Monumental Cemetery - incarnation of souls that lead through history

  BY Anastasia Ostapenko   2 April 2016

Sculptural garden and an architectural revival - that is how I would describe the Cimitero Monumentale a Milano. It opened in the mid-19th century, laid out by an Italian architect Carlo Maciachini, and to this day wealthy have kept their ambitions alive long after their death. 

As you walk through the cast-iron gates, you'll be exposed to many secrets and traditions that Italian and other influential families hold. As you know, family is very important in Italy and building lavish monuments with a family name on it was and still is a status symbol, a way to showcase your wealth and power.

In the main black-and-white striped Romanesque style building, that was initially conceived as a church, you'll find the monuments of prominent Milanese citizens such as the Nobel-prize winner Salvatore Quasimodo, Milanese novelist Allessandro Manzoni and architect Luca Betrami, best known for the restoration of the Sforzesco Castle. Revival architecture in the museum of lost souls, which I cannot call a typical cemetery, is a mixture of Middle Age, Italian Renaissance, Gothic, Byzantine, Art Noveau, Modernist, and many other styles. From the style of frighteningly realistic busts to grand sculptures you can define different periods people lived in. Unlike many modern graveyards, this cemetery is still divided between different religious groups which are mainly Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. 

There are many tombs dedicated to prominent families, but the family tombs that really struck by their ingenuity were Bocconi (founded the Rinascente warehouse and university of Bocconi), the last supper inspired sculptures for the Campari family (famous for their Campari-soda pre-dinner mix and iconic bottle design), and Antonio Bernocchi spiral Mousolium designed by Castiglioni and Milani. Plenty of other important artists such as Giacomo Manzu, Medardo Rosso, Ernesto Bazzaro, Odoardo Tabacchi, and Adolfo Wildt worked on reviving mood and ideas of important families inside the Monumental Cemetery.

Imagine, how much more beautiful Milan could be if these sculptures and monuments were spread out freely on its territory. Sometimes, it seems like a loss of resources because there is so much beauty and artistic talent concentrated in one gated area in the city of Milan. 

Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale, 20100 Milano

Opening hours
Tuesday – Sunday 8.00 – 18.00
Monday Closed

Map of the Monumental Cemetery

 

translated by Anastasia Ostapenko