Cimitero Monumentale in Milan

upd 12 March 2024

Monumental Cemetery (Cimitero Monumentale di Milano) opened in 1866. For a long time, only rich people could afford to be buried here. Therefore, here are many graves and crypts of influential Italian families and famous people, for example, Giuseppe Verdi, Arturo Toscanini and others. Now this is one of the main and most unusual attractions of Milan, so visiting the city, you should definitely come here.

Famous graves

Mourning sculptures and extraordinary tombstones of wealthy families, striving to create the most expressive monument, have turned the cemetery into an open-air gallery where you can see works of art and architectural monuments.

The most impressive sculptural composition is a complex of sculptures on the plot of the Last Supper, decorating the tomb of the Campari family. It was Gustav Campari who created the company, known for the liqueur of the same name.

Another famous monument is the tower on the tomb of Senator Antonio Bernocchi. Sculptures of dozens of people seem to be climbing the tower.

The cemetery now has both ancient and modern glass family crypts. In recent decades, only prominent public figures, priests, and politicians have been buried here.

The expressiveness of monuments cannot leave you indifferent. You can often find that, for example, on the tombstone of a father or mother there is a sculpture of their grieving child. Someone is mourned by a lover, someone by a mother, someone by a choir of angels. In this way it is similar to Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.

Competing for wealth and greater expressiveness, wealthy Italian families built increasingly larger and more expensive crypts that more closely resembled cathedrals. There are buildings reminiscent of Greek temples, Egyptian pyramids, and Gothic chapels. The passages between such cathedrals are more reminiscent of real streets, and it becomes clear why the cemetery is called Monumental.

The place was often bought in advance for the whole family at once; only rich people could afford it. Therefore, burials are also important from a historical point of view – you can immediately see who was rich and had the greatest influence in Milan in a given period.

The sculptures and tombstones reflect styles from different periods, dating back to the mid-19th century. It is noticeable that before there was a fashion for antiquity, then the sculptures became more realistic, there are even several tombstones in the Art Nouveau style, abstract art and modernism.

Map

Cemetery map, full size.

Chapel

You should also go inside the Famedio Chapel, located at the entrance, and admire the richly painted interiors. The building also contains the tombs of Milan’s most respected citizens. The most famous of them is the Italian writer Alessandro Mazzoni. There is also a memorial to soldiers who died in the First World War.

The chapel was built according to the design of Carlo Machiachini and is an architectural monument and a prominent representative of Italian architecture.

Location and hours

The cemetery is located at Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale, admission is free. Open from 8:00 to 18:00 all days except Monday. At the entrance there is a plan map on which the graves of famous people are marked. It’s easy to get here by metro to the stop of the same name.

The Monumental Milan cemetery is one of the most unusual and impressive in Europe. Walking through it is more like walking through a museum with sculptures of different styles, or even through a city with small cathedral-mausoleums.

Map

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