An Oasis of Calm in Bustling Rome: The Protestant Cemetery

| February 8, 2018 | 1 Comment | Email This Post Email This Post

An Oasis of Calm in Bustling Rome: The Protestant Cemetery

By Mary Robertson of

I can hear some Boomer readers thinking, Are you actually suggesting we spend our time in Rome, Italy visiting a cemetery?!  Yes, indeed! Each time my husband Jim and I visit this beautiful landmark, also known as The Non-Catholic Cemetery, we discover new aspects to admire.  

The Cemetery is located in the Testaccio district.  It borders the neighborhood’s landmark, the Pyramid of Cestius, one of the city’s best preserved ancient monuments, dating to 30 BC.  

Protestant Cemetery_Pyramid

Romans, too, love to visit this beautiful site.  It is a sanctuary of calm honoring many who have lived in and loved Rome, the Eternal City.

Who’s Who at the cemetery

The cemetery is said to contain “possibly the highest density of famous and important graves anywhere in the world,” as is noted on its website.  The poets Shelley and Keats are buried there, along with a great many artists, diplomats, scientists and other notables.  Shelley once wrote, “It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.”  A few years later, he drowned and the cemetery became his final resting place.  

Cats Cimeterio non Catolico Roma

You may pick up a map at the office/bookshop or look online at the site map detailed on the website before your visit.  Or you can simply take in the beauty and calm as you walk the narrow stone paths.

Enjoy the statuary and landscaping

Many of the grave markers are truly works of art.  Notice the calm visages and delicate angel wings carved in stone.  Admire the walls of burnt sienna and the towering cypresses and umbrella pines— the colors and trees so reminiscent of Rome.  Pomegranate trees are laden with fruit.  Bougainvillea, flowering in bright fuchsia blooms, cascades over the walls.  Your stroll invites a meditation on life itself.  

Play hide and seek with the cats

Cats rule at the cemetery.  They are well fed and cared for thanks to charitable group that watches over them.  If you wish to contribute, look for the donation box near the Pyramid.  These felines are much photographed and visitors are often seen patiently waiting for a cat to enter their photo frame, or heading off in pursuit as the cat darts in the other direction.  

Rome Protestant

Trade the crowds that mill around the Colosseum and the city’s best known tourist destinations for an hour or two of quiet contemplation at the Protestant Cemetery.  It’s likely to become one of your most treasured memories of Rome.

A three Euro donation is requested to visit the cemetery.  See opening hours and more at the website:

See our favorite places to eat and stay nearby the cemetery here:

Mary Robertson blogs on retirement, caregiving, travel and more at, and is Director of PR/Social Media at



Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Articles, Blog, Good Life, Travel