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Dark Destinations > Locations in Italy > Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo

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Filed Under: Cemeteries/Graveyards
Cemeteries/Graveyards > Tours
Added By: Dementia
Added On: October 28, 2008 - 05:30 PM UTC
Last Modified: October 28, 2008 - 08:03 PM UTC
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Piazza Cappuccini, 90135 Palermo, Italy
Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo (or King Capuchin Catacombs) in Palermo, Italy are not the average resting place for the dead. The people resting in this stone crypt range from infants, to elderly - from the average to the wealthy. The catacombs date all the way back to 1599, when priests mummified a monk and was put on display so people could pray for him after death. Soon after people wanted their own loved ones put on display, so family members and friends could come visit and pray for their passing. So the King Capuchin Catacombs were created.

The catacombs are not the normal style of catacombs where bodies are just laying down and resting. Some bodies are positioned a certain way such as children sitting in rocking chairs or priests hanging from the ceiling, many have even willed it that they have to have a change of clothes every so often and need to be standing or sitting down. A change of clothes even after you are dead? People would think that is stupid or absurd, but the workers in the catacombs do just that, if the will says so they change their clothes. The clothing also helps teach the tourists about history, many of the corpses wear their original clothes, including one person Colonel Enea DiGiuliano he is still wearing his 1800s French Bourbon uniform today.

The catacombs are also broken up into categories. Some of the corridors are labeled. For example there is a corridor for men, women, children, priests, and even virgins. But one of the weirdest corridors is called the screaming hallway. It is where some of the corpses have fought a battle with gravity and lost. Their jaws are open wide almost as if screaming from death, and several limbs may have fallen and pieces of their skull have caved in. The odd thing is the hallways are so narrow that you could reach your arm out and touch a corpse, and you would think there would be odor inside? Actually there is no odor at all; the way they used to preserve the bodies was different from today. They would dip the bodies in arsenic or lime because back then when epidemics were occurring it was safer to do so. They would then put the body in what most people would classify as a Barbeque pit and let the body dehydrate for eight months. Before they were taken out to fresh air, they were soaked in vinegar and then placed inside the catacomb.

There are some bodies inside that have gotten a famous name after death. A little 2-year-old girl named Rosalia Lombardo passed away and a doctor injected her body with certain chemicals so her body never decayed. She is resting in a glass top coffin and people believe that she is just sleeping. There is another famous man named Giovanni Paterniti who was on the American Vice Council in 1911. Although his body looks dehydrated, his skin is still intact and people may look at him as well.

If you have what it takes to visit the dead and maybe even reach out to touch one, you might go home with a friend, or at least a new look at life and death. For more information, please visit the site below.
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Related Sites
Capuchins' Catacomb
Tourist information about the Capuchin Catacomb in Palermo, located on the island of Sicily in Italy.
King Capuchins Catacombs Corpses of Palermo
Site dedicated to the mysterious Capuchins' Catacomb in Palermo, Italy.
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See Also on
Blog: A Visit to the Catacombs of Palermo (12/28/08)
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The above content is for informational purposes only. Before making any travel arrangements, it is highly recommended that you contact those in charge of the property to check for updated availability and hours of operation. While we do our best to keep this information updated, we cannot guarantee that it is completely valid and up to date. Any destination marked "Closed to the Public" is marked that for a reason and we discourage any visits or attempts to gain access to that facility. Similarly, take note of any "Travel Advisory" that may be associated with a destination. Finally, treat any location and its local residents with respect. Any vandalism and/or unruly behavior is completely despicable and only ruins the experience for future visitors.

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