|Location:||Palermo, Conventi dei Cappuccini, Piazza Cappuccini.|
Summer 9-12, 15-17:30.
Winter 9-12, 15-17.
Adults EUR 1.50.
|Address:||Catacombe dei Cappuccini, Piazza Cappuccini 1, Palermo, Sicily, Tel: +39-091-212117.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1599||capuchin monks discover the preservative effect of their catacombs.|
|1871||Brother Riccardo was the last friar buried here.|
|1920||last person bured here.|
|1940s,||hit by Allied bombs and part of the mumies destroyed.|
|1957||Giuseppe Tommasi, prince of Lampedusa and author of The Leopard buried here.|
The Catacombe dei Cappuccini (Capuchin Catacoms) at Palermo are world famous, because of their mummifying effect. It was first discovered in 1599 when the monks built a new grave below the church and started to relocate their deads. They decided to keep the old catacombs, and soon after, when the effect became known, many inhabitants of Palermo, especially the upper class, demanded to be buried here. Over the centuries many thousand persons were buried here, some talk of 4,000, others of 8,000 bodies. Some were not preserved perfectly, others were destroyed during World War II, so at the moment the catacombs contain about 1,200 bodies. The oldest mummy is Fra Silvestro da Gubbio who died 1599.
Actually there is no specialty of the location which causes the mummification. The place was simply dry and the bodies did not decay but dry. The monks washed some of the bodies with vinegar, to support the process. Some bodies were embalmed.
Today the catacombs form a series of five corridors, each dedicated to a certain group of people. One is for men, one for women, one for famous people, one for monks and one for priests. Some bodies are set in poses, many wear their finest garment, some are hanging on the wall in upright position.