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To survive, you must tell stories…(“,)

A random walk around the Monumental Cemetery of Milan.

3 min read

The Monumental Cemetery in Milan is really an open-air museum, since 1866 to today. In this article i don’t want speak about history, because you can safely write on google “monumental cemetery of Milan”, and read all the articles and histories you want, even if it is almost impossible not to yawn. For this reason i want speak only about some stories and some people who rest here. It easy understand that the Ambrosian Pantheon, starting from the Famedio (the main entrance of the cemetery), it’s not only a mortuary, but rather a burial ground for the city’s most famous poets and artists. In short, a great mix of art whose chromatic exuberance is the reflection of the intellectual vivacity of all the people that are here remembered.


Here have been in several to break a spear in favor of “life”, people like the Campari brothers, who with their monumental tomb that rises “tipsy” on the cemetary, can to be proud of being part of the hit-parade of the most popular tombs of the necropolis of Milan. As soon as you arrive near the burial of the Campari brothers (1935), the bronze tomb, “otherwise sober” he has raised not a few slanders, because that seems to tempted to take an aperitiv, alive or dead. And if at the cemetery Monumentale, you can take the aperitiv with the Campari brothers, can’t miss the panettone. To temptating the visiting guests there is the tomb of Angelo Motta, a huge panettone completely covered by “delicious” saints, made by the famous sculptor Giacomo Manzù.

At the Monumental cemetery qualities like madness, bizarreness, whimsiness and genius intersect and chase each other among the 170,000 burials strewn in 250,000 square meters of cemetery space. Space that welcomes in great style cinema, science, history, philosophy, art, music and Italian literature, people like Salvatore Quasimodo, Alda Merini, Dario Fo, Mike Bongiorno, Giorgio Gaber and Arturo Toscanini (conductor at the Teatro alla Scala). And in center of the Famedio there is the sarcophagus of Alessandro Manzoni, together with the statue of Carlo Cattaneo and that of Giuseppe Verdi, that died on 27th January 1901, with one of the largest funeral ever seen in the city. It is said that the inhabitants of Milan, worried that the master did not hear the sound of the horses’ hooves, had scattered the street of straw away to limit the audible noise from the Suite 105 of the Grand Hotel et de Milan.

But at the end…who can stay in this great cemetary? Someone answered, the wealthy. The Monumental is the cemetery where the rich sleep. And another ironic reply “if you go to the Monumental cemetary dead, put on a waiting list, if you go there alive as well”. This curious expression probably refers to the traffic of the city of Milan, and to found a parking in the zone is impossible. I don’t like speaking of numbers, dates and boring things, but the numbers of the cemetery are interesting. For people who already owned a family chapel, and only wanted to replace the body, prices various from a minimum of 7,422 to a maximum of 13,702 euros, and with regard to the forty-year-long concession, the prices range from 12,768 euros (in the first row) to 16,606 euros (in the second row). It would almost be said…or we change choice for cemetary, or we put the grandparents in freezer, because it is better to make one’s own counts!

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