The Monumental Cemetery of Milan (Cimitero Monumentale di Milano) was designed by Carlo Maciachini and opened in 1866. The site allows visitors to time-travel into the history of Milan, as they can spot the tombs of figures whose names now adorn major metro stations, roads, and squares.
The cemetery features several mausoleums of prominent local industrial families as well as a large Famedio (Hall of Fame) with the tombs of honored citizens, including Alessandro Manzoni, writer of the acclaimed 19th-century novel The Betrothed. The Famedio is a particularly dazzling architectural achievement, with a neo-medieval exterior, large gothic rose window, and decorative floral and geometric motifs.
But the cemetery’s beauty continues beyond the Hall of Fame. It’s famous for its abundance of artistic tombs, sculptures, and elaborate mausoleums, ranging from classical to contemporary styles. Take, for instance, the tomb of Antonio Bernocchi—an Italian industrialist—which consists of a pillar meant to evoke the Tower of Babel and is decorated with intricately carved scenes from the Stations of the Cross (a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion). While many tombs bear Christian iconography, the cemetery isn’t only for Christians; there is also a Jewish section.
The cimitero is a peaceful place to visit, very silent and shaded by tall trees that make you forget of being in the middle of Milan.
Know Before You Go
Entrance to the cemetery is free. The easiest way to get there is by metro M5, Monumentale Station. It's open every day 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except Monday. Free guided tours can be booked by phone or by e-mail.