The publisher of Wish You Were Here invited me to blog about some of the essays in this book. I wanted to write about the scariest cemetery I visited during the research.
Of all the cemeteries I visited to write Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, the scariest was the cemetery island of San Michele in Venice.
The cemetery itself is a maze of interconnected gardens where the permanent graves are dug into the sod. These include a garden dedicated to the dead of World War II, a Russian Orthodox section, and a section for strangers and Protestants, among others.
The guidebook said to get a map from the sexton at the church, but when my husband Mason and I explored the mortuary chapel – with its corpse-door off the water through which the deceased could be handed up from a hearse boat – we had the place to ourselves. We left some coins for a copy of the postcard, but there wasn’t anyone to sell us a map.
If we’d had known any Italian – or experience had…
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