Sicily incentives catacombe dei cappuccini The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo (also Catacombe dei Cappuccini or Catacombs of the Capuchins) are burial catacombs.
Today they provide a somewhat macabre tourist attraction as well as an extraordinary historical record.
Palermo’s Capuchin monastery outgrew its original cemetery in the 16th century and monks began to excavate crypts below it.
In 1599 they mummified one of their number, recently dead brother Silvestro of Gubbio, and placed him into the catacombs.
Sicily incentives catacombe dei cappuccino The bodies were dehydrated on the racks of ceramic pipes in the catacombs and sometimes later washed with vinegar.
Some of the bodies were embalmed and others enclosed in sealed glass cabinets. Originally the catacombs were intended only for the dead friars.
However, in the following centuries it became a status symbol to be entombed into the Capuchin catacombs.
In their wills, local luminaries would ask to be preserved in certain clothes, or even to have their clothes changed at regular intervals.
Priests wore their clerical vestments, others were clothed according to the contemporary fashion.
Relatives would visit to pray for the deceased and also to maintain the body in presentable condition.
A visit to the Capuchin catacombs is certainly a unique experience of its kind. Even if it seems macabre, it actually leaves a sense of peace and serenity, as it makes us reflect on the inevitability of our common destiny.