Rito Laico
Humanist ceremonies in Italy


Today, Italian cemeteries are municipal and not religious, as they were until the early 1800s.

Their municipal nature should be underlined. They do not belong to any religious group or organisation, and their management does not lie in the hands of any of the omnipresent religious confraternities. Every Italian municipality will have a councillor who is in charge of the cemeteries, and whose authority does not derive from either the church or any other religious group. Cemeteries are minicipal, and the law states clearly that all residents may be buried there. There are no legal requirements for any form of monument rather than any other.

Burial is very rarely in the ground. Seakled coffins are walled into niches in memorial walls or family monuments.

Burial is not definitive. To free up space for new burials, the law states that remains shall be removed to a common ossuario after a period which can vary between 5 and 30 years.

Woodland burial

This option is currently not contempated under Italian law, even though it is becoming more and more common in other countries, particularly among nature lovers.

Woodland burials take place in specially designated woods or forests. They are often in very beautiful parts of the country, away from the inhabited areas, and rarely provoke the sense of gloom that accompanies a more traditional cemetery. There are no tombstones in the tradiional sense, though sometimes there may be small plaques which simply cary a name and teh dates of birth and death. Sometimes the location of a grave is indicated by a tree, sometimes it is entirely unmarked.

As a result of this growing trend, the use of non-traditional and biodegraable coffins is growing.

If you are able to use a Woodland Burial site, we reccomend that you choose a funeral director with experience of this form of burial. You should also plan well ahead of need; and by so doing it may even be possible to choose the exact plot where the burial will take place.

Here is a link to a map of woodland burial sites in Switzerland, and to the site of the organisation that manages them. (in German).