Monumental Cemetery of Lavagna (Lavagna, Italy)

Monumental Cemetery of Lavagna (Lavagna, Italy)
In addition to the remarkable artistic heritage, the Monumental Cemetery of Lavagna represents the mirror of community through time.

About the cemetery

Monumental Cemetery of Lavagna (Lavagna, Italy)

In 1810 the construction of the cemetery began on a land owned by the Franzoni family, used for chestnuts, and situated in the area of Via Carcara.

In 1811 the castle of the Navy (used as a sighting of Saracens) was destroyed which and the stones were used to build the containment walls of the Cemetery.

The Cemetery was subject to three expansions over the years. The first expansion took place in 1870, and in 1880 there was the creation of two large funeral shrines which are based at the entrance sides of the Cemetery. The second expansion took place in 1881 and in 1900 a third expansion was decided. 

On 12 June 1913 the new part of the Cemetery was built, connected to the old part.

Most of the artifacts were made by the Lavagnese Opificio "REPETTO", carried on forward by the BIANCHI-SANGUINETI Laboratory, together with the work of local and not high-level masters. To these craft shops was later added some minor Laboratory. In the second post war the CANEPA and BERTOCCHI workshops followed one another, but only for the realization of a few artistic monuments from Carrarese.

The tombs and funeral monuments are mainly in Carrara marble, few are made with other types of marble, some are in bronze.

Symbols at the cemetery

The prevalent religion at the cemetery is the Catholic one, which is evident from the symbols on the tombs. The most ancient tombs, especially in the ancient cemetery, are adorned with statues that depict the virtues, angels, girls offering flowers, broken columns, hourglasses. The authors are not signed, or the names are no longer readable.

In the most recently built cemetery, built in the early 20th century, which constitutes a continuation of the ancient one, we move to other symbols, such as the torch of life, towards the hell dantesco, references to Gospel parables (with the triumph of liberty) and arrangements of dancing figures that feel the phenomenon of Italian artistic defined divisionism. The authors are known sculptors who signed their works.

Important graves or monuments

There are truly numerous graves of great importance that are found in the Monumental Cemetery of Lavagna and, among these, those that absolutely deserve to be mentioned are the following:

BERISSO CHAPEL

BERISSO CHAPEL

The chapel is located in the part of the ancient cemetery and was built in 1905.

The tomb, in Carrara marble, is composed of a base on which a group of figures rests, sculpted to form a pyramid. The group is made up of three figures: the soul of a woman, raised high by two angels. The whole gives a sense of upward movement, centered by the angel’s wings.

Unfortunately, the author of this work is unknown.

TOMB OF CATHERINE CANALE

TOMB OF CATHERINE CANALE

The tomb is located in the area of the ancient cemetery.

It is one of the most admired tombs, although not large. It shows a crying child, who is sad because he cannot go beyond the next door to his dead mother. The child has placed a wreath of flowers on the step, where he sits disconsolately, leaning his head on his left hand. When it rains, the drops of water run down his face and look like tears.

This is a figure that appears quite often in funerary representations and wants to represent the impossibility of reunion.

The tomb is probably from the Opificio Repetto and the sculpture is the work of one of the sculptors of the Laboratory.

TOMB  MERANI

TOMB  MERANI

It is a recent monument, which dates back to 1984, and is inserted in the part of the ancient cemetery. It is one of the few bronze works by Francesco Dallorso and represents a "Pieta" inspired by Michelangelo: Mary and Joseph of Arimathea, who support the body of Christ, which is sliding into the Sepulcher.

The bent, lifeless Christ contrast with the vigor of the male figure, which supports him with evident effort, as can be seen from the face, contracted with pain, both physical and moral.

The Virgin Mary, with a petrified face, wrapped in the splendid drapery of the veil and dress, holds the hand of her son with a gesture of extreme farewell.

REPETTO TOMB

REPETTO TOMB

The tomb is located in the area of the ancient cemetery and was built in 1878 by the sculptor Medardi Borelli, a pupil in Brera and sculptor of the Opificio Repetto.

The tomb is made up of a base with ornaments and symbols (sickle, wheat, ivy) and a statue representing "time" - an old, winged man (a symbol of transience) who is holding a sickle in his right hand and an hourglass in his left.

Note that the face of "time" is the sculptor's self-portrait.

SOLARI CHAPEL - CANEPA (formerly De Ambrosis Chapel - Giacalone)

SOLARI CHAPEL - CANEPA

The Chapel is located in the area of the new Cemetery and was built in 1922 by the Bianchi-Sanguineti Company. Thanks to the work of the sculptors Tomaso Sanguineti, Gaetano Cairoli, Enrico Graffigna and others, it can be considered the most beautiful Chapel in the Cemetery.

The marble facade, in Renaissance style, very rich in ornaments, is divided into two parts. In the lower one, two large columns flank a bronze portal with praying angels, inserted between ornate frames. A splendid high-relief depicts Charity acts as an over door.

In the upper part, above a cornice, there is one of the three mosaics of the Cemetery, representing God the Creator, while on the sides there are two crowns with the symbols of Alpha and Omega.

The interior is worthy of the exterior, with a splendid marble altar, on which four little angels stand at the base of a crucifix, a splendid Resurrection is depicted in the front. On the sides of the altar there are two sarcophagi with caryatids.

The mirror of community

In addition to the remarkable artistic heritage, both the "old" and the "new" part of the Monumental Cemetery of Lavagna represent the mirror of community, divided into various social classes, but united by a particular cult of the dead.

The Captain, who had a chapel built in Egyptian style. Those who emigrated mainly to South America, made their fortune there, returned to Lavagna and built a tomb that highlights their wealth. The humble fish monger who does not hesitate to spend her savings to build a tomb reminiscent of her husband, the fisherman. The nobleman who builds a chapel worthy of his rank. From the Monsignor to the Parish priest of the country- From the Mazzinian pharmacist to the doctor-mayor-philanthropist. From the Garibaldian Patriot to the General who fought against brigandage. Children, to whom a small moving space is dedicated. Artists, who worked in this cemetery and in which they were buried.

The overview is therefore vast and touches on regional, not to say global, aspects.

Address

Monumental Cemetery of Lavagna
Via Dei Cogorno 30,
16033 Lavagna GE,
Italy

Contacts

Cemetery Services Office
0185/367290 - Dr. Franca Cardinali
0185/367224 - Mrs. Antonella Azaro

Cemetery custodians contacts
3357471040 and 3357471190

Basic cemetery information

Ownership: Municipality of Lavagna
Management: Cemetery Services Office
Size: about 12.000 m2
Nationality: mainly Italian
Religion: mainly Catholic