Unusual Things To Do In Rome ~ The Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners

It’s day four of this week’s series about unusual things to do in Rome.

Everybody visits the Colosseum, The Vatican, The Pantheon, The Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps when they go to Rome. While these sights are sensational they are just the very tip of the iceberg – there is so much more to see and do in Rome!

That’s why this week I’m looking at other things to do while you’re in the eternal city, things that are a little more unusual.

So far this week we looked at the Teatro Marcello, the

Jewish Ghetto and the Pyramid of Cestius. Today we are visiting the Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners, which just happens to be at the base of the pyramid.

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The entrance to the cemetery

The Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners

I love going to French cemeteries. Resplendent in statues of wailing women and aching angels they are spectacular to visit. Italian cemeteries tend to be more streamlined, more about the business of the dead. This one however is beautiful. Statues, gardens, flowered walkways – it is gorgeous. And it has some fantastic statues, wailing.

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This cemetery was the final resting place for all kinds of fascinating folk including, Keats, Shelley and Goethe.

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Located in the Testaccio neighborhood, which borders Ostiense,
the Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners also has a park-like area from which you can look at the Pyramid of Cestius.

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one of my travelers fraternizing with the felines

In the ruins at the base of the pyramid there is a cat sanctuary!

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Romans love cats and provide sensational sanctuaries for strays, in this case, the fattest stray cats you will ever see.
These fat cats roam the cemetery, stretch out their full bellies on the walls in the sunshine, and generally enjoy life.
They are medically treated, spayed and kept very healthy.

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one of the cat ladies lining up giant bowls of tuna for the fat cat strays

An added bonus are the crazy cat ladies who work the sanctuary and walk through the cemetery with giant bowls of food for the felines. Like caricatures of themselves they speak to my deepest fears of one day becoming a crazy cat lady myself. Although if you are going to be a crazy cat lady, you might as well be one in Rome!

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To find the Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners take Via Marmorata from the bottom of the Aventine Hill in the direction of the Aurelian Wall. Look for the giant pyramid gleaming in the sunshine and you will find the cemetery sitting right beside it.

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