Catacombs of the Capuchins (Italian Catacombe dei Cappuccini name) - the Museum of death, the place is not for the faint of heart, where you can face to face with the dead.
In this mysterious place hovers very special atmosphere, the temperature is lower than outside the walls, and reigning in the crypt gloom and the silence only added to the thrills. Despite the apparent eeriness, the Museum is particularly popular among guests of the city and is one of the greatest attractions not only of Sicily, but throughout Italy.
Currently, the Capuchin Catacombs are a Museum and a burial place (the crypt), where in a single indoor room, located under the monastery of Convento dei Cappuccini, in the clear the remains of more than eight thousand people.
Catacombs of the Capuchins in Palermo originated in the burial place of the monks of the monastery. Once settled in this place, Capuchin monks, in 1534, under the altar of St. Anne in the church of Santa Maria della Pache, they created a cemetery where dead monks were buried in a mass grave. However, by 1597, the Capuchin community had grown and even a single grave for burial was not enough. After which it was decided to create a larger cemetery behind the main altar, using the ancient caves then available in the area. After the completion of the crypt, the dead brothers, the monks were moved from the old tomb to the new one. However, during the exhumation, it was noted that the bodies of some monks remained in well preserved condition and has been naturally mummified. The Capuchins considered this an act of God, and instead of burying the remains, they decided to leave the bodies of their brothers as relics and placed them in niches along the walls of the corridor of the new cemetery.
The "miracle" has brought considerable fame to the monastery, in the crypt were buried not only clergy, but also influential of the nobles, the nobility, the elite and prominent citizens of the time, and in 1783 it was decided to give burial to all who were able to afford the cost of such disposal. To be buried in an underground crypt has become a very prestigious tradition among the citizens.
So, currently, catacombs of the Capuchins are a fairly large size underground cemetery consisting of corridors, where along the walls stand, lie, sit, and even numerous mummified bodies of long-dead people. There are corridors for men and women; children and the innocent girls (cubicula children and virgins); and corridors, where the rest of the monks, outstanding people of art and science of those times.
In the Catacombs you can see the bodies of the dead of all ages, from the elderly to small children. Some bodies lie in open or closed caskets.
All bodies are located so close to visitors that you can reach them, you just have to reach out, to see every part of the body and skeleton of the deceased, as well as outfits of past centuries.
In the chapel of St. Rosalia in one of the tombs you can see the body of two year old girl, Rosalia Lombardo. The body of a young Rosalia is preserved in such a way that by looking at him you would think that this is not the deceased person and the doll. Eyelashes are visible on the body, there is all hair, eyeballs and skin.
Around the body of Rosalia, a lot of legends, some of which state that she is in a lethargic sleep, others that after the death of the little girl Rosalia inconsolable father could not accept the fact of death and of parting with his beloved daughter. Then he turned to the well-known at the time, so Alfredo Salafia with a request to keep the body incorruptible. After the procedures which are carried out by Alfredo, the body of the girl ceased to be exposed to any changes, and great the master and carried away a secret of preservation of a body with himself in a grave.
Where is the Museum of the Capuchins
Museum of the Capuchins is located in Palermo in Sicily, in Piazza Cappuccini, 1, Palermo 90129 PA. Near the Church of Parrocchia Santa Maria della Pace.
Photo of the Church
The entrance to the Catacombs of the Capuchins
Opening hours, ticket prices
The Capuchin catacombs are open to the public daily (including holidays).
Attention! The catacombs are closed on Sunday afternoon from late October to late March.
Visiting hours: 9-13 and 15-18 hours.
The entrance ticket is 3 euros.
To ensure the state of conservation of the mummies and in accordance with the requirements of bioethics - it is forbidden to take photos, shoot video and touch the exhibits.
Catacombs of the Capuchins are among the religious monuments, so during a visit, it is recommended to comply with standards of conduct and dress code, and avoid the use of mobile phones and consumption of foodstuffs or beverages.