Mummies Of Italy: The Capuchin Catacombs

“The grave is but the threshold of eternity.” —Robert Southey

In A Nutshell

In Palermo, Sicily, there is a place that is every bit as spooky as it is fascinating—the Capuchin Catacombs, which hold thousands of extremely well-preserved mummies beneath the Capuchin Church dressed all in their Sunday best and fueling nightmares for generations.

The Whole Bushel

Thanks to Boris Karloff, you would typically only think of mummies really being part of Egyptian culture, but that’s not the case: Mummified remains can be found in numerous cultures throughout world history. One such place is in the city of Palermo in Sicily, where you will find the Capuchin Catacombs.

In the 16th century, the monks realized their cemetery was no longer large enough to hold any more remains, so they built the catacombs under their monastery. They are now home to thousands of mummified corpses arranged in (we must admit) a rather spooky manner. The bodies are dressed in the finest clothes owned by the deceased and either propped up or hung from hooks, typically by their necks or feet.

The crypts are not home to only monks, but also artists, military personnel, and other high-profile people, though no one has been buried their since the 1920s. Still, it has become a genuine tourist attraction; some people apparently love nothing more than to walk among the exceptionally well-preserved dead bodies of men, women, and children. In addition to the tourist attention the catacombs have garnered, several television networks have sent camera crews to document the macabre scene beneath the Capuchin Church.

Show Me The Proof

Sicily Crypts
Ghoulish mummies in the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily