Emelyn Story

The most beautiful spot in Rome that I know is the Protestant Cemetary, a curiously silent and shaded place that’s kept hidden by the looming Cestius Pyramid, some crumbling remnants of the Aurelian wall, and a foreboding alleyway of shuttered nightclubs bordering the blue-collar Testaccio district.

The few visitors here generally arrive to see the grave of John Keats, buried, per his instructions, under the epitaph “here lies one whose name was writ in water”. Shelley, too, lies nearby; he had earlier toured Keats’ tomb and exclaimed, “it might make one in love with death to know that one should be buried in so sweet a place”.


Azure and I mostly visit to pet the resident cats, and to see, just once more again, the gravestone of Emelyn Story; a grieving marble angel that was carved by the hand of her husband, American sculptor William Story, whose own grave lies next to hers, and that of their young child, Joseph.

emelyn story sculpture by william wetmore story

emelyn story’s grave, 2003

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