It may seem a bit weird to make visiting a city cemetary part of an Italian vacation, but Genova’s monumental Staglieno cemetary is a must see if you are in Ligurua.
It is the largest monumental cemetary in all of Europe, covering more than one square Kilometer. They even built a replica of Roma’s pantheon.
There are thousands of sculptures and each and every one is different. You could easily spend several days in the cemetary studying the detail and imagining what the family’s wanted the artist to portray.
The cemetary starts out on a relatively flat site and moves up two steep hillsides. There are huge monuments and surprises around every corner.
Our biggest surprise was the tribute to Giuseppe Mazzini, one of the founding fathers of the Italian republic who is entombed in the cemetary. The official ceremony involved commanders from all branches of the Italian military, carabinieri, polizia locale dignitaries and school children. The gentleman wearing the Italian tricolor sash is the mayor of Genova Marco Doria, a descendant of Genovese mariner and mercenary Andrea Doria. While dropping names I would be remiss as a Genovese if I failed to mention a couple more famous locals, Christopher Columbus, and current Italian political reformist Beppe Grillo. However, now time to get back to some amazing sculptures from the cemetary:
A sailor killed or lost at sea
Warrior trouncing a serpent
A simple portrayal of grief
The pleats on the dresses looked exactly like fabric
Hard to explain how spacious this place actually is
The detail carved into the tomb is unreal
An angel places a wreath upon the deceased persons head
A begger receives money from this family. Perhaps they were philanthropists???
The stone bible has words carved in it
A deceased member of Italy’s army
A nonna with unreal detail
These were but a few of thousands of ornate sculptures at Staglieno. We are so glad we had the opportunity to see this incredible place. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Genova this is a must see.