This presentation is part of the International Cemetery Preservation Summit, April 8-10, 2014 Niagara Falls, NY.
They Died in Rome: Preservation of an Active, Historic Cemetery for Foreigners by Nicholas Stanley-Price
For some 300 years foreigners dying in Rome who were not Catholic have been buried in the city’s Non-Catholic Cemetery. The burial-ground is located inside the walls of the Historic Centre of Rome which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Cemetery is of very great historical significance, for those whose graves lie there (e.g. the Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley) but also because of the many artists and writers who have depicted it over the years in drawings, paintings, prose and poetry. Several of its sculptures are by recognised artists, although little studied as yet. Its garden setting has its own interest as a mix of Mediterranean species and those northern European species more familiar to many of its residents.
Other attributes add to the task of managing this historic site: it is a private cemetery which does not receive any regular public funding; it is still in active use for the burial of those who qualify; and it is an increasingly popular visitor destination. While subject to national and city legislation that governs historic preservation, garden and tree maintenance and burial procedures, it has to be self-sustaining financially.
The paper will explain how these challenges are being met, generally in terms of site management but also specifically with reference to individual tombs. Examples will give priority to Americans who died in Rome. Among them will be the graves of the Confederate naval captain Thomas Jefferson Page, the sculptors William Wetmore Story and Franklin Simmons, and a memorial to the anti-slavery activist and doctor, Sarah Remond Parker.
Nicholas Stanley-Price is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome and edits its Friends’ Newsletter. He has recently published “The Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome. Its history, its people and its survival for 300 years”. He is a former Director-General of ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) and has published extensively on archaeology and conservation.