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The Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome

The Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Testaccio, Rome (to give it its full name) is also widely known as the Protestant Cemetery although it contains the graves of many Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians. It is one of the oldest burial grounds in continuous use in Europe, having started to be used around 1716. In 2016 we celebrated 300 years of burials at the foot of the Pyramid.

The Cemetery population is rich in writers, painters, sculptors, historians, archaeologists, diplomats, scientists, architects and poets, many of international eminence. Tomb inscriptions are in more than 15 languages. It is hard to think of another urban site quite so glorious. Its towering cypress trees and abundant flowers and greenery shelter a heterogeneity of elaborate and eclectic graves and monuments, nestled on a slope in the shadows of the Pyramid of Cestius. Those who rest here have all been able to enjoy the happiness of living more or less long in the Eternal City, Rome.

Address & Opening Times

Opening hours:
Mon-Sat from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (last entrance: 4.30 pm)
Sundays and public holidays 9.00 am to 1.00 pm (last entrance: 12.30 pm)

Via Caio Cestio, 6, 00153, in the Testaccio district of Rome.

The Zona Antica ( A )

The visitor enters the Cemetery by the Zona Vecchia, but if we turn left, pass the Visitors Centre, and go through the wall arch we come to the Parte Antica. As the name suggests, this is the oldest part of the Cemetery and looks out over the beautiful ancient Roman Caius Cestius Pyramid. The garden here is flat and grassy the graves are scattered in a very informal fashion. This is where the first recorded burial – that of Dr Arthur from Edinburgh took place in 1716 though, sadly, the gravesite no longer exists. The majority of those buried here were Protestant members of the court of King James III of England and Ireland, in exile in Rome from 1718 or foreigners visiting Rome on the Grand Tour.

It is probable that many more people were buried here whose burial markers have not survived. Some of them might have been…

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Guided itineraries through the Non-Catholic cemetery