If you happen to visit the city of Pisa by bus, chances are that your bus parks at the large bus parking area on Via Pietrasantina, a few hundred yards away from the world heritage site of Piazza dei Miracoli, where thousands of tourists visit the leaning tower everyday.
In this case, unfortunately, you might also happen to walk down Via Pietrasantina to reach the famous square, risking at the same time your life and health due to unexisting crosswalks and boardwalks, a very dirty and dangerous car underpassage and a completely crazy roundabout where cars come from all directions and walkers do not have any intellegible walking path to reach the other side and then, finally, the historic Piazza. But let’s go back to your bus parking lot: when you walk out of it, just pay attention to the area on your left side, a sort of abandoned no-man’s-land, where a crumbled 19th. century wall appears to enclose a sort of wild garden, filled with garbage, rusty pieces of iron, plastic bags, possibly syringes… and a delectable smell of urine. Attached to the eastern part of this wall there’s a sort of lodge, where someone is evidently living and hanging wet clothes between a couple of cypress trees. If you take a left onto the Via Pietrasantina, the wall appears to have completely fallen down and replaced with an iron railing leading to a locked fence. From this side it’s possible to actually look into the overgrown “garden” which is clearly an abandoned cemetery. My wife and I spotted a couple of monuments and we managed to take close-up pictures which allowed us to read at least one inscription:
“Sacred to the memory of Florence Marie Holt, beloved daughter of the honourable Thomas Holt M.L.C., of Sydney, Australia. Born 20th November 1856 and died at Pisa March 22nd 1883. ‘Thy will be done’.”
The Australian Dictionary of Biography reveals the identity of the father, Thomas Holt (1811-1888), a very well known wool merchant from Yorkshire who emigrated to New South Wales, Australia, with his german wife Sophie and became Treasurer of the first Australian Parliament. He was also a member of New South Wales Legislative Assembly, of the Royal Society of NSW and the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW. Later in his life he devoted himself to the poor of London, working with the Salvation Army.
I do not wish to add any other comment regarding the awful condition of this burial ground, but just let you look at the pictures I took this morning. If you happen to find anything related to this place, please let me know because I could not find any information at all about it.