Capuchins’ catacombs, Sicily


Do you dare to go down into the Capuchins’ catacombs? If so, you’ll find a maze of dark underground corridors with thousands of decayed corpses hanging grotesquely on hooks along the walls.

When, in 1599, the monks here discovered a new technique for preserving bodies, Sicilians from all walks of life sent their loved ones for mummification and display so they could visit them.

All dressed in their Sunday best, some are little more than skeletons now with caved in skulls and missing body parts. Others still have hair, flesh and staring eyes. Some seem to be grinning, while others have horribly contorted ‘screaming’ faces.

The most recent, a two-year old who died in 1920, is so intact she looks as if she might open her eyes at any moment.

Written by

Readers who enjoyed
this article also liked:

  • Parasite museum, Japan

    Poor old parasites. They can’t help but get a bad press. But one museum in Japan is battling to clean up their image.

  • Scallop sculpture, England

    A enormous steel seashell rises from the shingle beach at Aldeburgh in Suffolk. To some it’s a stunning sculpture, to others a massive eyesore.

  • Night of the Radishes, Mexico

    When most of us are wrapping presents, slurping mulled wine and hanging tinsel, the residents of Oaxaca City are busy carving radishes.


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.