Memoria Scaduta

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In Italy, one's final resting place in a cemetery is not considered to be forever.  Modern contracts for a cemetery space generally last from 30 to 50 years.  When the contract expires and the space is needed, the person’s physical remains are moved to a much smaller individual, familial, or communal ossuary.  The emptied space is then available to be re-used.

This series of photographs, Memoria Scaduta, is of the headstones, markers, and other paraphernalia that are removed when the physical remains are relocated.  How these memorial objects are disposed of varies immensely from cemetery to cemetery.  Sometimes these remnants are handled with what appears to be great respect, at other times they are strewn about in a way that suggests complete carelessness and disregard. 

A note on the title:  Memoria Scaduta is best translated into English as Expired Memory.  In this context “expired” would not mean having died but would mean having elapsed (as a due date or a contract might expire).  “Scaduta” in Italian also means having declined or gone down in value.


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All images © Jim Vecchi.

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