Protestant Cemetery, Rome
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|Style||18th–19th century European|
The Cimitero Acattolico ("Non-Catholic Cemetery") of Rome, often referred to as the Cimitero dei protestanti ("Protestant Cemetery") or Cimitero degli Inglesi ("Englishmen's Cemetery"), is a public cemetery in the rione of Testaccio in Rome. It is near Porta San Paolo and adjacent to the Pyramid of Cestius, a small-scale Egyptian-style pyramid built in 30 BC as a tomb and later incorporated into the section of the Aurelian Walls that borders the cemetery. It has Mediterranean cypress, pomegranate and other trees, and a grassy meadow. It is the final resting place of non-Catholics including but not exclusive to Protestants or British people. The earliest known burial is that of a University of Oxford student named Langton in 1738. The English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley are buried there.
Keats died in Rome of tuberculosis at the age of 25, and is buried in the cemetery. His epitaph, which does not mention him by name, is by his friends Joseph Severn and Charles Armitage Brown, and reads:
This grave contains all that was mortal, of a young English poet, who on his death bed, in the bitterness of his heart, at the malicious power of his enemies, desired these words to be engraven on his tombstone: Here lies one whose name was writ in water.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Shelley, who did not know how to swim, drowned in 1822 while sailing in his yacht off the Italian Riviera. When his body washed up upon the shore, a copy of Keats' poetry was discovered in his pocket - doubled back - as though it had been put away in a hurry. He was cremated on the beach near Viareggio by his friends, the poet Lord Byron and the English adventurer Edward John Trelawny. His ashes were sent to the British consulate in Rome, who had them interred in the Protestant Cemetery some months later.
Shelley's heart supposedly survived cremation and was snatched out of the flames by Trelawny, who subsequently gave it to Shelley's widow, Mary. When Mary Shelley died, the heart was found in her desk wrapped in the manuscript of "Adonais," the elegy Shelley had written the year before upon the death of Keats, in which the poet urges the traveler, "Go thou to Rome ...".
Shelley and Mary's three-year-old son William was also buried in the Protestant Cemetery.
Shelley's heart was finally buried, encased in silver, in 1889, with the son who survived him, Sir Percy Florence Shelley, but his gravestone in the Protestant Cemetery is inscribed: Cor cordium ("heart of hearts"), followed by a quotation from Shakespeare's The Tempest:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea change,
Into something rich and strange.
- Richard Mason (1919 - 1997), British author of The World of Suzy Wong
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- Antonio Labriola (1843–1904), Italian Marxist theoretician
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- George Perkins Marsh (1801–1882), American Minister to Italy 1861–1882, author of "Man and Nature"
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- Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro (1819–1885), British classical scholar
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- D'Arcy Osborne, 12th Duke of Leeds (1884–1964), British diplomat and last Duke of Leeds
- Thomas Jefferson Page (1808–1899), commander of United States Navy expeditions exploring the Río de la Plata
- Milena Pavlović-Barili (1909–1945), Serbian Italian artist
- Bruno Pontecorvo (1913–1993), Italian nuclear physicist
- Edmund Purdom (1924–2009), British actor
- G. Frederick Reinhardt (1911–1971), U.S. Ambassador to Italy 1961–1968, Administrator of this Cemetery 1961–1968
- Heinrich Reinhold (1788–1825), German painter, draughtsman, engraver. His tombstone features a medallion by Bertel Thorvaldsen
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- Amelia Rosselli (1930–1996), Italian poet
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- Joseph Severn (1793–1879), English painter, consul in Rome, and friend of John Keats, beside whom he is buried
- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), English poet
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- Manfredo Tafuri (1935–1994), Italian architectural historian
- Lady Temple (died 1809), wife of Sir Grenville Temple, 9th Baronet
- Edward John Trelawny (1792–1881), English author, friend of Percy Bysshe Shelley, beside whose ashes he is buried
- Tatiana Tolstaya (1864-1950), Russian painer and memoirist and daughter of Leo Tolstoy and Sophia Tolstaya.
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- Or, some have suggested, his liver. See "Possibly Not Shelley's Heart?", New York Times, 28 June 1885.
- Lexa Selph, "Shelley's Heart", Letter to the Editor, The New York Times, 8 June 1985.
- Stanley-Price, Nicholas (2014). The Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome: its history, its people and its survival for 300 years. Rome: Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome. ISBN 978-88-909168-0-9.
- Antonio Menniti Ippolito, Il Cimitero acattolico di Roma. la presenza protestante nella città del papa, Roma, Viella, 2014, ISBN 978-88-6728-114-5
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Protestant Cemetery, Rome.|
- On-line database of tombs and deceased
- Cemetery website (in Italian and English)
- The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 285, 1 December 1827, Project Gutenberg E-text contains an article entitled "Protestant Burial-Ground At Rome"
- The Keats-Shelley House in Rome
- GPS coordinates you need to use to find the graves of famous people in the Non-Catholic Cemetery
- Elisabeth Rosenthal. "A Cemetery of Poets Is in Crisis in Rome", International Herald Tribune, 8 February 2006