"The church at the corner of the island is beautifully cool, austere and
pallid, and is tended by soft-footed Franciscans ... The cemetery itself is wide and calm,
a series of huge gardens, studded with cypress trees and awful monuments.
"Not long ago it consisted of two separate islands, San Michele and San
Cristoforo, but now they have been artificially joined, and the whole area is cluttered
with hundreds of thousands of tombs--some lavishly monumental, with domes and sculputures
and wrought-iron gates, some stacked in high modern terraces, some stacked in high modern
terraces, like filing systems."
Here and there, the path leads to a border of contiguous
marble-topped crypts that must be traversed to leave the garden. ("Is it okay to walk
on the tombs, honey?" "I dunno. But we're wearing our rubber-soled shoes, so
maybe the caretaker won't notice.")