Tag Archives: Florence

Borsi Torchbearer

The Porte Sante cemetery is a monumental cemetery in Florence located within the fortified bastion of the basilica of San Miniato al Monte. This interesting cemetery, from which it is possible to enjoy an extraordinary view of Florence, houses some illustrious tombs including the Borsi memorial to numerous family members.

The memorial to Averardo Borsi and his daughter Laura is adorned with the statue of a naked prone man holding a flaming torch in his right hand with his left fist clenched.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409813706

The torch is symbolic of the darkness of death and the light in the world to come. A winged cherub looks down on the grave located in the section reserved for non-Catholics in the cemetery. The family were not religious, and as Averardi and Laura died without the sacrament they were denied a Christian burial.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409813706

Averardo was married to Verdiana Fabbri known as Diana. They had three children; Laura born on 31 December 1886, Giosue born on 10 June 1888 and Gino born on 10 December 1891.

Averardo died on 10 December 1910 due chiefly to grief over a family tragedy which involved the honour of his daughter. In 1908, Laura had given birth to a son named Dino following a relationship with Gabriele Maria D’Annunzio (known as Gabriellino), an Italian actor, director and screenwriter. Laura, who was a brilliant and promising actress, died on 18 July 1912 due to complications from what was most likely food poisoning after eating raw oysters. Her infant son, who was never recognized by his father, died in March 1913.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409822710/

Giosue Borsi was born on 10 June 1888. He was a journalist for his father’s newspaper and a famed poet. As an Italian Lieutenant in WW1 known for his valor, he was killed in action on 10 Nov 1915. On the centenary of his birth to recognize his life and his sacrifice, a plaque was placed in the memorial chapel of Piazza di Montenero, Livorno, Italy.

Gino served as a Corporal with the 2nd Artillery Regiment. In 1916 he married Chiti Lilia (1893 – 1973) with whom he had three daughters: Giulia born in 1920; Lauretta who was born in 1921 died in Florence on October 26, 1927 after an excruciating illness; and Laura born in 1928 – it was the tradition at the time that if the first child died, a second child was given the same name in order to perpetuate the name within the family. Gino died in Florence in 1976.

Epitaphs on the memorial record the lives of

Averardo Borsi 1858-1910 and his wife Diana 1865-1942

Laura Borsi1886-1912 and her son Dino Borsi 1908-1913

Gino 1891-1976 and his wife Lilia 1893-1973, and his daughter Lauretta Borsi 1921-1927

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Weeping Woman

This barefooted woman draped in a long vestment, with locks of hair falling within her hood, leans forward, hands covering her eyes as she weeps. I find this image to be the epitome of grief. There are few of us who have not felt the depth of this woman’s grief, the total despair and heartbreak.

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“The grief within me has its own heartbeat. It has its own life, its own song. Part of me wants to resist the rhythms of my grief, yet as I surrender to the song, I learn to listen deep within myself” ~ Alan Wolfelt

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Source: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/138696863495067199/

The tomb at which the woman weeps is located near the top of the Cimitero delle Porte Sante, in Florence, Tuscany, Italy.

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A gravestone is propped against the exterior of the tomb. I have not been able to find an image that clearly identifies all the details inscribed on the stone. From the few words that are decipherable it would appear that the inscription is in memory of Giovanni, a student who died suddenly of a disease.

An identical statue is also seated beside a sealed tomb in Vvedenskoye Cemetery, Moscow. She weeps through Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

The Weeping Woman appears again seated beside the grave of the family Neumanow in the Evangelical Cemetery in Warsaw, Poland .