Staglieno

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Lucky Poet » Thu May 03, 2012 9:27 pm

Bravo, Mr Dammit. I see what you mean about it being quite bombastic compared with Staglieno, and I love the Art Deco ones.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Doug » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:20 am

well done, what a find and such good pics, thanks for sending. Liked you pic of genoa, drove through the city many years ago, an experience not easily forgotten
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:47 pm

Back in Milano.

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"Life's little accidents" indeed. I was in Genova again last week with plenty of time planned to pay another visit to Staglieno. However the day before I'd badly bashed my knee up swimming, so thought it better to rest it instead of hobbling around all afternoon.

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Next day I was back in Milano and was curious to see if Work and the Breath Of Life had been restored yet. Sadly it's still covered in scaffolding without a trace of any start to the project. In Italy this kind of situation can drag on for years, but at least I could track down some stuff I'd missed in April.

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Francesco Bruni tomb

I'd photographed the pyramid built for Francesco Bruni already, very badly. Hopefully this is a better job. He died in 1876 and the elaborate tomb is by Angelo Colla (Architect) and Giulio Monteverde (sculpture).

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The Dream of Death

I especially wanted to see the grave of Isabella Airoldi Casati, The Dream Of Death, by Enrico Butti. Isabella was 24 when she died in 1889. Butti's bronze, symbolist monument was completed in 1891 and exhibited to great acclaim at the Brera Triennale.

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This bizarre Arabian Nights fantasy is for Roberto Castelli who's portrait appears on the bronze magic carpet in the centre. Called Christianity, by Enrico Astorri, completed in 1904, its only obvious Christian motif is the small crucifix held aloft by the incongruous Bedouin boy (who may possibly be an unorthodox portrayal of John the Baptist?).

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In contrast I found this beautiful, tiny art deco jewel of a grave tucked away at the far end of the site.

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The blazing summer light was too harsh to shoot decent pictures, as were the 36 degrees temperatures so this was a short visit, and the pain in my knee didn't help either. Still an amazing place though.

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Duca grave

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Lucini family grave

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Rossi grave

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De Ambrogi family grave

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:02 pm

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So I finally made it to the Monumentale in Torino, twice in fact, and while it was the last of the three great Italian cemeteries I visited in was the first to be created, founded in 1827 and officially open in 1829. From outside the Porta Suza train station take the no 13 tram and change at Rossini to get the 68 bus from the stop on Via dell'Accademia Albertina. Or you can, as I discovered, walk there as it isn’t too far and you’ll be almost as quick as the teeny tiny bus which crawls along.

It was the busiest of the trio and the vast modern sections are well tended and attended (for want of a better word). Like Staglieno it has its own internal bus service and it needs it, the place is gigantic, so big that large plots are still available to be used in the future. At one point as I left one arcade to see yet another huge one laid out before me I felt dismayed by the scale of the place.

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The historic, sculpture filled part takes up less than half the site, the modern sections still very much in use make up the majority of the graveyard.

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Just a small part of the modern section

While it lacks the erotic work in abundance at Staglieno or the vast mausoleums and Art Deco tombs of Milano it is still very much worth a visit for the general variety and sheer quality of many of the pieces on display.

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It can boast probably Bistolfi’s greatest creation, his Angel of Death, a truly scary looking apparition, but would you know it? It is currently covered in scaffolding and trapped behind a condensation covered Perspex sheet. I’d quickly checked Work and the Breath of Life in Milano before heading to Torino and can confirm that it too is still surrounded by that horrible pink scaffolding more than a year on.

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Primo Levi

There are few internationally known personalities buried here either, probably the best known is in one of the three Jewish sections. Local lad Primo Levi is here, author of the classic Auschwitz survivor memoir IF THIS IS A MAN and its incredible companion piece, THE TRUCE. This was the quietest part of the cemetery while I was there, not another person in sight, an odd experience as the rest of the place is so busy. There are several small chapels and arcades in the historic sections where you’ll suddenly find you are all alone with just the birdsong (or in one section, piped sacred music).

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There is a type of bird there too which sounds exactly like a human making a “tut tut tut” sound, so if you hear that don’t worry, you’re not being told off, it’s just the wildlife. I was conscious however of the “no unauthorised photography” sign I spotted just inside the main entrance gate, something Geonova and Milano don’t have. Fortunately nobody seemed to be policing this, though the first time I heard that bird I thought they were.

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Marchionesse Elisabetta Sanese tomb, by Giuseppe Bogliani, 1835. The “star” of the piece though is not the dying Marchionesse but the survivor showing her piety by the deathbed, the actress Carlotta Marchionni who lifts her mother’s hand to her head for a parting blessing.

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Jean Servais tomb, by Lorenzo Vergnano, 1892

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Bizarrely enough this Etruscan style tomb had no name on it.

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Giuseppina Castellazzo tomb, detail

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One of the star attractions of the cemetery. Laura Vigo grave, by Pietro Canonica, 1908

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Casana family tomb, by Davide Calandra, 1910

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Grave of Teresa Fererro, who went under the stage name of Isa Bluette. She was a showgirl, actress and singer who died aged 41 in 1939. Her curious grave by Giacomo Giorgis seems to portray her “playing” dead, her husband’s photograph by her head. They were apparently married when she was on her deathbed. He, actor Nuto Navarinni’s name is also on the tomb so I suppose he’s in there too, though he was married twice more after Isa’s demise and lived till 1973.

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Calagaris family mausoleum. This bonkers tomb from 1954 particularly caught my eye. Designed by Fillipo Chriss it’s made from ceramic plaques.

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Giuseppe Durio tomb, Grief Comforted by Memories by Leonardo Bistolfi, 1901

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When Hannibal’s army finally irrupted into Italy from the Alps close to Torino it found ready and willing allies among the local tribe, whom the Romans called “Celts”. Obviously this family chose to identify with the ancient ancestors with this magnificent Celtic cross.

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This extravagant tomb of industrialist Giuseppe Pongiglione is filled with fantastic details including a stone train, a rat and a large moth emerging from a chrysalis. Pongiglione strides proudly from his open grave, watch in hand, confidently expectant of his assured place in eternity, a punctual angel on hand to guide him, more servant than heavenly host. Sculpted by Lorenzo Vergnano, it’s subject had a great deal of say in how he was to be portrayed, indeed the work was completed 15 years before his death in 1886. Unfortunately it’s in urgent need of restoration and the marble and iron are rotting away, so much for eternity.

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Stone train

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Doctor Giacinto Pacchiotti tomb, by Luigi Contratti, 1896. The doctor is shown as a philanthropist, giving comfort to the deathbed figure who dominates the piece. Usually a father or mother, here it is an anonymous workman wearing a pair of wonderfully sculpted boots.

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Amalia Porcheddu Dianesi tomb, by Edoardo Rubino (sculptor) and Giulio Casanova (architect), 1912

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Grave of Francesco Ballada, 1933. Died age 11

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Interesting one this, the grave of Antonio Marro. This is his life sized portrait. He died in 1913 and was a leading figure in the young fields of psychiatry and sociology; he’s portrayed literally measuring a mind as though the exterior could equate the interior life of a person, however the skull doubles as a traditional pre-Christian symbol of mortality. He was also fascinated by criminal psychology. There are schools and hospitals dotted over Italy named after him today. One of his less commendable legacies was his son Giovanni, a eugenicist who became a “racial scientist” during the Fascist era, writing junk like “The Superiority of the Italian Race” in which he compares Jews to octopi because “slimy creature, it is almost symbolic of evasiveness, but it grasps everything, and everything sticks to the tentacles and suckers around its formidable masticatory apparatus.” And so on. The Nazi fellow traveller died in 1951 and his main legacy is in the museum of Ancient Egyptian artifacts to which he contributed as an archaeologist and curator, the finest in Italy and a major tourist attraction in Torino.

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My favourite in the whole graveyard, it wouldn't be out of place in Staglieno, a stunning piece by Giacomo Ginotti (sculptor) and Crescentino Caselli (architect) called The Wake at the Sepulcher. It is the tomb of Brondelli di Brondello who died in 1886.

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A few days later I made it back to Staglieno. At hotels in both Torino and Genova I was given tourist information maps, and while both cemeteries were within the boundaries covered by the maps neither of them were marked and yet both are fascinating places and Staglieno in particular is one of the world’s wonders. Staglieno update to follow soon.

One advisory note. If you are planning a visit, all three graveyards are closed on Mondays.

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Famiglia Davigini
Last edited by Toby Dammit on Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby rabmania » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:25 am

The anticipation of seeing a TD update from Italy is perhaps unsurpassed in my internet wanderings, and this post matched my expectations.

Must go and see these three cemeteries!

Thanks Toby.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:59 pm

Cheers Rabmania. Sadly though my Staglieno posts are nearly finished. The odd tomb dotted round Italy aside (there are some great ones in Fererra) I've done with the big three. Will add some more Staglieno stuff soon and then, "basta".
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Re: Staglieno

Postby rabmania » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:33 pm

Toby Dammit wrote:Cheers Rabmania. Sadly though my Staglieno posts are nearly finished. The odd tomb dotted round Italy aside (there are some great ones in Fererra) I've done with the big three. Will add some more Staglieno stuff soon and then, "basta".


When you finish with Staglieno TD, it will feel to me like I've just finished reading a fine series of books (pace The Aubrey/Maturin novels of Patrick O'Brian), there will be joy and an acute sense of loss. Those who have not yet followed your travels in Italy's cemeteries are in for a treat. A wider audience beckons, surely?
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:39 pm

rabmania wrote:A wider audience beckons, surely?


Funny you should say that Rabmania, watch this space later in the month…

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“There may be prettier women in Europe,” Mark Twain wrote of the ladies of Genova “but I doubt it.” He was also, like so many, stunned by his experience of Staglieno. In his travel book THE INNOCENTS ABROAD he said “and we shall continue to remember it after we shall have forgotten the palaces.” Of the sculptures he noted “that they are exquisitely wrought and are full of grace and beauty”. He saw it just 17 years or so after it opened and back then the marble skin of the statues was still gleaming white. “They are new and snowy; every outline is perfect, every feature guiltless of mutilation, flaw, or blemish; and therefore, to us these far-reaching ranks of bewitching forms are a hundred fold more lovely than the damaged and dingy statuary they have saved from the wreck of ancient art and set up in the galleries of Paris for the worship of the world.”

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Interestingly he also noted that the women of Genova at that time dressed like “snowflakes” being “robed in a cloud of white from head to foot”, unconsciously conflating beauty and death in that most 19th century fashion*, comparing them to “angels” then pointing out that angels “in pictures” are often nude, “they wear nothing but wings”.

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Bartolemeo Queirolo (1910), by Guiseppe Navone (detail)

Whatever may be said of the women of Genova today, I am in full agreement with the assessment of a later well-travelled American author on Staglieno - “one of the wonders of the world” according to Ernest Hemingway (though I’ve never found an actual source for this assertion, rather it’s become one of those “facts” that exist on the internet). However my second visit was pretty frustrating. I didn’t get there until late in the afternoon when the best light had been and gone, leaving me with just under a couple of hours till closing time.

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At one point I was running around franticly like Tuco in the graveyard at the end of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, desperately searching for the figure of Gennaro Rubiera (rather than Arch Stanton). On a hunch I ended up heading straight for it, shot some pictures and that was it, 4.30 and gates closing time. While I pretty much got what I was I was planning on photographing there was no time for the accidental encounters a much longer visit would have brought. As it was I did find the wonderful and quit life affirming sculpture of Alfredo Gargiullo, a piece I’d never read about before or seen a picture of.

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Alfredo Gargiullo (1928), Olympic sprinter, died age 21

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Closer. The Appiani family tomb by Demetrio Paernio

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Carlo Raggio (1872), by Augusto Rivalta

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G.B. Lavarello (1914), The Vision of Death, Demetrio Paernio

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Gennaro Rubiera (1953), Giuseppe Mancuso. Died off the coast of Normandy, aged 31, "Noble daring generous"

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How I hell I missed this one first time around is beyond me as I would have walked past it. Possibly by that time I was suffering from sheer overload? This fabulous thing is the tomb of Francesco Oneto (1882) and was the work of Giulio Monteverde. Much copied there are versions of it in graveyards worldwide. A couple of weeks after photographing it I bought a second hand copy of Barry Gifford’s A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF HORROR MOVIES, a book I loved as a child but never owned. There on almost the very last page was a still from HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS and in it was a rather masculine version of Monteverde’s angel, another instance of how I somehow knew about Staglieno all along.

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Rosso family tomb

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This is one I went back especially hoping to see. It’s a bit hard to find as the cloister it’s in is closed off at one and end and you can only really get to it through the first “garden” section of the graveyard. It is the tomb of Caterina Campodonico who died in 1882. She was a nut and bread seller, and she has holds a string of her wares in this portrait completed a year before her death. Wearing her finest lace and starched apron this piece, by Lorenzo Orengo, cost Caterina her life savings but led to great posthumous fame and affection among the Genovese public. Married at an early age to a drunken waster she took the unusual step for the time of dumping her husband and living life an independent single woman. The inscription on the base of her tomb asks the passer by to say a prayer for her. This sculpture is near unique for its period in that commemorates not a wealthy man or family but a single working class woman.

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I guess a return trip in the future will be in order after all. Certainly it would be wonderful to see on a misty day.

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*Or perhaps as a 20th century boy who’s read too much Freud I’m reading too much into that?

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Lawman » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:26 pm

Outstanding! :) Loving your pictures Toby, they are excellent
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:14 pm

Toby Dammit wrote:Barry Gifford’s A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF HORROR MOVIES


Oops, I always call him that. I mean Denis...

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Lucky Poet » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:02 pm

Bravo again. Would it be rude to ask for more? I eagerly await the news in that regard.

As a sidenote, I made an attempt to see the cemetery in Milan earlier this year, but was thwarted by some truly godawful weather, which was a bit annoying. Another time, perhaps.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:31 pm

Lucky Poet wrote:Bravo again. Would it be rude to ask for more?


I'm afraid I've posted all the ones I considered my "best", but I can do a small selection later this month, maybe from all 3 cemeteries together. Plus I'll have something extra on top of that.

Shame you didn't get to the Monumetale in Milano, you wouldn't just have the bad weather though, it's a nightmare to get to due to the immense area of construction work going on around it and the Garibaldi FS station just now.

Good news in Staglieno is that a very pro active group of wealthy Americans have taken an interest in the place (The American Friends of Italian Monumental Sculpture) and initiated conservation projects which I spotted on my last visit. People on the site working away too, and not just covering something in scaffolding and leaving it for years.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby cheesemonster » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:51 pm

Great pics! I've not been to any of the above but if it's any interest Campo Verano in Rome is huge and worth a visit too.

On google maps

These pics are from Jan 2007
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:05 pm

cheesemonster wrote:Image


Oh, that one is crisp. I'd have put good money on it being the work of Giulio Monteverde. A quick bit bit or research and yes, it's by him and called L'Angelo della Notte (Angel of the Night), done in 1885. Next time I'm in Roma...
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Lucky Poet » Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:45 am

It is quite something. How on earth is it possible to learn how to carve stone so it looks like fine cloth? Amazing.
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