At the top of the hill, near the grave of poet Percy Blysshe Shelley, the scents of pine needles and jasmine flowers intertwine to perfume the air which is otherwise thick with exhaust fumes from the traffic circle below. Down the slope, just beyond an ancient wall near the grave of poet John Keats, wild grasses dance in the shadow of the massive Pyramid of Cestius, itself a funerary monument from 12 B.C. The menacing sounds of Rome's human and vehicular chaos are muted here, replaced by the wraithy whisper of wind through the cypress trees playing harmony to the songbirds and cicadas.
Unlike other sites in Rome, here there are no ancient ruins to decipher, no imperial lineage to memorize. All one needs to know is written on the tombstones. Be they poets, artists, diplomats, or wanderers, they all made their way to Rome to die. Their stones tell tales of love and illness, fortune and misery, and life and death through the dates and cryptic epitaphs.
For further reading: ICON: A Grave Situation