Opening hours Open 9am-4:30pm (closed on Sundays). If it is quiet you might need to ring a bell at the gate in order to be admitted.
Ticket prices Admission is free, but you may like to leave a small donation in the box provided.
The Protestant Cemetery in Rome houses the final resting place of numerous non-catholic travellers who died whilst visiting or living in the Eternal City. It is a beautiful and serene place, positioned next to the Roman pyramid of Gaius Cestius near Porta San Paolo, adorned with shady trees and inhabited by a number of well-fed cats.
Although commonly known as the 'Protestant Cemetery', it's more accurately a non-Catholic cemetery, as Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims are all buried here.
Graves in the Protestant Cemetery
There are four thousand graves in the Protestant Cemetery, closely packed together, and they provide a fascinating testimony to the large numbers of artists, grand tourists, scholars and other wanderers who came to Rome from all over the world. English and German graves are the most numerous, but there are also the graves of many Americans, Russians, Greeks and several other nationalities. The earliest grave is that of a visiting student from Oxford which dates from 1738.
People are still buried in the Protestant Cemetery today. To qualify, the deceased must be a non-Catholic citizen of a select group of countries, and 'effectively resident' in Italy at the time of death.
Things to See
The Protestant Cemetery’s most famous inhabitant is probably John Keats, who died in 1821 aged just 25, and whose grave can be found to the left in the older part of the cemetery. (It's also possible to visit Keats's house, near the Spanish Steps.) The famous inscription ‘here lies one whose name was writ on water’ was placed there at the poet’s request by his friend Joseph Severn, the one-time British Consul in Rome.
"It might make one in love with death, to be buried in so sweet a place."
Percy Bysshe Shelley on the Protestant Cemetery
The other famous romantic poet to rest here is of course Shelley. His ashes were brought to the cemetery in 1822 after he drowned at sea and was cremated on the beach at Viareggio. Shelley’s young son is also buried here.
Other famous people buried here include Goethe’s son Julius Augustus, John Addington Symonds, the Russian painter Karl Briullov and the famous Italian communist thinker Antonio Gramsci, who died in 1937.
Visiting the Protestant Cemetery
The Protestant cemetery can be reached easily from Piramide metro station (linea B), or by bus number 30 which runs from the centro storico.