English travelers began to come through Rome on the Grand Tour in the 18th century, followed by a wave of writers and artists who settled there. Many were not Catholic, and Rome soon found it needed a cemetery to lay to rest Protestants who died while in the city. The first burial in Rome’s Protestant Cemetery was in 1738, making it one of the oldest cemeteries in continuous use in Europe. With the tombs of luminaries such as John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, American poet Gregory Corso, and Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci, the cemetery is said to contain the highest density of famous graves anywhere in the world.
The Protestant Cemetery is also known locally as the Cemetery of the English (Cimitero degli Inglesi), though its official name is the Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners. Visit the most famous graves in the Protestant Cemetery by joining a guided cemetery tour, or stop in to appreciate its beautiful statuary and moving inscriptions as part of a Rome highlights walking or bike tour.