Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 January 2016
This article examines the monumental cemeteries of nineteenth-century Italy with regard to their role as platforms for the tensions between Church and state. In that burial grounds were publically owned yet administered by the clergy, they represented a space where conflicts between secular and clerical powers might be played out – conflicts that reached a peak in the final decades of the Ottocento following the annexation of the Papal State to unified Italy. Particular attention is given to the adoption of cremation as a practice that was advocated by anticlerical, liberal and radical factions in opposition to the Catholic Church. That opposition was manifested in the design and layout of Italian burial grounds and in construction of new crematoria.