Are you visiting Genoa and want more information about the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno? Do you want to know the curious stories of the people buried there, as well as the opening times, prices and guided tours of the Cemetery?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, you will find all the information you need to visit the Cemetery of Staglieno, and at the end, you can read the moving story of the peanut seller.
Are you ready for this? Let’s get started!
Staglieno Cemetery Italy: an open-air musem
The history of the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Genoa
The Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa was opened to the public in 1851 when it was still an unfinished work in all aspects, from with the structure and to the functionality, just to name a few.
The neoclassical style with which it was built was inspired by Carlo Barabino, who is also famed for many other important buildings throughout the city of Genoa, but not the cemetery itself, because the architect died in 1835, because of the cholera epidemic that broke out violently.
The work was then continued by Giovanni Battista Resasco, who also gave his name to the street where the Genoa cemetery is located.
The monumentality of the work was greatly appreciated by his contemporaries, who immediately loved the porticoes with their homogeneous and simple structure, which culminate in the mammoth architectural work of the Pantheon.
The building was finished with natural and verdant decorations.
The Pantheon itself lies on a lush hill in the back, which also housed various monuments, chapels and places with discretion.
The inclusion of a scattered and intense nature was very pleasing, to the point of making this cemetery having a northern European and English air about it, a model for other structures of the same Mediterranean nature, both nationally and internationally: it even inspired the Cemetery of Père Lachaise in Paris.
During the phase of industrial and commercial growth in northern Italy in the 1860s and 1870s, the cemetery was enlarged with a new semi-circular portico and other works in Art Deco and Art Nouveau style.
In the 1920s the Sacrario ai Caduti della I Guerra Mondiale and the Porticato Sant’Antonino were built after the war.
Map of the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno Genova
At the entrance of the cemetery you will see a very large map that can give you many explanations, but in the meantime know that the subdivision of the structure is as follows:
- In Sector A, you’ll see the Lower Porch;
- In Sector B there is the Semi-circular Historical Portico;
- In Sector C you will find the reception area, at Porticato Sant’Antonino and Porticato Montino;
- In Sector D is the Upper Portico with the Pantheon;
- In Sector E is the Irregular Grove;
- In Sector F, you will find the area Policonfessional-Testero;
- In Sector G, the Veilino-Cava area and the Sacrarium Area;
Guided tours of the Genoa Cemetery
The things to see inside this monumental cemetery, as you may have deduced, are really numerous and it is easy to risk losing many really interesting things, so I suggest that you = take advantage of several guided tours, organized by the City of Genoa.
Ticket prices are:
- for a single person it costs 5€;
- free up to 12 years, from 12 to 18 years 4€ and also for over 65 year olds;
- in a group you spend 4 € per person;
The visit starts from the main entrance, at the statue of the Faith and it is not necessary to book in advance, the tour lasts about an hour and a half, and the proceeds are used exclusively for the costs of the restoration of the cemetery.
Tours are possible from 10 am to 11.30 am and 3 pm.
Where to buy tickets
Tickets can be purchased at the Tourist Information and Reception Office, in via Garibaldi 12r; at Cristoforo Colombo airport, on the arrival floor; at the Porto Antico, at the Palazzina Santa Maria, in via al Porto Antico, 2; directly from the guide before the visit.
List of notable people buried at Genova Staglieno Cemetery
Several famous people are buried at the Staglieno Cemetery; here is the list of notable people buried there:
- The opera singers Salvatore Anastasi and Antonietta Pozzoni, in the Semi-circular Portico;
- The sculptor Federico Bringiotti (1878-1951) in the Semi-circular Portico;
- The sculptor Antonio Rota (1842-1917) in the Semi-circular Portico;
- The Russian Partisan Fedor Poletaev (1900-1945) in the Semi-circular Portico;
- The first architect who worked on the project of the Cemetery, Carlo Barabino (1768-1835) buried inside the Pantheon;
- The writer Anton Giulio Barrili (1836-1908), in the Pantheon;
- The patriot Nino Bixio (1821-1873), in the Pantheon
- The set designer and architect Michele Canzio (1788-1868), in the Pantheon;
- The violinist Renato de Barbieri (1920-1991), in the Pantheon;
- The explorer Giacomo Doria (1840-1913), in the Pantheon;
- The architect Giovanni Battista Resasco (1798-1892), in the Pantheon;
- The Garibaldian Stefano Canzio (1837-1909), in the Pantheon;
- The violinist Camillo Sivori (1815-1894), in the Pantheon;
- The doctor Edoardo Maragliano (1849-1940), in the Pantheon;
- The writer Michele Giuseppe Canale (1808-1890), in the Irregular Grove;
- The philanthropist and poet Davis Chiossone (1822-1873), in the Irregular Grove;
- The poet Giuseppe de Paoli (1885-1913), in the Irregular Grove;
- The playwright Paolo Giacometti (1816-1882), in the Irregular Grove;
- The owner Raffaele Rubantino (1809-1881), in the Irregular Grove;
- The poet Mario Malfettani (1872-1911), in the Irregular Grove;
- The politician Ferruccio Parri (1890-1981), in the Irregular Grove;
- The sculptor Eugenio Baroni (1880-1935), in the Irregular Grove;
- The Martyrs of the “Giovine Italia”, all shot in 1833, in the Irregular Grove;
- The opera librettist and poet Felice Romani (1789-1865), in the Irrgular Grove;
- The sculptor Giovanni Battista Cevasco (1814-1891), in the Irrgular Grove;
- The sculptor Gaetano Olivari (1870-1948), in the Irregular Grove;
- The politician Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872) and his mother Maria Mazzini Drago (1774-1852), both in the Irregular Grove;
- The musician Michele Novaro in the Irregular Grove;
- The sculptor Luigi Brizzolara (1868-1937), in Viale del Veilino;
- The writer Flavia Steno (1878-1946), in Viale del Veilino;
- The “peanut seller” Caterino Campodonico (1801-1881), in the Porticato Inferiore a Ponente;
- The dialectal poet Giambattista Vigo (1844-1891), in the Gallery inf. To the west;
- The patron and scholar Gian Carlo di Negro (1769-1857), in the Lower Portico towards the West;
- The sculptor Giovanni Scanzi (1840-1915), in the Porticato Inf. Verso Ponente;
- Oscar Wilde’s wife, Mary Costance Wilde (1859-1898), buried in the Protestant Cemetery, to the right of the Temple;
- Photographer Alfredo Noack (1833-1895), in the driveway of the Protestant Cemetery;
- The architect and painter Maurizio Dufour (1826-1897), in the Upper Portico towards the west;
- The sculptor Giuseppe Gaggini (1791-1867), in the Upper Portico towards the west;
- The poet Giovanni Torti (1774-1852), in the Scalone Superiore towards the west;
- The former mayor of Genoa Andrea Podestà (1832-1895), in the Porticato Superiore a Levante;
- The sculptor Santo Varni (1807-1885), in the Upper Portico towards the East;
- Musician A. Gambini (1819-1865) in the Garden, Upper Gallery side left;
- The Partisan and Commander Aldo Gastaldo, known as “Bisagno”, in the Memorial of the Fallen;
- The dialectal actors Gilberto (1885-1966) and Rina Govi (1893-1984), in the Porticato Sant’Antonino;
- The composer Luigi Mancinelli (1848-1921), in the Boschetto Irregolare and above the Valletta Pontasso;
- The poet Ceccardo Roccatagliata Ceccardi (1871-1919), in the Crematorium;
- Singer-songwriter Fabrizio de Andrè (1944-1999), in Camp 22;
The tomb of Fabrizio del André
In the Cemetery of Staglieno, if you enter from the side entrance, go straight and turn left towards the burning chamber and pass through the Viale dei Caduti di tutte le guerre under the archivolt of the Galleria Montino, continue for about 20 meters towards Field 22: here lies one of the most famous and beloved Genoese ever: the singer-songwriter Fabrizio de André, called Faber.
This cemetery, like many others we know, has nothing macabre to it, it is rather a place of art, where silence gathers along the thin thread that links life with death.
Here lie characters, poems and stories that continue to be told.
Fabrizio de André is an example of one who lives and will always live thanks to the music and poetry that he left as a legacy to those who loved him when he was alive and still loves him as if he were, although he left us long ago because of an incurable disease in 1999.
Fabrizio is the true ambassador of Genoa to this very day.
When you get there, don’t expect a flashy monument, you’ll only see a very simple white chapel and inside, on a plaque without decorations, the inscription Fabrizio de André has been resting for 20 years now.
You will see fresh flowers, lots of photos and two guitars, the great companions of this artist.
On the glass door there is a sticker that quotes: “Nobody and nothing can hinder you” (Nessuno e niente ti potrà ostacolare), a candle and an angel decorate the tomb, while there are many paintings, drawings and dedications.
Fabrizio made us ponder death, with songs such as Il testamento, Morire di morte lenta or Preghiera di Gennaio.
When he was cremated, his coffin was accompanied to the burning chamber by his dear friend Beppe Grillo.
Many other well-known people rest here, such as Ferruccio Parri, who was the First Prime Minister after the war, when Italy became a Republic; as well as the writer and forerunner of the Italian Beat Generation, Fernanda Pivano.
Let’s not forget the presence of the tomb of the leader of the Risorgimento, Giuseppe Mazzini and some of the men who attended the exploits of the Thousand, next to Giuseppe Garibaldi and who helped to shape the history of our country.
An exciting story: the peanut seller
In the monumental Cemetery of Staglieno there is the body of a woman well known in these parts, with a very fascinating history that it strikes all visitors who feel it for the first time and is destined to remain impressive forever.
The protagonist of this story was Caterina Campodonico and was known by the name of “Seller of peanuts” or “The Lady of peanuts”; she was a woman of common origin, semi-illiterate, who died in 1882.
This story is striking because, despite her origins, her statue, which is also sumptuous and of remarkable beauty, is placed among those of the rich bourgeoisie and nobles of Genoa: in it she wears a very elegant dress, she is wearing jewels and has an apron that looks as if it has just been ironed. From the apron, a hazelnut necklaces hangs, which is held by her hands.
Catherine’s hands are well represented, because they symbolize the hard work that they have gone through and the expression of her stern face is that of those who were accustomed to a hard and tiring life.
The Lady of peanuts was born in Genoa in 1804, she was a vagabond, she worked in markets and festivals in Liguria and Piedmont and sold the so-called Reste, or hazelnut necklaces which servd as well wishes for brides and which guaranteed a happy marriage. She traded canestrelli and other sweets made and packaged by her.
Catherine was a woman who, at the end of the 19th century, unfortunately did not benefit at all from the charms that she sold.
Married at a very young age to Giovanni Carpi, she made the decision, rather revolutionary for those times, to throw her husband out of the house because he was an alcoholic and a boorish man, and it was she who wanted to end the marriage. She even went through a process that ended with the obligation to pay alimony to the man.
She paid him 3,000 francs with dignity and without batting an eyelid because she knew that her life and her freedom had a much greater value.
This woman of immense strength, who has always lived against the tide with admirable honour, chose to sell peanuts in the streets of Garbo, Acquasanta and San Cipriano and, when these nuts were not in season, she sold violets.
Catherine was a frightening woman, and this is also why she became a victim of gossip, which came primarily from her own relatives.
They were so ferocious; they suggested that she earned her money in much more questionable ways. However, the woman knew she could walk with her head held high and continued along her path, never losing her pride.
We often hear that nothing happens by chance, and this was also the case when Catherine became ill; it was in fact during her illness, from which she fortunately recovered, that she heard her relatives fighting over her inheritance in the event that she had died.
From that moment, the woman decided that those people would not get a single penny of her inheritance and decided to… take her money to the grave!
Catherine’s sisters were all married and had several children, yet were the first to judge her negatively, considering her too independent for those times; she travelled alone, her colleagues were all men and dealing with them was not an attitude that could be considered serious for a woman.
It was then that Catherine, after reflecting on it, decided to commission a statue from the most famous sculptor of the time, Lorenzo Orengo, one of the greatest representatives of bourgeois realism in Genoa, and had to fight against the city council because he demanded that the monument be exhibited together with those of the Genoese nobles and eventually won.
She did not choose to have angels or crucifixes sculpted, but rather asked that the statue represent her figure, the hard work of a lifetime and testify that, alone, she had been able to earn a very large sum.
The cost was exorbitant, and the remainder of her money went to the poet chosen to write an epitaph that would tell the story of his life: Giambattista Vigo, a dialect poet well known at the time, who rests in the same cemetery.
In spite of her greedy relatives and without waiting for anyone in her life to give her any merit, Caterina made sure that she would immortalize herself, become self-celebrated and become immortal.
The statue was exhibited in 1881 at the Cemetery of Staglieno; when she was still alive, she could admire it and so did her fellow citizens, who, however, distorted the meaning of that work. In fact, they often carried flowers and candles, thinking that this celebration could bring them wealth.
Catherine died on 7 July 1882, was accompanied by a large procession and still rests today in the Cemetery of Staglieno.
Here we are at the end of this article on the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno Genova, in which you discovered the list of notable people buried here, all the useful information you need before your visit and the moving story of Catherine, the peanut seller, who still rests inside the cemetery today.
If you have any doubt or any questions, leave a comment below.