The bodies of over 8000 souls line the catacombs of Cappuchin, Palermo. This sounds like one of the most interesting yet macabre places I have heard of in some time.
They wanted the bodies to be preserved for the living to face the dead. Tourists are able to walk the halls. The bodies were drained, dried and stuffed in straw in the vaults underneath for around nine months.
Initially they were for the monks but slowly patrons came. They were organised by gender, class and age. The Cardinals, Lawyers, Children, Infants are all ordered amongst the line ups.
In 1860 the practise was outlawed, 1920 a body was brought in, Rosalia Lombardo was brought in by her family. Her sister would visit regularly but this stopped in recent years.
Many that visit will turn away upset, horrified or perhaps just overwhelmed by looking death in the face quite literally. I won’t post up pictures and videos, but if you are interested the link here that takes you to more information.
Originally it was a series of large pits with bodies… a lot of them, and I am going to guess it stank! Human remains just stacked wherever they could put them and monks needed to do something with them all.
They came up with quite a unique way of solving the problem, they made displays from all the bones, keeping them in the boundary of the cemetery and it’s building. Bone pyramids were the beginning from a half-blind monk’s orders to find a way to dispose of them.
An architect then made candelabra to fit in with it. A rich family then brought it and it was redecorated. Now there are garlands and hanging decor from them, some of them are extremely creative if not a little odd. A huge hanging chandelier makes a morbidly amazing central piece too.
Take a Virtual Visit via this site