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  • Day37

    Cimitero Acattolico, Rome

    October 5, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We had a bit of a slower start today, thanks to having such a great afternoon/evening with Tony and Deb. We had not realised we would cross paths again on this trip so it was fabulous to catch up again and have a touch of home. Needless to say, lunch turned into dinner and lots of Italian wine. Brad and I aren't really sure how we even made it home.

    So after a bit of a lie in, we decided to master the bus system here in Rome and make our way to the The Cimitero Acattolico, the Non-Catholic Cemetery. It is often referred to as the Cimitero dei protestanti, Protestant Cemetery, or Cimitero degli Inglesi, Englishmen's Cemetery. It is the final resting place of non-Catholics including but not exclusive to Protestants or British people.

    The earliest known burial is that of a University of Oxford student named Langton in 1738. The English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley are buried there. Keat’s tombstone does not name him as per his wishes. Instead it reads “Here lies one whose name is writ in water”.

    The cemetery is also the location of the original Angel of Grief or the Weeping Angel. It is an 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story for the grave of his wife Emelyn Story. Its full title bestowed by the creator was The Angel of Grief Weeping Over the Dismantled Altar of Life. This was Story's last major work prior to his death, a year after his wife.

    There is such a feeling of tranquility, beauty and freedom there. All of the graves are adorned with tombstones, some elaborate, some very simple, and they are all covered with bushes, vines and flowers. Definitely not like our staid cemeteries at home with all their rules and regulations. It was a lovely place to wander or to just sit and enjoy the fresh air and peacefulness.

    The cemetery is adjacent to the Pyramid of Cestius, a small-scale Egyptian-style pyramid built between 18 and 12BC. It is the monumental tomb of Caius Cestius, a Roman magistrate and member of a college of priests. It was later incorporated into the section of the Aurelian Walls that borders the cemetery. It was a very random sight to see amongst the usual Roman buildings and statues and tombstones.

    While getting here and back again wasn't that easy I am glad we got to see it and experience the serenity away from the hustle and bustle of Rome.
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