For sheer atmosphere, this cemetery is hard to beat, especially at sunset.
This heavenly oasis of calm in the midst of a ruckus of traffic has been Rome’s final resting place for non-Catholic foreigners since 1784. Verdant and atmospheric, it’s popular with modern-day travellers keen to recapture the atmosphere of the Grand Tour. Unofficially known as the Protestant Cemetery, this charmingly old-world corner of the city also hosts Buddhists, Russian Orthodox Christians and atheists: a sign points to the grave of Antonio Gramsci, founder of the Italian Communist Party. In the older sector, close to the first century Pyramid of Caius Cestius, is the grave of John Keats, who coughed his last at the age of 25, after only four months in Rome; in fine Romantic fashion his anonymous epitaph concludes: ‘Here lies one whose name was writ on water.’ This was all the poet wanted; his executors added the rest. Next to him lies the friend who ministered to him on his death bed, Joseph Severn (who died six decades later). The larger, newer section is much more crowded, and slopes up to the crenellations of the Aurelian Wall. At the top, slightly to the left of the tower, is the tomb of Shelley, who died a year after Keats in a stormy shipwreck in the Bay of la Spezia, having unfortunately ignored a shipbuilder’s advice in favour of his personal modi cations to his boat. Just in front of his tombstone is the small monument to Belinda Lee, a Devon-born lm star who lived in Rome but was killed in a car accident in California in 1961, aged 25.
|Venue name:||Cimitero Acattolico|
Via Caio Cestio, 6
00153 Roma RM
|Opening hours:||9am-5pm Mon-Sat; 9am-1pm Mon-Sat.|
|Transport:||Metro Circo Massimo|