About the cemetery
Rome's Non-Catholic Cemetery contains possibly the highest density of famous and important graves anywhere in the world.
It is the final resting-place of the poets Shelley and Keats, of many painters, sculptors and authors, a number of scholars, several diplomats, Goethe's only son, and Antonio Gramsci, a founding father of European Communism, to name only a few.
The Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Testaccio, Rome (to give it its full name) is also widely known as the Protestant Cemetery although it contains the graves of many Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians. It is one of the oldest burial grounds in continuous use in Europe, having started to be used around 1730. It was also referred to in the past as ‘The English Cemetery’ because of the many English people buried there.
It is hard to think of another urban site quite so glorious. Its towering cypress trees and abundant flowers and greenery shelter a heterogeneity of elaborate and eclectic graves and monuments, nestled on a slope in the shadows of the Pyramid of Cestius (dated between 18 and 12 B.C.) and adjacent to a section of Rome's ancient Aurelian wall.
"It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place," wrote Shelley, not long before he drowned and was buried here.
Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th, the little Cemetery was something of a pilgrimage site, revered by authors. Daisy Miller, the heroine of Henry James's eponymous novella, was buried there. After an audience with Pope Pius IX in 1877, Oscar Wilde visited the Cemetery, proclaiming it "the holiest place in Rome."
The Cemetery is a private one but is operated in accordance with national and municipal regulations concerning cemeteries and historic sites. A board of foreign ambassadors resident in Rome is ultimately responsible for its operations [Governance and Funding]. Burials continue to be made today of those who qualify.
Other than income derived from burial and tomb maintenance fees, we are dependent on donations, fundraising and volunteers to keep the Cemetery the tranquil and beautiful place that it is.
The Cemetery can be visited daily and the Visitors' Centre is a source of information and publications.
Via Caio Cestio, 6
Tel: + 39 06 574 1900
Fax: + 39 06 574 1320
Via Caio Cestio, 6
Monday-Saturday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (last entrance:4.30 pm)
Sundays and public holidays 9.00 am to 1.00 pm (last entrance:12.30 pm)