The Quiet Beauty of San Miniato al Monte

Last week, it seems like yesterday, and it seems like a hundred years ago, I was at San Miniato al Monte monastery and cemetery in Florence, Italy.

The church was built in the year 1018 with no power tools, and workers who no doubt couldn’t even write their own names. It is beauty from a dark time.

It was an unexpected, moving, and beautiful find.

We (my husband, children and I) expected to find an old monastery at the highest point in Florence. We did not expect to find the huge cemetery surrounding it.

There was not enough time to spend there. I could have spent a week looking at the hundreds of touching statues that spoke of memories, but there by those who loved and those who lost their hearts. So many dates were from the 1940’s. So many were children.

The ghosts lurked far from us, watching us walk through the rain. More than anything we could feel the love and the loss. It is a special place where those who are no longer remembered by anyone now living, are still touching our hearts and souls.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman




  1. I always forget that Roman Catholic communities in Europe really are part of the local community, much like they used to be here in the UK before the Reformation. If only Henry VIII hadn’t been so desperate to get his hands on monastic money (because he was permanently skint) then perhaps there’d still be the same links.

    1. History is a weird thing (as we all know.) Henry VIII was about as weird as it comes. The Italian cemetery in Colma, California has a lot of the same features as the one in Florence – no grass, lots of statues, and everyone is packed in. There is also a distinct section, or sections for children. We didn’t get to the Protestant cemetery in Florence. I know it would have been interesting. Aside from a few of the large Bay Area cemeteries, most of the Northern California (where I live) cemeteries are a mixed lot where everyone, no matter what your religion, is mixed together. We are a big mixed bag, though most seem to be Presbyterian, Catholic, or Latter Day Saints (Mormon), mixed with Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Unitarians, Buddhists, Jews, and Episcopals. Mark Twain said that Methodists are just Baptists with a college education or something along those lines. HA! I have several posts here featuring other cemeteries. They are places of memories both lost and found. We find so many moving stories in these places. I’ll be posting more graveyard finds in the future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.