There is a strong suggestion that urn burial be reinstituted in Bagni di Lucca’s Cimitero Inglese, otherwise known as the Anglican cemetery. Strictly speaking, this would become a non-Roman Catholic cemetery (in Italian” acattolico”) for those not of the Romish persuasion wishing to find their final resting place in Bagni di Lucca. This means that anyone from, from Waldensians to Wesleyans, from Mormons to Methodists, Agnostics to Atheists, Deists to Dawkinites as well as those belonging to non-Christian persuasions would be admitted to this beautiful site.
Inhumation would not be allowed because Italian law prohibits the burial of entire corpses within a certain range of private housing for health reasons (plague etc.) but cremated remains would be admitted. Incidentally, the nearest place to be cremated is at Livorno and one can join now the cremation society and make provisions for oneself after death at Farina’s funeral parlour on the via del Brennero.
If all this sounds either premature or morbid to some it can only be said that the prime concern of many ex-pats in these parts and who are no longer spring chickens is what happens when we no longer breathe the lovely air of the Val di Lima. Have we made provision for this in our will? Are out wills valid under Italian or British law? Have we given exact provision, not only of who will receive our worldly goods when we can no longer make use of them and have we written down any order of service or favourite hymns we would like sung at the service for our demise? Do we, in short, want to be inhumed, cremated or dispersed in England’s green and pleasant land or are we happy to become part of the earth in the gorgeous Val di Lima?
I have sometimes posed these semi-eschatological questions to myself but they came to the fore when on entering Bagni di Lucca library yesterday I received a phone call from the chair of the Michel de Montaigne association suggesting that there may be a real possibility that urn burial could be allowed in the beautiful cimitero Inglese at Bagni di Lucca in the not too distant future. This means that for the first time since the early 1950’s the hallowed earth there which has also been blessed by the diocese of Gibraltar may admit the remains of our dear departed.
I, for one, would not be averse to such a proposal if it came to fruition. I am sure it would also be cheaper for my relatives as they would only have to invest in a plaque (as in the case of Ian Greenlees and Robin Chanter at Bagni di Lucca’s main cemetery) rather than go through all the bureaucratic palaver of carting a corpse by air to the British Isles.
On the other hand, it may also be an option to have oneself cremated here and then receive the sealed casket for transportation to England if a burial plot has been arranged for one.,
I would be happy, indeed, for part of my ashes to be placed in an urn at Bagni di Lucca’s Cimitero inglese at Bagni and the rest of my ashes placed in a burial plot which apparently my wife purchased some time ago from Greenwich council at Plumstead. Both places incidentally have lovely views, and are truly green and pleasant places.
My ghost will make sure that everything goes to plan, I’m sure of that….