Although it might seem like a somewhat grim visit, the Cimitero Monumentale is a veritable open air museum, with a large number of tombs with significant artistic merit.
Milan’s enormous Cimitero Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery in English) is extremely famous for its numerous beautifully decorated tombs. The mausoleums are so extravagant and original that it is considered by many as an open-air museum with genuine “works of art” from the nineteenth century until the present day.
The Cimitero was founded in 1866 to unify several small and unsanitary cemeteries distributed in Milan.
An open-air museum
Measuring over 250.000 square meters, the cemetery has a large collection of Italian sculptures, Greek temples, obelisks and even a small version of Trajan’s Column.
As soon as you walk in through the main entrance you will see a type of “Hall of Fame”, where hundreds of Italy’s most renowned architects, sportsmen, actors, journalists, musicians and many others are buried.
Some of the most impressive tombs (and which are not to be missed) include a white sculpted tower that represents the life and death of Christ, belonging to the Bernocchi family, a curious pyramid built for the Bruni family and several sculptures representing The Last Supper commissioned by the Campari family.
It is the second largest cemetery in Milan and contains a Jewish section and other tombs of non-Catholic families.
To the left of the main entrance is a photography exhibition which shows the development of the cemetery. When you reach the end of the exhibition you will come across two electric hearses built during the 1920s.
The Cimitero Monumentale is one of the most impressive attractions in Milan. Far from the typical dismal cemetery, it is a place packed with remarkable sculptures and works of art in all shapes and sizes.
At the main entrance, visitors can find maps of the cemetery with the most impressive tombs marked on it. It is definitely worth getting one to make sure you see all the beautiful mausoleums.
Tuesday to Sunday: from 8 am until 6 pm
Tram: Farini Ferrari, lines 3, 4, 7 and 11; Bramante Monumentale, lines 11, 12 and 14.
Bus: lines 37, 70 and 94.
Metro: Garibaldi, line M2 and Monumentale, line M5.
Piazza Gae Aulenti (833 m) Parco Sempione (1.4 km) Triennale (1.6 km) Pinacoteca di Brera (1.7 km) Castello Sforzesco (1.7 km)