Staglieno

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:59 am

Reading almost nothing but Sebald recently, it came as no surprise that the unreliable narrator of his novel VERTIGO, researching in a library in Verona (although it is apparently closed for a holiday) finds a postcard photograph of a general view of Stagliono cemetery in a book which he never names. He steals ("pockets") it and goes on to describe the old picture (which is also reproduced) but this brief paragraph aside it is never mentioned again directly.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:06 am

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Sometime in February 1897 Constance Holland glimpsed her husband for the last time through the glass peephole of a prison door. As she left Reading Gaol in tears he, convict number C.3.3 had not even been aware that she was there. He had last saw her a year before on February 19 1896 in the same jail when Constance had come to inform him of the death of his mother. They would never meet again and she died in Italy aged just 39 following surgery on her spine on April 07 1898 (nor would he ever again see their two children). Constance Holland was buried in Staglieno cemetery.

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In March 1899 her husband travelling under the name of Sebastian Melmoth, on his way to Switzerland during the brief wandering time he had left to live after his release from prison, brought flowers to her grave in the "cemetery at the foot hills that become mountains around the city" (as Richard Ellmann decribed it). Although she never divorced Oscar Wilde, she changed her name to Holland following his disgrace and two year sentence at hard labour. Oscar read the simple tomb inscription "Constance Mary, daughter of Horace Lloyd QC" and felt he had never existed. "I was deeply affected" he wrote to Robert Ross, "with a sense, also, of the uselessness of all regrets. Nothing could have been otherwise, and Life is a very terrible thing."

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The epitaph "wife of Oscar Wilde" has since been added to the base of the simple celtic cross over her grave. I didn't managed to visit and photograph it myself on my trips to Staglieno so far but I do think it is sad that Constance is remembered only in the brief inscriptions on her headstone as a very Victorian piece of property - as some man's child and another man's wife.

"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" reads the final inscription on her little Irish protestant monument. A quote from the last book of the bible, even this recalls her errant husband's brilliant jest in his play A Woman of No Importance.

Lord Illingworth: The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden.

Mrs. Allonby: It ends with Revelations.

(photos here are more of my random Staglieno pics, and not related to Constance's final resting place)
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Re: Staglieno

Postby rabmania » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:22 pm

BY way of prompting Mr Dammit to visit and muse upon more cemeteries...

Nice...

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:40 pm

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La Certosa in Ferrara was I'm afraid a huge and even depressing disappointment. I went there one sunny afternoon in April earlier this year during a journey up the east coast from Bari to Venice, taking in Matera and the separate republic of San Marino along the way. The main attraction for me in Ferrara was Giulio Monteverde and Luigi Bolonesi's 1880 tomb built for Count Masseri, but would you just know it....?

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About half the place is not only covered in scaffolding and closed, but seems to be locked up and simply abandoned to it's fate. Even in the city centre the facade of the Duomo, usually the local symbol of civic pride in every Italian heart, was covered in obtrusive orange plastic netting which seemed to declare either "we're broke" or worse, "we don't give a fuck". (The celebrated D' Este castle was similarly covered in orange plastic netting and largely locked up). Odd as Ferrara otherwise seemed a prosperous, bustling, eco friendly small city where the bicycle was king. Instead of being killed by some arse hole on a scooter now you could merely be maimed on almost every street by pelotons of self righteous cyclists of all ages (even if you were on a "pedestrian only", narrow ally).

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Famiglia Pietro Beretta (the gun manufacturers)

You're not even safe if the bloody cemetery from 'em, in the few bits that haven't been shut off. Open in 1813, la Certosa is another of those Napoleonic era monastic conversions which imitated nearby Bologna. Lord Byron on visiting the place in June 1819 declared the tomb inscriptions he saw at Ferrara superior to anything he had read at the future, Bolognese capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Indeed he wrote of one epitaph "I never met with any ancient or modern that pleased me a tenth part so much."

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Ercole Bevilacqua Aldobrandini, 1827 by Alessandro Franceschi

Famed today are its small surviving selection of neo-classic, high relief tombs. However as I'd come all this way I eventually became exasperated by so much of the relatively small site being closed off that, near 6pm when the place seemed deserted, a few cyclists excepted, I started to do a bit of "urban exploration".

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During this I discovered an astounding, massive, marble clad interior tomb filled with a strange mix of Jewish and Christian iconography, one of the most amazing Italian memorials I have ever seen. Not supposed to be there I snapped a couple of quick and not very good pictures and left (the angry buzzing of a nearby wild bee's nest didn't help either). I have been able to find out not a single bit of information about this sepulchre since, who it was for, who designed it or when it was built.

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The mystery tomb

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Zeni family tomb by Camillo Torreggiani

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Chiarabelli Azzolini tomb, 1886, by L. Legnani

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Francesco Mayr, "Faith" 1838, by Lorenze Bartolino

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Zagatti family tomb, 1911

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Vincenzo Navarra grave

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Augusto Forti 1909 by Gino Nicoli (and Giovanni Beretta architect)

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Famiglia Lattuga tomb

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The cloisters are filled with sculpture such as the figures here, probably designed by Camillo Torreggiani

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Countess Tereza Branzo 1834

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The little owl on the 1863 tomb of Tomasso Bonaccioli (a veterinarian professor) carved by A. Zuffi

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In late April the wisteria is in full bloom all over Italy, the intense aroma adding yet another sensual pleasure to a land already rich with such experiences.

As for the tomb of Count Masseri which I had come all this way to see, I'm pretty sure I know which courtyard it must be in, namely the most inaccessible and closed off part of the whole city. I'd hoped to see this, one of the greatest little 19th century art installations in Italy, but Ferrara can't be arsed to display it just now, and sadly I doubt I'll ever be back there again to see if they change their minds. But you never know.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:59 pm

Oops, forgot my usual satellite view. Il cimitero monumentale della Certosa di Ferrara.

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:40 pm

As quick footnote, at the end of my east coast trip in April I visited the basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Buried here in Venice is the heart of the great sculptor Antonio Canova in a magnificent tomb based on designs he drew up himself to adorn the bones of the painter Titian. It was completed after his death in 1822 by his students. This thread would not have been possible without the chisel of Canova, who's unprecedented 1805 memorial to Maria Cristina of Austria in Vienna established all the significant innovations addressed by every Italian memorial sculptor for the next 150 years.

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The giant pyramid and processional group in the Venice tomb inverts the mournful group seem in the Vienna monument. On the left a lion (symbol of strength, and of course with it's wings, Venice itself) and a human spirit, his torch extinguished, fall into the sleep of death, life slowly ebbing away. On the right Virtue carries the deceased's ashes in an urn followed by other allegorical figures.

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As in his Vienna pyramid, the portrait medallion of the deceased is held aloft by two angels framed by a serpent biting it's own tail, a symbol of eternity. Again the Vienna monument is inverted, Canova is seen in right profile where Maria Cristina was portrayed facing left.

Titian, whom the tomb was designed for, never wanted to be buried in Venice. Instead he wished to be interred in his home town of Pieve di Cadore in the Dolomite mountains. Unfortunate enough to die in a time of chaos and plague (at the age of nearly 100) his bones instead lie in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari opposite Canova's heart, beneath a huge lump of 19th century marble architecture and sculpture. Two of Titian's greatest masterpieces can still be seen the same Basilica while the picture he painted to adorn his never realised grave is in the nearbye Gallerie dell'Accademia. Canova's (heartless) body lies in Possango and his right hand is also in Venice, preserved in a vase in the Accademia di Belle Arti.

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Lucky Poet » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:26 pm

Well, after the disappointment of Ferrara it puts things on a more positive note. (If you can call a tomb positive, that is.) What a stunning piece of work - thanks for showing us it.

Quite a tradition the fella Canova started there. I do hope to be able to see some of this marvellous stuff for myself at some point.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby rabmania » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:15 am

Marvellous TD. I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon in Rome's Verano cemetery recently (I didn't see all of it, even with the in-cemetery bus service), and rather wished I had someone with TD's knowledge to show me round! Anyway...
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Lucky Poet » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:04 pm

An in-cemetery bus service? Not bad :)

That second-last one's quite something - what an expression. How on earth would you even begin to learn how to sculpt like that?

(Go to an art school or be apprenticed in about 1850 I suppose, but you know what I mean.)
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Re: Staglieno

Postby rabmania » Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:08 am

Lucky Poet wrote:An in-cemetery bus service? Not bad :)

That second-last one's quite something - what an expression. How on earth would you even begin to learn how to sculpt like that?

(Go to an art school or be apprenticed in about 1850 I suppose, but you know what I mean.)


I need to visit more Italian cemeteries...
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:03 pm

Back in April, on my journey up the east coast of Italy the train rushed past the main cemetery of Rimini. I'd stopped off at the station there the day before, heading for a hotel in the Republic of San Marino, that separate country up a nearby mountain. Next day, travelling north to Ferrara I had no time to drop by and pay my respects to the small sea-side town's most famous tomb, that of the great film director Federico Fellini and his wife, actor Giulletta Masina. Their only child, Pierfederico who lived for just a few weeks is also interred there. Designed by Arnaldo Pomodoro (famous for his sphere within a sphere series in bronze), I knew it lay just within the main gate and strained my neck to catch a glimpse of it but the train had picked up too much speed.

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Milano

A few days later I wound up my April trip. I was in Milano again and had a free afternoon to drop by the monumental cemetery to re-visit a few old faves, and even discovered a large corner of the site I had never explored before. The surrounding building work which had bedevilled reaching the place for years is finally nearing completion.

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This undated and unsigned piece is inscribed simply "Stefani"

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This beautiful 1889 piece commemorates the Garassino family and is signed by Ivo Joli

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The grave of music publisher Domenico Vismarra (1887). This haunting vision of old age was probably based on the deceased man's mother. Carved by Primo Giudici

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This haunting creature stands over the grave of Luigi (1937) and Teresa Della Torre (1947). I coulnd't find any signature.

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A different view of Davide Campari's tomb

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The Very splendid Medri tomb

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This is the grave of Daniela Samuele, who at 17 years old was the Italian national butterfly swimming champion. She was killed along with 46 others (including her coach and 6 other Italian swimmers) in the Lufthansa Flight 005 crash in 1966, at Bremen airport.

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The Mariani family grave. There are a number of these extreme, expressionist revival sculpture groups in the Milano monumentale. This one was undated but probably had a mid 1950's origin

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Another expressionist revival piece. Inscription lost under the ivy

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The Sarchi family tomb, which didn't seem to be signed or dated

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Corrado Luccardi, who died on Christmas Eve 1923, age 4. Her mother Olimpia was buried with her on her death 5 years later. The sculpture is signed G. Pero

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The frankly terrifying Guardian Angel of the Sepulchre standing over the grave of Fontana Roux was made in 1925 by Giannino Castiglioni

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This extremely curious tomb signed by V. Gasperetti was raised for the Gamba family.

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It depicts on one side animal experimentation, with dispassionate figures operating on a dog while a basket full of rabbits awaits their fate. The reverse shows people rock climbing, a couple sitting at a table under a tree, and another coulple getting their clothes off. It's one of the oddest and most unique tombstones I've ever seen.

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Another moving child's tomb. This one is for Fulvia Billi who died in 1934, age 5. The sculpture was added (unusually you would have thought) during WWII, and is signed Carlo Gadda 1941.

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A return visit to the wonderful Tullo Morgagani monument

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I had hoped to close this post by reporting that, 3 years after my first wander that Butti's Work and The Vital Breath of Life was finally restored and free of scaffolding, but no such luck.

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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:05 am

Toby Dammit wrote:Corrado Luccardi, who died on Christmas Eve 1923, age 4. Her mother Olimpia was buried with her on her death 5 years later.


That should of course read "his" mother.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Lucky Poet » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:17 pm

Indeed :)

I don't want to reply by just saying the usual 'great stuff, thanks for posting that'. But it is great stuff, so thanks for posting it.

I've maybe got a possible bit of a slim chance of perhaps visiting Milan towards the middle of the year. If so, note to self: go to the cemetery if at all possible. Maybe the scaffolding will be gone...
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:46 pm

Lucky Poet wrote:Indeed :)
a slim chance of perhaps visiting Milan towards the middle of the year. If so, note to self: go to the cemetery if at all possible. Maybe the scaffolding will be gone...


Well I hope you make it, and that the awful pink scaffolding will be gone. Remember it's close on Mondays.
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Re: Staglieno

Postby Lucky Poet » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:57 pm

Here's hoping - and I'll bear the Monday thing in mind. Thanks man :)
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