Sunday, April 6, 2008

Protestant Cemetery in Rome

For centuries in Rome it was illegal for non-Catholics to be buried in churches or consecrated ground. In the 18th century, the pope decreed some unused pasture land as suitable for burying foreigners. This land was bounded by two impressive ancient monuments, the Pyramid of Cestius and the Aurelian Wall. In the centuries since then the poets Shelley and Keats were buried in the Protestant Cemetery as well as the founder of European Communism, Antonio Gramsci and Gregory Corso, the "4th Beat Poet." Even Henry James buried his character Daisy Miller in the cemetery. Some have compared this cemetery to Pere Lachaise in Paris, not only because famous artists, writers and thinkers are interred there, but because the setting is dramatic, romantic and as quintessentially Roman as Pere Lachaise is Parisian. To visit the Cemetery, take the Metro Line B and get off at Piramide.

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