The interior of Florence’s Santa Croce church, which enshrines the remains of many artists. (AP /Christopher Sullivan)
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It may surprise a visitor to Italy how accessible – and how moving and beautiful – are the tombs and other formal memorials to artists that Italians dutifully and sometimes touchingly maintain.Those conjurings change to mental images of hell and purgatory nearby, where the epic poet Dante Alighieri peers sternly at passing visitors. And this is a mere memorial – his tomb being in the city of Ravenna. Facing Dante stands the ultimate artist's resting place. In fact several artists collaborated to create Michelangelo's Santa Croce tomb.The sculpture that Michelangelo actually planned for his tomb – a somber depiction of Christ being lowered from the cross – rests in a museum attached to Florence's great Duomo cathedral. Here, too, the tomb of the Renaissance master Titian stands near his enormous, glowing painting of the Assumption, which the writer Oscar Wilde deemed "certainly the best picture in Italy".In Rome's non-Catholic Cemetery, many artists are buried, and many of them were English.
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