The Catacombs of Palermo

Happy Halloween!

The Catacombe dei Cappuccini in Palermo offers visitors with a taste for the macabre something remarkable. Actually a semi-underground cemetery, it publicly displays the remains of about 8000 people who were embalmed by the Cappuccini monks using a preservation process that was practiced by many monasteries. The process entailed, after removing the internal organs, draining the corpse for approximately one year. The body was then washed and filled with straw before it was dressed to be displayed in a corridor of the cemetery, which naturally maintains a cool, humid temperature that is excellent for preserving prepared corpses.

(Photo from a guide purchased at the Catacombe; Photography is banned at the cemetery.)

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