The Egyptians had their pyramids; the Milanese have the Cimitero Monumentale, last resting place of the perpetually ostentatious. The cemetery was begun in 1866 by Carlo Maciachini, the result being 250,000sq m (2,688,000sq ft) of pure eclecticism. It's virtually an open-air museum of art nouveau, though later Italian artists - including Giacomo Manzù, Adolfo Wildt and Lucio Fontana - were also commissioned to produce monuments.
The whole complex is centred on the 'Temple of Fame' (Famedio), where celebrated milanesi and other illustrious bodies are buried, including Luca Beltrami (restorer of the Castello Sforzesco and champion of the neo-Gothic movement), conductor Arturo Toscanini, poet Salvatore Quasimodo, and entertainer Giorgio Gaber. The most famous resident is novelist Alessandro Manzoni, author of I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), whose tomb is right in the middle of the Famedio.
Non-Catholics are buried in separate sectors; the Jewish sector, to the south, is notable for its comparative restraint. A free map of the most noteworthy monuments is available from the entrance booth.