A sumptuous and ghostly art gallery outdoors. The streets of chapels and headstones in the cemetery occupy the Bonaria hill with funerary architecture and sculptures, works by the most popular artists who were active in Cagliari from half 19th century to the early 20th century. They reflect the taste of noble and high bourgeois families of the time, who rivalled against each other in their displays of wealth and power through funeral monuments.
Up until Napoleon’s decree that forbid burials in sacred places and in the centre of the city, in Cagliari the dead were buried in or near churches, with tragic consequences, including an epidemic of cholera in 1816. The cemetery was made at the foot of the hill, then in the periphery of the town, and had already been used as burial site during the Punic-Roman and paleo Christian eras.
It was built by Napoleon and consecrated in 1828. Various enlargements took it all the way to the top of the hill. It lost its function in 1968, and since then it has crystallised: no more suffering, but serenity, families without descendants, and oblivion.