The tomb of Sonia Kaliensky in the cemetery of St Michael in VeniceHistorical Curiosities
The tomb of Sonia Kaliensky in the cemetery of St Michael in Venice
Between Venice and Murano there is a small island completely surrounded by a wall, beyond which one can see only tall cypress trees: this is the island of St Michael, and from 1813, it has been the cemetery of Venice.
A visit to St Michele is a journey through the sculptures and society of the lagoon city of the last two centuries. Inside there are also two small enclosures that house the Protestant and the Orthodox burials, a sign of the millennial tolerance of Venice to all other religions.
Within the Orthodox fence there are the graves of the famous composer Igor Stravinsky and the Russian Ballets promoter Sergei Diaghilev. But there is also a monument of great beauty, linked to a sad love story.
We are talking about the tomb of Sonia Kaliensky, a Russian noble who, at barely twenty-two, came to Venice to celebrate the carnival of 1907, while staying in the famous and luxurious Danieli Hotel near St Mark's Square. During the general merriment of a carnival night, Sonia took her own life with an overdose of laudanum because of a crushing love disappointment.
The family decided to bury her in Venice and called the famous sculptor Enrico Butti to create a life size bronze of their daughter. The artist produced a porphyry tomb with the figure of their daughter supported by three hooded characters. Sonia is represented in the moment of death, languidly lying on the bed, with a nightdress in light and just crumpled tissue.
The sculpture is hand-polished because of the amount of touches it has received over a century from the visitors, impressed by the drama of the story and the beauty of the sculpture.
If you wish to visit the island of St Michele to see the beautiful tomb of this young lover, we recommend the water bus: Line 4.1 / 4.2, that passes through Piazzale Roma and the Venice Saint Lucia train station, as it is the only one scheduled to stop on the island of St Michael!
Vicenza: The Odeon cinema in Vicenza, one of the oldest in the world
Perhaps not everyone knows that in Vicenza there is one of the oldest cinemas in the world, still open today! Originally the hall was a...View
Venice: The bells of St. Mark’s Bell Tower in Venice
St Mark’s Bell Tower in St. Mark's Square is one of the symbols of Venice, but not everyone knows that the original building collapse...View
Venice: The cell no. 10 in the Pozzi prison of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Unknown places & works
In the 1980s, during the restoration of the so-called ‘Pozzi’ (wells), the underground prison cells in the Doge's Palace, the tenth...View
Venice: The Rialto Bridge in Venice and the Doge's daughter
Mysteries & Legends
There are many stories and legends related to the famous Rialto bridge on the Grand Canal in Venice, but few people know the one that h...View
Venice: The Doge Enrico Dandolo and the conquest of Constantinople
The history of the Venetian Republic was inextricably linked to the Doge's charismatic personality, but also adventurers and traitors, ...View
Venice: The three wellheads of the San Trovaso Church
In the charming Dorsoduro district in Venice, there is the ancient church of Saints Gervasio and Protasio, called San Trovaso in Veneti...View