Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Italy Blog #17: Venice's Odd Cemetery Island Practice and Famous "Residents"

Cemetery Island or the Island of San Michele
In this 17th Italy blog, we'll explain about Venice's "Cemetery Island." We didn't get to stop there but cruised by it on a boat to Murano Island. As we passed Cemetery Island we learned about a strange practice and some of its most famous (dead) "residents."

WHAT IS CEMETERY ISLAND? It's actually called the island of San Michele in the Venetian Lagoon. In 1469, the first Renaissance church in Venice was built there along with a monastery. For a time, the monastery also served as a prison. In 1827, the Venetian government decreed the island a cemetery. That's when they determined the usual practice of burying the dead beneath paving stones and church floors was “unsanitary," so it became illegal.  The island is uninhabited except for the dead, and photography is not allowed. 

THE ODD ISLAND PRACTICE - Our tour guide told us that people are buried on the island for 25 years. After that time, they're dug up and cremated. That's because there is no more room! It's like everyone gets a turn to be buried...

SOME FAMOUS "RESIDENTS" - Joseph Brodsky, Ezra Pound and Igor Stravinsky are buried there.

What Cemetery Island looks like from the air
WHO WAS JOSEPH BRODSKY? (Joseph) Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky was a Russian and American poet and essayist. Born in Leningrad in 1940, Brodsky ran afoul of Soviet authorities and was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972. Brodsky is perhaps most known for his poetry collections A Part of Speech (1977) and To Urania (1988) and the essay collection Less Than One (1986), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other notable works include the play Marbles (1989) and Watermark, a prose collection (1992)

WHO WAS EZRA POUND? Ezra Weston Loomis Pound, born in 1885 was an expatriate American poet and critic, and a major figure in the early modernist movement. Ezra Pound is generally considered the poet most responsible for defining and promoting a modernist aesthetic in poetry.  His contribution to poetry began with his development of Imagism, a movement derived from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language. His best-known works include Ripostes (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) and the unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos (1917–69).

WHO WAS IGOR STRAVINSKY? - Igor was a Russian (and later, a naturalized French and American) composer, pianist and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913).

NEXT: The Murano Island Glass Factory

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next