Monumentale, open cast museum
A historic site in the growing town
Milan Monumentale cemetery is an extraordinary “concrete” evidence of 144 years of the city’s history. Since its opening, in 1866, it has gradually been enriched with a growing number of Italian sculptures varying from classical style, Art Nouveau, up to contemporary style.
These sculptures were made by famous sculptors and architects, such as Luca Beltrami, Giò Ponti, Pietro Cascella, Giò Pomodoro, Giacomo Manzù, Arturo Martini, Lucio Fontana, Medardo Rosso, Vincenzo Vela and Adolfo Wildt. Greek temples, elaborate obelisks, stylized crucifixes, imposing angels, agonizingly sensual maids and other unique works are set among paths and gardens.
Many people in various fields such as industry, finance, culture and sport, who contributed to the magnificence of Milan, are at the Monumentale. Also Filippo Turati and Anna Kuliscioff, founders of the reformist theory, lie under a sober grave in the form of a rough rock.
The Monumentale cemetery is, in fact, the second most visited place, after the Duomo, by tourists searching for Milan’s treasures.
1866, from project to reality
The idea of establishing a great cemetery in Milan, in order to substitute the numerous, unhealthy, as well as shabby suburban cemeteries was conceived in 1837. It was then developed in 1862, with the independence from the Austrian rule, and when the already famous Lombard architect Carlo Maciachini won, with his project, a competition announced by the Milan Municipality in 1860.
The Monumentale cemetery was then opened in 1866 to welcome Milanese citizens “of all kinds and fortunes”.
However, since the beginning it was clear that the Municipality wanted it to be a monument celebrating the city of Milan, a place of civic memories, dedicated not only to the grieving, but also to a wider public.
Maciachini’s work embraces various stylistic suggestions according to the eclectic taste of the period, combining the Pisan-Gothic forms with the Lombard-Romantic’s and the Byzantine tendencies.
Thanks to the sculptures and architectural works of the Monumentale we can discover the city’s events and a great part of its modern artistic history. From the realism and eclecticism of the end of the Nineteenth century, to Art Nouveau and symbolism of the beginning of the Twentieth century, from the ‘30s to contemporary times, it is a real and extraordinary “open-cast museum”, where some of the best Italian artists are represented.
Together with wealthy families, belonging to the Milanese world of culture and entrepreneurship, there are also many famous characters whose names are linked to the political and civil history of Milan and Italy, such as: Alessandro Manzoni, Carlo Cattaneo, Luca Beltrami, Carlo Forlanini, Salvatore Quasimodo, Filippo Turati, Anna Kuliscioff and Arturo Toscanini.
Emerging place in the graveyard, it is the Pantheon, dedicated to the memory of the most illustrious Milanese citizens. Throughout the years, the Chapel has been enriched with names and memories, as a great “honour book” given by Milan to its worthiest citizens.
Projected by Maciachini in about 1865, it is set on steps and it represents the perspective centre of a visual axis of the Graveyard that begins at the Memorial Chapel and ends at the Crematory Temple.
Projected by Maciachini in Doric style, and funded by Alberto Keller, who was a supporter of the cremation, it was the first crematory oven built in Europe.
A detailed plan with best sites localisation and descriptions is available at the bottom of this page for you to download
How to get there
Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale
Tram: 2 - 4 - 12 - 14 - 33
Bus: 37 - 94
Underground: M2 - M5 (stop Garibaldi)
Underground railway: Garibaldi
- From Tuesday to Sunday: from 8.00 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- 1st of January, Easter, Easter Monday, 1st of May, 2nd of June, 15th of August, 8th, 25th and 26th of December: from 8.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Public can enter until 30 minutes before the closing time