While visiting friends on the other side of Lake Como, we stopped by the lakeside town of Gravedona and visited the cemetery and the medieval church of St. Maria del Tiglio (St. Mary of the Linden Tree).
As you can see, family vaults are kept over generations and centuries, and are well maintained. This is possible in a culture where families simply don’t move around much. When families have moved away from their roots, people will sometimes travel on November 1st (Ognissanti – All Saints’) to spruce up their family graves elsewhere in Italy. Religious organizations hang around the cemeteries that day to sell pre-printed tags that you can hang on your family vault to show you’ve been there (in case your dead ancestors didn’t notice?), and florists – who tend to cluster around cemeteries – do a booming business as well.