A cemetery among the cultural attractions? Well, yes. The Monumentale is known as an open air museum because it treasures many works of art. When Napoleon came to Milan in 1796, entitling it capital of the Repubblica Cisalpina, he decided that every Milanese had to be buried in a cemetery and no longer outside the city walls. The city of Milan therefore announced a competition for the construction of a cemetery that had to include all the suburban ones. The ban was won by architect Carlo Maciachini: his project was chosen for its low cost and its eclectic style in vogue at the time.
The veneration of the works of art hosted inside the Monumentale starts with the memorial chapel, the central structure built initially as a church but soon turned into the Pantheon. The center of the memorial chapel is occupied by Manzoni’s grave and, among the many names, those of Salvatore Quasimodo, Giorgio Gaber and Alda Merini stand out. Once you have had a look at the famous Milanese names (and remember that you won’t read Verdi’s because he is buried in his Retirement House), head out and start walking around the funeral town: you will be impressed by the grandeur and sophistication of some graves… some are even equipped with crypts that were used during World War II as bunkers! Worth of note is certainly Campari’s grave which depicts a table dressed up with guests around it ready to dine, paying homage to Leonardo’s Ultima Cena. We suggest you to wander around without a precise direction, possibly when the sun is setting: do not be afraid of zombies or ghosts, the cemetery keeper has bravely fought them for years!
Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale, Milano, MI, Italia