The Zona Prima

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.

Route map

  • Use two-finger touch gestures to pan and zoom the map
  • Tap on Satellite to activate the rotate map function
  • Tap on numbers to show the grave at that position


Time: About 30 minutes.

Difficulty: Easy

Tips: The route only covers the Zona Prima. Many graves are not on the main path and you need to use location references or photos to locate them. During the tour, inside the cemetery, it is strictly forbidden to smoke, drink and consume food, lean or sit on the graves and film in the cemetery. For information on the type of photos allowed, you can refer to the Visitor Center. It is also advisable to wear comfortable shoes for the walk and to pay attention to the large roots on the paths, especially in the Zona Seconda and we suggest you bring protective cream during the hottest period.


Please find below the stages of this route:

  1. Andersen, Hendrik Christian
  2. American sculptor, painter and urban planner of Norwegian origin. Read More

    Zone: 1 Row: 7 Position: 10

  3. Page, Thomas Jefferson
  4. Confederate explorer and soldier, he explored the Río de la Plata basin in Argentina. Read More

    Zone: 1 Row: 12 Position: 22

  5. Goethe, August Von
  6. German, son of Wolfgang von Goethe, member of the court of Carlo Augusto, Great Duke of Sassonia-Weimar-Eisenach. Read More

    Zone: 1 Row: 14 Position: 20

  7. Hassler, Alberto
  8. Hotel keeper, he inaugurated the Hotel Hassler in Rome in 1893. Read More

    Zone: 1 Row: 15 Position: 16

  9. Passarge, Elsbet Maria Wegener
  10. German girl who died at the age of eighteen. Read More

    Zone: 1 Row: 16 Position: 16

  11. Maria Obolenskaya
  12. Aristrocatic Russian girl who died at the age of 17. Read More

    Zone: 1 Row: 10 Position: 45
The complete guide to find a grave

All the graves of the Non-Catholic Cemetery can be located through the position details that can be read within each single buried person’s page or gravestone’s page itself.

Exact position can be located by 4 simple fields: The Area (Zona), The quarter (Riquadro), The Row (Fila) and The Position (Posizione).


The Areas (Zona)

The Non-Catholic cemetery of Rome is composed by 5 large areas. All areas are bounded by walkable paths, so they are very easy to locate.

ATTENTION: We gently remind to all visitors that the Antica(A) area is a flat and grassy garden, and the graves are scattered in a very informal fashion. Furthermore we suggest you to exclusively refer to the walk’s map and also to the photo of the gravestone to locate the exact position.


The quarter* (Riquadro) *valid only for the Terza Zona (3)

The quarter is strictly related to the Terza Zona of the cemetery.

This area is divided into 4 quadrants numbered as shown in this map.

Only the graves in the Terza Zona will have the quarter indicated in the position information.

The field that represent the quarter will be empty/not visible in each other grave except the graves in the Terza Zona.

Please note that to identify any tomb it is always possible to refer to the walk’s map and to the photo of the grave.





The Row (Fila) 

The graves in the cemetery are mostly laid out in ordered rows.

Only the Zona Antica(A) and the tombs along the walls, for example ossuaries, are an exception.

In order to count the row number it is necessary to recognize the lower part of the cemetery as a reference. The Non-Catholic cemetery in fact extends over a slight slope (except for the Zona Antica which is flat but does not have rows).

The first row will always be the one at the lowest level compared to the others.

Once the first row is identified it will be easy to count all the others rows.



The Position (Posizione)

It is used to locate the grave within the reference row.

The position can be identified by counting the graves from left to right.

The count must be made always starting from the left end of the area where the tomb is located.