Catacombe dei Cappuccini
Piazza Cappuccini 1, Palermo

Over 8000 dead bodies staring back at you, that’s what this unexpected destination has to offer. From the beginning of the 16th century Capuchin monks started mummifying bodies of the local gentry and put them in the cave under the monastery. All the dead still wear their daily life clothes, uniforms etc which makes the place even spookier than other catacombs.

catacombe-cappuccini-palermo

Divided into different sections according to the rank the person held in life, one of the most curious being the section of girls who died as virgin, and who for this ragion go to heaven straight away.

The 4 year old girl who died in the beginning of the 19th century is another highlight. She looks almost alive.

photos below by Marco Lanza, from “The Living Dead”:

Appointment at 18:00 at the monastery, in Piazza dei Cappuccini. I am welcomed by a very young friar who takes me for a visit of the Crypt apologizing for the momentary lack of electricity. Holding a candle in one hand with the other hand protecting the flame, the friar makes his way along the corridors telling me some of the many anecdotes about this place. Occasionally, I slacken my pace to find myself behind him and look at him walking against the light in silence, in the spectrality of the bodies along the walls.
(Palermo, Sunday 8th February 1998)

click on the pictures to enlarge them:

>> for more great photos visit Marco Lanza’s website