TO MANY people, where their bodies rest after death could be just as important as where they've lived during life.
When Nicola Piccioni of South Hurstville knew that his heart condition had no cure, he discussed his burial place with family.
His first preference was the Piccioni family vault in Abruzzo in central Italy, but his Australian family convinced him that it would be too difficult for them to visit and bring flowers if he were so far away.
So he settled on the Woronora Cemetery because he had lots of friends there.
Mr Piccioni's death in early October coincided with the completion of the cemetery's new mausoleum, the Gardens of Pieta, and the moment the grieving family saw the light-filled marble and granite structure they knew it was just right.
As Mr Piccioni was the first to be interred in this new space, the family was able to choose a perfect spot right next to the altar with its replica of Michelangelo's Pieta, the sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the dead Christ.
"We wanted him near the altar so when Mass is said he'll be right there," said son Alfonso Piccioni.
Woronora's chief executive Graham Boyd said the Gardens of Pietà represented a major investment for the cemetery and would help overcome the increasing pressure on the land space available for traditional burial.
He said the mausoleum would provide 544 indoor and outdoor crypts including four private family vaults.
The craftsmen who built it, Frank Dimarco and Son from Kogarah, chose the highest quality imported marble and granite, and the replica of the Pieta, and all of the statues, vases and bronze accessories, were made in Italy.
Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Julian Porteous will officially open the mausoleum on Saturday, October 27, at 10.30am, and the community is invited to attend.
The ceremony will include a performance by classical singer Mark Vincent and the St Patrick's Primary School choir.
GARDENS OF PIETA
Some idea of what to expect if looking for a marble and granite resting place in the mausoleum.
Private family crypts: outdoor/four position, $262,500; outdoor/eight position, $319,950.
Indoor crypts: for two, ranging from $34,000 to $71,000.
Outdoor crypts: single $15,500 to $33,100; double, $33,250 to $67,050.
Ashes niches: double niche $11,980; single, $7660.
Would you buy a space in the new mausoleum?