|Cemetery Island or the Island of San Michele|
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 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).
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