Isola di San Michele

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San Michele, nicknamed The Island of the Dead, is the cemetery island of Venice. It is associated with the sestiere of Cannaregio from which it lies a short distance north east.

Along with neighbouring San Cristoforo della Pace, the island was a popular place for local travellers and fishermen to land. Coducci's Chiesa di San Michele in Isola of 1469, the first Renaissance church in Venice, and a monastery lie on the island.

San Cristoforo was selected to become a cemetery in 1807, designed by Antonio Selva, when under French occupation it was decreed that burial on the mainland was insanitary. The canal that separated the two islands was filled in during 1836, and subsequently the larger island became known as San Michele. The island briefly doubled as a prison, but it is the now-closed section of the cemetery which is famous. Bodies were carried to the island on special funeral gondolas, including Igor Stravinsky, Joseph Brodsky, Sergei Diaghilev and Ezra Pound. Other attractions include the Cappella Emiliana chapel.

The cemetery is still in use today. However, due to shortage of space, as is the custom in many European countries, after a few years the dead are exhumed and stored in compact concrete ossary boxes in another part of the cemetery.de:San Michele nl:Isola di San Michele

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