In Italy, we have seen a great care and attention for those that have passed. Firstly, the graveyards are beautifully kept. There are family plots with photos of the people buried there. The photos look like they are from the 1800’s when you couldn’t move for five minutes and therefore could not hold a smile. It makes me think that the photographer said, ‘this is the one that is going on your headstone’ just before he took it.
The graves are adorned with flowers and they are silk, so you don’t have the wilting dying, knocked over vases of flowers look, like in the UK, but colour all around the graveyard. The areas are concrete, rather than grass like ours, and at night, each plot is lit with candles or LED’s. One evening, in Lake Lugano, we had a late night stroll and thought that there was a really cool restaurant, with the walls all lit up, but on closer inspection we realised it was a mausoleum.
The other thing that happens in Italy, is that they advertise the funerals. A poster with the date and age of death, a nice photo of the individual and when the funeral is. Initially it seemed strange, but thinking about a community knowing its neighbours it was nice to think you’ve been invited to pay your respects.