The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - November 15

Two animal-loving businessmen from Milan plan to open Europe's biggest animal cemetery early next year, providing what they say is a vital service for people like themselves. The two entrepreneurs, who recently announced their initiative by setting up a website, say they have already received dozens of phone calls from people asking for information.

"They're calling us from all over Italy," said Mauro Pupillo, one of the project's promoters. He and his partner have identified a 12,000-square-metre piece of land near the town of Lodi and are currently finishing up the bureaucracy which will allow them to use it as a cemetery. The site, due to open in March, is to be called The Rainbow Bridge. It will be equipped for the burial of small pets such as dogs and cats, but also bigger animals such as horses.

According to the plan, the cemetery will have hundreds of plots laid out on well-kept lawns. Each plot will be a miniature garden and there will be trees and a stream running by. The graves will have a white marble headstone, on which the animal's name and dates can be engraved. At an extra cost, there will also be spaces for photos.

According to animal rights' associations, the number of pets owned by Italians is growing every year. The total is currently estimated at 45.5 million.