possibility of diving and exploring this gigantic underwater memorial.

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