Vivienne Gunning
20 Feb

Hey there! It has been a bit since I left Messina and this story has been nudging at me, eager to be shared. I didn't hastily put my thoughts on paper, not because of its historical weight but because of the irresistible allure of a specific graveyard that urged me to delve deeper. So, here goes! 

A week or so ago, on a drizzly Saturday morning in Messina, I took on the challenge of finding my way to the Certosa Monumental Cemetery. Almost bailed because of the rain, but destiny had other plans for me. Standing at the entrance, enhanced with grand pillars topped by statues, designed in 1802, by the architect Ercole Gasparini, a unique feeling washed over me – this wasn't an ordinary visit!  I was on the verge of stumbling upon the most enchanting cemetery ever. 

As I wandered through an area bigger than my imagination (at least 220,000 m2!), I found small family chapels, celebrated graves, and sculptures that screamed patriotism, romance, dignity, love, and celebration. Despite the solemnity, I never felt a pang of sadness.  Some unknown genius once said, "The Cemetery of Messina is a garden of sculptures of memory." I couldn't agree more. It is a big celebration of life. 

The Certosa cemetery is not merely a final resting place; Numerous small family chapels, celebrated graves, and beautiful sculptures- it's a treasure trove of stories and faces. You can catch glimpses of the professions of some of the souls that are still lingering in the air – a lawyer, a soldier, a merchant, a teacher, a young man who departed in 1943 at the tender age of 23. What was his story? Perhaps the echoes of war?  I strolled among gravestones that transformed into monuments, radiating an atmosphere that suggested the departed were not gone but peacefully at rest.

The British Cemetery in the southeast corner tells a bit of a somber story. It's still whispering tales of British War heroes (and others) whose lives honored by their soldier buddies and loving spouses, but it's showing some signs of neglect and loneliness.

Certosa is a treasure trove of stories and faces. You can peek at the lives of some memories – This cemetery is like a time capsule from the 19th and 20th centuries.

I greeted Messina, but I carry with me the assurance that these souls rest in peace. The stories etched in stone, the monuments of remembrance – this is a place that celebrates life even in its eternal slumber. No matter what you believe!

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