Tomb of Niccolò Paganini – Parma, Italy - Atlas Obscura

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Tomb of Niccolò Paganini

Cimitero della Villetta

The final resting place of the famous violinist, after his corpse was denied a proper Catholic burial for decades. 


Niccolò Paganini was a spectacular violinist—so talented that people believed he had made a deal with the devil.

Throughout his final years, Paganini’s health deteriorated, and after the casino he set up in Paris proved to be a failure, he fell into financial ruin. He soon left Paris for Marseilles, and then went onto Nice. His condition worsened and the Bishop of Nice sent him a local parish priest to perform last rites, but Paganini refused thinking it was premature. A week later, he died at the age of 57 from internal hemorrhaging. His death happened so fast, a priest could not be summoned in time to administer his last rites.

Rumor has it, that it was because of this and his association with the devil, that the Catholic church refused Paganini’s body to be buried properly in Genoa, where he had been born. Four years later, the pope allowed for his body to be transported to Genoa, however, he was still not buried.

In 1876, 36 years after his death, Paganini was finally buried in a municipal cemetery in Parma, over 100 miles from Genoa. Seventeen years later, Czech violinist František Ondříček asked Attila, Paganini’s grandson, to allow a viewing of Paganini’s body. After this, in 1896, Paganini’s body was finally reinterred in a new cemetery in Parma, where he still rests today.

Know Before You Go

The thomb is in the southern corner of the cemetery, left of the main entrance.

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March 3, 2021

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