Bergamo: Cimitero Monumentale

Today was yet another sunny day in Italy. So, I pulled up Google Maps and located the nearest large green space to our apartment in Bergamo. It turned out to be a cemetery. No problem! Nothing like a good cemetery stroll on a beautiful day.

Truly monumental!
Truly monumental! Underneath this building are vast “columbari” or catacombs.

The Cimitero Monumentale was completed in 1912 in order to merge three previous town cemeteries, according to the only source I could find online, the intriguing It is laid out like a park, and in fact there were quite a few people strolling around there when I visited.

Just some Alpine foothills in the background.
Just some Alpine foothills in the background.

There are a remarkably variety of styles in the cemetery, from Art Nouveau to Art Deco, to ultramodern and even Brutalist.

A Bassano. One of my folks, perhaps?
It doesn’t really lean over like this, just something weird my camera did.
Art Deco, I’d say, complete with an Egyptian mummy!
Very stylish Art Deco mausoleum.
I’m going with Brutalist.

Most of the graves are for family groups, and many have have photos on them.

An entire family is buried here.
A very Italian turn-of-the-century couple.

Photos are just one way the graves are highly personalized. Many have trees, bushes or flowers planted on them, and nearly all have been decorated in some way, with knick-knacks, artificial flowers, candles, etc.

Two olive trees are planted behind this headstone, and a carpet of thyme (?) is growing on top.
Honestly, this seems pretty creepy to me, but it is very personalized, I’ll say that much.
A pretty statue in front of the above-ground columbarium.
Another nice one, also decorated with flowers.
Rows and rows of these wall tombs, nearly all decorated in some way, and lit with electric candles.
They really are rather nice.
This above-ground tomb is decorated with peacocks.
A monastic cemetery–section reserved for monks and priests–has rows of identical tombstones.
The childrens’ section has rows of tiny tombstones. I noticed that many of these children died between 1940-1945.
One last photo on the way out.

I don’t think I have ever regretted visiting an old cemetery in Europe. They really are fascinating–and not at all depressing, especially in the Italian winter sun.


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