Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Although I'm familiar with mausoleums, when you say the word "cemetery" to me, I think of large expanses of open land dotted with a variety of headstones. The headstones range from the simplest of bronze plaques and white crosses to elaborate monuments that make the cemetary seem like a sculpture garden. Although I am NOT a cemetery person, when I have visited them in the states I've found them to be peaceful quiet places, perfect for a walk or drive even if you're not visiting a gravesite.

I know there are American-style cemeteries in Italy where soldiers from WWll are buried, but these are the exception rather than the rule. Here in Umbria we see small cemeteries everywhere...small walled areas, usually surrounded by cypress trees. The caskets are interred into family mausoleums that look like little churches.....



Inside are family pictures, fresh flowers and religious objects......


If the family hasn't built their own mausoleum they're interred in a large wall...


and I'd dare to say that 99% of the sites have pictures and fresh flowers.....


I recognized many family names while visiting the San Venanzo cemetery. Not surprisingly I also found it to be a very peaceful place....

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At 10/28/2008 09:23:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great photos. I confess to being somewhat fascinated with cemeteries and the manner in which people show their devotion to their loved ones. My favourite one in Italy is the main one in Venice.

At 10/28/2008 02:01:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no choice but to pass on details of your site to the carabibieri, they will make enquiries regarding the families who's relative's graves you have taken photos and published.
I urge you to respect our culture, and we do not accept our deceased to be treated with such lack of respect. You damm americans you just can't respect other cultures. This is all so upsetting.

At 10/28/2008 03:17:00 PM , Blogger Barbara said...

That last post has to be a joke, right?!? Certainly there was nothing disrespectful about the words or the pictures. Oh well, I'm just one of those 'damn Americans' with no respect for other cultures!

At 10/28/2008 04:44:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the words were fine and most pics also fine what I did find lacking respect in publishing (without permissions of families) pictures of graves with names and details of the deceased. In Italy graves are "sacrosant", I live in Umbria and I'm italian if I had gone to your blog and found a pic of the graves of one of my relatives I would have gone crazy. Try and understand why I find this upsetting, I hope that the family of the deceased who's details are on your blog don't visit it.
The pics of the graves which doesn't show details are fine and the post is interesting, I just struggle with the photo of the grave which gives details and photo of the deceased. We honour the dead in Italy and we get emotionals on the subject of respect and I feel that the privacy of the family has been infringed, I also feel that as the deceased cannot give consent to their details and pics being published, then this shouldn't have happened.
I understand that this is your blog and you may do what you wish with it,but when I saw it I did find it distressing. The fact that I have a father and grandparents in a cemetery near you, I would have been distressed if I came to your blog and found a pic of their grave and details.
My previous post was not a joke and you missed the point of why, and what part was disrespectfull.
If you can, please be aware of how we feel about this subject in Italy.

At 10/28/2008 08:55:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The spelling police will be at your door first!

Cemetery, Barb, cemetery.

At 10/29/2008 12:33:00 PM , Anonymous Carole in KC said...

I don't think you disrespected anyone's family or culture. In fact, I thought it was beautifully done. I always tell everyone in America how beautiful and different the cemetaries are in Italy.
That post didn't sound coming from an Italian as it was perfectly written in English.

At 10/29/2008 12:45:00 PM , Blogger Barbara said...

Carole,I had exctly the same thought! Today we ased some Italians if they thought it was disrspectfuland thay all said no, and that they too took picutres of cemeteries in different countries!

Thanks for the spelling correction....I just KNEW it didn't look right but for some reason never used spell check! Duh!

At 10/29/2008 01:03:00 PM , Blogger Barbara said...

To the poster who found this offensive, all I can say is I'm sorry you feel that way. The post was meant to show the beauty of the cemtary and the love and repsect people show for their families...which is the opposite of what you thought. AS I wrote earlier, even our Italian friends said they saw no disrespect and that they too take photos in cemeteries.

To anyone who sees their familiy grave here, I would hope it would be something to be proud of, knowing that all the world would see how much your relatives are loved even when they're gone.

And your threat of the carabinieri was really not nice at all!

At 10/29/2008 07:49:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carol in kc.. il mio inglese e' quasi perfetto perche' ho una laura in Inglese, ma ti assicuro che sono Italiana...........actually not that perfect at all, but good enough given that for me it is a foreing language.
I will not comment any further on this subject as I feel that the blog author just didn't get it.
Regards to all.

At 10/30/2008 09:08:00 AM , Anonymous rosa said...

Well, first of all, your pictures were nice and respectful, in my opinion.
Even if I prefer "German" graveyards, they are more... let's say, open, with more flowers, all year round, not only these days in November.
I have nice pictures of the cemetery where my mother's tomb is, in a village in the north of Veneto. I'd like to share those with you, if I only knew how to send them (can't attach them to this message!).
And, last thing, there are Italians who can write perfectly in English, at least some of them!!!!

At 10/30/2008 03:13:00 PM , Blogger Barbara said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry you were offended, but your English was perfect! Too bad you chose to hide behind the "anonymous" label.

At 10/30/2008 07:53:00 PM , Anonymous Carole in KC said...

Mi dispiace! No intention of offending any Italians on the subject of writing perfect English. My first instinct was in defense of Barbara and also not believing that the anonymous was a true Italian.
I have been enlightened and educated.

At 11/02/2008 07:52:00 AM , Anonymous Rosemary said...

You have certainly had your share of comments on this issue but I thought I would add mine. I was very surprised by the realization that taking photos of cemeteries and posting them would be interpreted as disrespectful of the Italian culture. I know that as Americans who lived in Italy for a time that we tried very hard - as I know Barbara and Art do - to understand and learn as much as we could about the Italian people and their very rich culture (my own grandparents were born in Italy). We always appreciated our Italian friends teaching us about the many, many aspects we did not know. I just wish that "Anonymous" didn't feel that he/she had to use such a scolding tone when clearly no offense had been intended. Tolerance and understanding can go a long way towards bringing about peace in our inter-connected world.

(I also want to say I thought it was insulting to "anonymous" to indicate that just because they had a good command of the English language that it suggested they were not Italian.)


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