Brion Tomb: A Brilliant Example of Architectural Narrative

The Brion Tomb is commissioned by Onorina Brion after the death of Giuseppe Brion, her husband, in 1968. It is located in San Vito d’Altivole village in Italy. The tomb was built on an L-shaped plot of land as an extension to the adjacent town cemetery between the years 1968-1978. After her death, Onorina was also buried next to her husband.

The architect of the tomb and the sanctuary was Carlo Scarpa, a famous Italian architect influenced by Venetian and Japanese styles, culture, and history. The tomb is often regarded as a modernist masterpiece due to its detailed architectural narrative, intricate carvings, and symbolic elements.

brion tomb

Scarpa was famous for his approach to concrete, and combining historical crafts with modern manufacturing processes. His main aim in Brion Tomb was to create an architectural work that could evoke the same feelings as poetry does.

The tomb and the sanctuary act as a garden both for the dead and for the living, providing a peaceful reflection on life and death. The monument has two entrances filled with symbolic carvings, leading to the twinned sarcophagi of the couple, which is the center of the cemetery.


It is believed that the Brion Tomb will be used as a location in the upcoming film Dune: Part II, an adaptation of the famous science fiction book called Dune.


The Tomb of The Brion Couple

Their tombs are inclined towards each other to symbolize their love even after death and how even the concrete matter itself molds under the force of their unity. Scarpa built another burial place for the other members of the family as well.

brion tomb
brion tomb

The viewing device of the sanctuary is in the motif of vesica piscis which represents the Brion couple and their unity. The vesica piscis became the symbol of the tomb and it was a recurring motif in Scarpa’s other works.

vesica piscis, brion tomb

The asymmetrical facade, enclosed on the right by a partition with vertical steps symbolizes strength and beauty.

sanctuary, brion tomb
the pond, brion tomb

The tomb of Carlo Scarpa

Carlo Scarpa requested to be buried in the Brion Cemetery as well. He lost his life after falling down stairs in Japan, in 1978.