Today, in a private ceremony, Carla Fracci’s ashes were interred in Milan’s Cimitero Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery) in Milan.
The main entrance to the vast cemetery is via the imposing Famedio (literally ‘Temple of Fame’) where Milan’s most illustrious children have been laid to rest. There are only seven people in the main building – including the novelist Alessandro Manzoni and the philosopher and writer Carlo Cattaneo – and Carla Fracci becomes the first woman to join them.
In the crypt below there are other notable figures such as playwright Dario Fo and his wife, the actress, Franca Rame, musicians Giorgio Gaber and Enzo Jannacci, the poet Alda Merini, and many others. Other notable figures who are buried elsewhere – Giuseppe Verdi, for example, is buried in the grounds of the rest home he built in Milan for retired musicians) – have their names engraved on marble slabs.
The pink marble of Candoglia, which has been employed in building and repairing Milan’s Duomo since the 14th century, was used for Fracci’s tomb, engraved simply with her name and the dates of her birth and death.
Those wanting to visit the Famedio will find her tomb slightly to the right of the entrance, to the east, where the sun first shines into the building:
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Romeo and Juliet, The balcony scene
Beppe Menegatti, Carla Fracci’s husband, was eager that the photos of the cemetery workers lifting the 100kg marble slab into place be featured here because “without the technicians, there would be no show”.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.