Those who die in an Italian city will likely be placed in a cemetery like this one, which is part of the Cimitero Monumentale in Torino. The dead are not buried in the ground but entombed in vertical niches like those seen here. What I find most interesting are the photos beside the names, which are most always accompanied by flowers placed in special built-in vases.
I visited a small mountain village in Liguria called Fontanarossa, where one of my ancestors was born. Today the village has very few inhabitants, although in the 1800s it was a regular small farming town from which many people, including my great-great grandfather, emigrated to America. I found the cemetery to be very beautiful, if that is a word that can be applied to graveyards. The church of Santo Stefano, seen in the first photo below, was built in the 1100s.
The next three photos were taken in the cemetery of another of my small ancestral villages, called Diecimo, in Tuscany. It is the birthplace of one of my great-great grandmothers, who in fact also emigrated to America and, in Philadelphia, met and married the great-great grandfather from Fontanarossa of whom I just spoke above.
Una curiosità (an interesting fact): the town’s name of Diecimo, which is related to the Latin (and Italian) word for “tenth”, comes from the town’s location at the tenth mile on the way from Lucca (a historically important city) to Rome.
Flowers and photographs adorn the graves. Many of the tombs displayed the last name of my great-great grandmother. The name was widespread there, both in the cemetery and on the doorbells throughout the town. I have noticed this in most of my small ancestral towns, which took me by surprise because I didn’t know anyone, besides relatives, with my name in the US.
The church that is just visible in the background is the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta, a very ancient church that was built sometime before the year 919 (Wikipedia says in the sixth century), as a historical document from that year mentions the existence of the church, but not the year it was founded.
I will end this post with one of my favorite travel photographs, which I took outside the town of Trino, about an hour east of Torino. The photo shows the old cemetery walls, which enclose the interior from view. In the distance the Alps are visible, and they are always a beautiful sight when they fill the horizon on clear days.