Monumental cemetery of Pavia (Pavia, Italy)

Monumental cemetery of Pavia (Pavia, Italy)
The Monumental cemetery of Pavia is one of the city's most important cultural treasures, replete with artworks including paintings and sculptures.

Cemetery history

The first city cemetery was built at the end of the 19th century in a big area in the east part of the city, out of the historical wall, due to its natural characteristics. Altough the area was large, after only 10 years from its construction the space was already full of graves. Therefore the Municipality approved the project for the new Monumental cemetery composed of three parts: the historical courtyard, the first extension and the latest extension.

The historical courtyard was realized between 19th and 20th century. It has a cruciform plan with an entrance called Famedio, a space which collects the cenotaphs of the most famous people of local history, and a little church opposite to the entrance. Facing inside is a large perimeter wall with arcades, each dedicated to a family with a representative sculpture or painting and a grave on the floor below.

The 1st extension was realized between 1945 and 1955, due to an increase of population. The perimeter wall has a C shape plan in order to connect the cemetery with future extensions. The architectural language is similar to that of the historical courtyard but only at first sight. Under the arcades are placed nomore family monuments but simple loculus and ossuaries.

The 2nd extension was realized between 1965 and 1988. It is composed by 3 floors (ground floor, first floor, and basement) with arcades at the ground and first floor facing the inside and outside. The structure is built in reinforced concrete, with a contemporary architectural language, based on simplicity and functionality.

Cemetery significance

The cemetery has always had a laical connotation, in order to house the graves of people with different religious beliefs. Beyond two buildings dedicated to cremated people, there is a space called “Farewell Room”, a rounded space inside of a glass cube, devoid of religious symbols. People of other religions, such as Muslims, have two fields already available for their burials, while an Islamic association is currently building its own ossuary.

There are different types of artworks inside the cemetery. The oldest artworks are a series of maiolica tiles, placed on the entrance wall, coming from the former cemeteries of the churches of Pavia (17th and 18th century). Beside these, there are also many paintings and sculptures that reflect the sensitivity of the local families and at the same time the ability of the artists of that time.

Family chapels are not the only element of interest in the monumental cemetery. Like in many monumental cemeteries, some important people are buried here such as: Camillo Golgi, a medician who won the Nobel prize for medicine, and the first Italian man winning this award; Angelo Lanzoni, an engineer and the inventor of the reinforced concrete; Lazzaro Spallanzani, a biologist now considered the father of the artificial insemination, etc.

Lastly we can find also some Civil Monuments: the tower of the 1st crematorium, 1901, designed by Angelo Savoldi; the ossuary of the fallen during the World War I, 1930, designed by Hermes Balducci; the ossuary of the fallen during the World War II.

Cemetery address

Via San Giovannino
27100 Pavia

Basic data

Year of first burial: 1800
Current area: 9 ha
Approximate number of graves: 11.300