The Zona Prima ( I )
This is the largest zone of the Cemetery – the majority of the tombs here were erected in the mid 1800s after it was decided by the city authorities, to extend the Cemetery. Perhaps the best known grave in this part is that of August the son of the German writer Wolfgang Goethe. As travel became easier, more and more foreigners arrived in Rome and hospitality became important. Here we see the tombs of the great hotelier family named Hassler, Nistelweck and Wirth.
The large cyrpt-tomb of the Norwegian-American sculptor Hendrik Andersen and his family dominates the first part of this zone and further down can be seen the beautiful monument with the seated figure in white marble of the young Russian aristocrat Maria Obolensky, daughter of the governor of Moscow, Aleksey Obolensky and Zoya Obolenskaya . If you choose to walk along the top of the Cemetery, parallel with the Aurelian Wall, please be careful of the steps and keep a lookout for protruding tree roots. In this upper area, nestling in the wall, you will see a tomb that reflects medieval models with the recumbent figure of Elsbeth Wegener Passarge, the young German woman who died shortly after her marriage and is known locally as la sposina (the young bride). There are a number of individual fruit trees in the upper area – myrtles, an almond and an apricot, as well as some impressive camelia plants that fill the area with colour during the winter months. At the front of the zone can be seen many tombs with miniature pomegranate plants. They are an excellent choice for a cemetery as they provide something to look at throughout the year – with their healthy jade coloured foliage, bright orange flowers which, unusually, blossom in autumn and tiny but perfectly formed fruits.
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