Venice Stories and Tips

San Michele - Cemetery Island

From Venice's Fondamente Nuove, you have a clear view of the city's own necropolis, San Michele. It is but a short vaporetto ride across the lagoon to the walled cemetery island. Those who disembark here include not only camera-laden tourists, but black-clad widows bearing flowers for their loved ones. I always endeavor to visit the cemeteries wherever I go, as how a culture deals with death says much about their beliefs about life. San Michele is a worthwhile visit, to a quiet place in a garden setting, with a wide variety of memorials.

People are still buried here today, and the Venetians do not go for the plain tombstones so often seen in New England. Little statues are set up on the tombs, along with candles and flowers. Some tombstones feature pictures or engravings of their occupants. Other ones are the best of funeral statuary, winged angels, sobbing women, and sad little cherubs.

It is entirely possible to get lost here, and I feared I would not see it all. I didn't see any of the famous-name graves.

The cemetery island also has a small church and a cloister, with views out to the sea.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip