Let me start off by saying that as someone without either parent still alive, graveyards aren’t exactly places I like to hang out at, nor am I one to go on any sort of haunted tour. But somehow, when I’m traveling, graveyards become a unique place to enjoy some quiet time away from the crowds of other tourists.
Cimitero di San Michele – Venice, Italy
I was in two minds whether to stop here en route to Murano and Burano right up until the minute the Vaporetto stopped – Locals got off, and I did too.
This ‘island of death’ did have a sobering effect on me, mostly because I had never seen graves stacked on top of each other in this way before. When writing this piece and trying to find what these ‘grave drawers’ are actually called I found out that most bodies are usually only laid to rest here for 12 years due to limited space and after that, the bones are exhumed. This is the practice in Greece too but is not something I’m comfortable with so it’s a good job I didn’t realize this as I walked around!
The island is certainly one of the places that stick out the most in my memories of Venice as a truly local place to visit. There were perhaps 10 other (uhum living) people at most on that island and it was so vast that I didn’t feel uncomfortable walking around with my camera, discreetly taking photos of the churches, memorials, and the older mausoleums, along with a quick phone shot of those death drawers.
I did leave here feeling slightly melancholy but very pleased I’d gotten off that Vaporetto to visit.
The Necropolis – Glasgow, Scotland
I only had 1 full day in Glasgow during my visit in May but I’m so glad I made this place the first stop of the day as it’s the one (and really the only) place that stays in my mind when I think of Glasgow.
Glasgow Necropolis is a vast (37 acre) multi-faith Victorian cemetery containing over 50,000 tombs and memorials for Glasgow’s most distinguished citizens.
I walked around for over an hour reading some of the inscriptions, marveling at the architectural styles and wondering who these people were, how they lived, and what they thought.
This then made me question my own life – Once I’m gone, what will I leave behind? Hopefully, it’ll be more than a fancy tombstone!
Which cemeteries have you visited on your travels?