Category Archives: Italy

Messina Mother & Child

An earthquake which occurred on 28 December 1908 in Sicily and Calabria with a magnitude of 7.1 almost completely destroyed the cities of Messina and Reggio Calabria. 157,000 lives were lost due to the fact that most people were asleep and killed outright, or buried alive in their beds as their houses collapsed on top of them. As a result of the earthquake a 39 foot tsunami struck Messina causing more devastation and death.

This monument is in memory of a mother and child who were victims of the devastating earthquake. The mother who is grasping the bed sheet appears to have been suckling her child when disaster hit. The sculptured figures are surrounded by rubble. Note the stone on the bottom right which appears to resemble a skull.



Depictions in Marble and Stone

I am always awestruck by the astounding talent of artists and the intricacy of detail in statuary. Some of the most beautiful statues are found in the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno, an extensive cemetery located on a hillside in the district of Staglieno of Genoa, Italy. Covering an area of more than a square kilometre, it is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe and is famous for its monument sculpture.

The tomb of the Consigliere family is attended by a woman praying on her knees. The sculpture was created by Luigi Orengo who worked extensively with funerary sculpture, especially in the Cemetery of Staglieno where he created dozens of tombs and funeral graves. The mausoleum is decorated with laurel leaves representing the “evergreen” memory of the deceased, and a Greek cross with four arms equal in length which is the traditional symbol of Christian faith.


This sculptural group was created in bronze and Carrara marble by Mariano Benlliure. The sculpture represents the funeral procession of the famous bullfighter Joselito el Gallo. The body of the deceased is carved in marble to highlight the figure. At the head of the procession a woman carries a bronze miniature of the Virgin Macarena to whom the bullfighter was very devoted.
Cemetery of San Fernando, Seville, Spain


christ going to tomb
I can’t find any source information on this second representation of a funeral procession. It is recorded as ‘Christ going to the tomb’, but I have no confirmation of this data. Translation of the script reads; Proceeding towards the resurrection.
Cemetery Viersen, Germany


Cimitero Monumentale Di Milano
This statue depicts a WWI soldier ‘s grave. Luigi Fossati (31-1-1896 – 28-10-1918) who lost his life in the battle of Somme in the Montello hills of Italy. Translation of the dedication reads: Gloomy night enveloped the heroic soul of Luigi Fussati who experienced unspeakable torments under the red dust of the Montello.
Momma and brothers Giullo, Pietro, Giuseppe, Arialdo.
In everlasting memory.
Cimitero Monumentale, Milano, Italy.


cypress lawn
This large monument is the burial site of lawyer LLoyd Tevis who was also a successful American business man who headed the Wells Fargo Banking and Pony Express lines for more than 20 years. The “Tevis Cup”, an equestrian endurance ride held annually which requires riders to make the 100 mile Pony Express journey from Tahoe to Auburn in one day is named for him.
Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA, USA.


Charles-Joseph Pigeon (29 March 1838 – 18 March 1915) became famous due to his invention and manufacture in 1884 of the Pigeon lamp, a non-exploding gasoline lamp. He commissioned the family grave sculpture to hold up to 18 family members. The sculpture is a life-sized image of Pigeon holding a notebook and pencil in his hand. An angel overlooks the vignette of him as he lays beside his wife on a bed.
Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France


Montparnasse3This marble sculpture entitled “The separation of the couple” is not a funerary monument. Until 1965 it was situated in the garden of Luxembourg and was removed because it was considered obscene. I guess they thought the dead wouldn’t mind the obscenity.
Montparnasse Cemitiere, Paris, France


Heinrich Schaub, born 5 May 1843, died 29 Jan 1909
Schaub commissioned Leipzig architect Emil Franz Hänsel to design a tomb which was sculpted by Otto Wutzler and August Rantz. The monument features fluted pillars and a bronze framed bronze door. A bronze sculpture of a youth kneels in front of a door  representing the eternal kingdom of the dead.
Südfriedhof Cemetery, Leipzig. Germany


The figure which rests upon the Burrano tomb was sculpted by Piero da Verona.
Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy

Bisteghi Monument

Raffaele Bisteghi was an affluent author and playwright who lived in 19th century Italy. He left instructions in his will to purchase a tomb in his memory.


The marble monument which was designed by Sculptor Enrico Barbieri took 6 years to complete, 1885-1891. The vignette features Raffaele Bisteghi on his deathbed, with an angel at his bedside, and his wife her hands joined in prayer.


The Bisteghi Monument is located in the Gallery of Angels at the Monumental Certosa di Bologna, Italy. The Certosa is a former monastery which was founded in 1334 and suppressed in 1797. In 1801 it became the city’s Monumental Cemetery.


Bambino Ucciso

Although Italino Iacomelli’s mother (Anni Cinove) died giving birth to him, he was a cheerful and happy child popular with the local women. In 1925 on a hot August afternoon, five year old Italino left his house in Piazza San Bartolomeo dell’Olivella to play. Watched by his father he ran to Carbonara Salita Gardens with his favourite toy, a hoop. (The hoop was propelled by stroking a one foot dowel or stick along the top). On his way there, the hoop landed between the legs of a young man. As Italino seemed undaunted when the man lifted him from the ground, his father was unconcerned until he saw Italino thrown from the 15 meter high wall.

The murderer named Louis was a man from an area of Genoa called Rivarolo. He had been previously hospitalized as suffering from a mental disorder. (The previous day he told police that he had thrown a girl from the Corso Mentana wall, but when he later recanted he was released). He began to flee but was caught and beaten by a group of onlookers.

Although Italino was seriously injured and died that evening, his father forgave the murderer. He died on 16 August 1925 and was buried in Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy. The town showed their grief as shops closed and thousands followed the funeral procession. He was laid to rest with his mother. His father Donatello Iacomelli (1889-1976) was later buried alongside his family.

The monument was designed by Italian sculptor Adolph Lucarini. The words Immaculate Lily are engraved on a plaque commemorating the tragedy that ended his short life.

Details from the historical archive of the newspaper Il Secolo XIX.

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Let’s Get Creepy

Polloe Cemetery, San Sebastian, Spain
Durisdeer Churchyard, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Durisdeer Churchyard, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

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Messina, Sicily

A cemetery monument dedicated to a mother and child who were found dead in an embrace under the rubble of the earthquake in Messina 1908.

Hill of Crosses, near the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania.
Melaten-Friedhof, Cologne, Germany
Holocaust memorial, Pere Lachaise, Paris, France
Brugges cemetery, Belgium
Ingolstadt, Bavaria


Poblenou Cemetery, Barcelona, Spain
Poblenou Cemetery, Barcelona, Spain

1930 sculpture titled Kiss of Death depicts death planting a kiss on a young man’s forehead.

Johannis Cemetery, Nürnberg, Germany


Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy
spain barcelona
Cementiri de Montjuïc, Barcelona, Spain


Port Charlotte Florida
Spanish moss on trees in Florida


Some Gravestones Need No Words

Grief and sorrow are evident on this tomb in Karlsruhe, Germany



In Nottingham, England this image seems to represent a giant dinosaur foot crushing a gravestone.



Collatino, Rome, Italy – Imagery of violence and war



and lastly, from Pere LaChaise Cemetery in Paris, France.Source:


Angelic Symbols

Angels are spiritual beings guarding the tomb and praying for the soul. As a messenger from God the angel is a guide to Heaven. They represent love, protection, and resurrection. Angels are represented in many forms.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Thy angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning’s light.

Symbolizes embracing the soul and escorting the deceased to heaven.

Like a rosebud faded with life scarce begun
And angels, bright angels escorted him home.


Represents heaven and Divine love.

Milton Evergreen, Milton, ON, Canada
Milton Evergreen, Milton, ON, Canada

Angels to beckon me
Nearer my God to thee
Nearer is thee

Milton Evergreen, Milton, ON, Canada
Milton Evergreen, Milton, ON, Canada

Represents blessings from Heaven

Mt. Olivet, Colorado

Love’s last gift


Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland
Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Represents a Guardian angel offering rebirth and resurrection

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Represents chastity

A flower transferred from earth to bloom in heaven

Colma, CA
Colma, CA

Represents the memory of a loved one

Stratford, ON, Canada
Stratford, ON, Canada


Colma, California
Colma, California

And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile. 1925

Milton Evergreen, Milton, ON, Canada
Milton Evergreen, Milton, ON, Canada

An angel holding a praying bowl

Lowville, ON, Canada
Lowville, ON, Canada

The Archangel Gabriel depicted with a horn represents a call to the resurrection on the day of judgment. “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Glenwood, Houston, TX
Glenwood, Houston, TX

angel trumpet

Represents the smiting of evil and forgiveness of sin

St. Michael's, Boston, MA, USA
St. Michael’s, Boston, MA, USA

The blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanseth us from all sin. 1917

Glenwood, Houston, TX
Glenwood, Houston, TX

Symbolizes grief, mourning or an untimely death


But again I hope to meet him
When the day of life is fled
And in Heaven with joy to greet him
Where no farewell tears are shed

Rome, Italy
Rome, Italy
Granada, Spain
Granada, Spain

FALLEN ANGEL OF THE MODERN VARIETY thanks to vandalism and neglect.

Newington fallen angel
Newington, Edinburgh, Scotland