Inscriptions provide evidence of the evolution of “collective representations of death”.
They express the grief of the living and at the same time allow to remember the life and
qualities of the dead. The literary and artistic aspects of the 18th and 19th century epitaphs
and the topic of memory are to be examined in the context of the Romantic representation
of death, as it is found in works by Foscolo, Goethe, Lessing, Herder and others. In
the early 19th century the rising importance of the modern epigraphy is parallelled by the
debate on the privileged use of Latin or Italian language. Examples from the collection
of epitaphs written by Stefano Antonio Morcelli, Antonio Cesari, Pietro Giordani, Luigi
Muzzi and Giuseppe Manuzzi, and new dissertations on the genre rules for modern
epigraphy are discussed.