Monday, August 24, 2009

Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily

They always talk about the catacombs of Paris. But, to me this one takes the cake. Capuchin Monastery has an above ground cemetery. But, it was getting full. So, the monks in the 16th century started to created crypts below. It was originally created to bury their own. The first interment was in 1599. As time went on it seemed this was the place to be buried. As long as you had money to burn. Some relatives would bury their loved ones. But, had to pay every so often to keep them accessible to the family. If not, the body would be but in storage until they start paying again. What make this place on the "strange" level. Is that the dead were placed in glass coffins. Or, posed, like for example two children sitting on a rocking chair together. But, mainly the bodies are on hooks on the sides of the walls. All dressed in the fine clothes. Some relatives requested their loved one have their clothes changed for different occasions.
The last friar buried was in 1871. People started to take tours of the Catacombs around 1880. One, of the last burials were around the 1920's.

The most famous is Rosalia Lombardo. She was so perfectly preserved. That she appears to be sleeping.

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