Cimitero di San Michele


in Murano, Burano & the Northern Islands

Until Napoleon established a city cemetery on this little island, Venetians had been buried in parish plots across town – not an ideal solution in a watery city. Today, goths, incorrigible romantics and music lovers pause here to pay respects to Ezra Pound, Joseph Brodsky, Sergei Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky. Pick up a map from the office to the left of the entrance and join them, but be aware, the map pinpointing of the famous graves isn't accurate.

This is still a functioning graveyard and Venetians are constantly dropping by to pay their respects to their loved ones buried here; hence, photography and picnics aren't permitted. David Chipperfield Architects are in charge of the ongoing extension, which includes striking concrete and basalt 'courtyards'.

Before it was suppressed by Napoleon, the island was home to a Camaldolese monastery. The cloisters remain, as does the 1469 Chiesa di San Michele in Isola (€1, open on weekday mornings), one of the first Renaissance churches in Venice. Inside there are impressive carved wooden ceiling bosses, but the architecture is best admired from the ferry to Murano.