This post just kept growing and grow so long I decided to go into parts.
Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy
I see dead bodies – really – in Palermo Italy. This was once the cemetery for the Capuchin Monastery, but in the 1500’s they ran out of space in the graveyard so the monks excavated the crypts below it. Once they pulled out all the coffins, they mummified the bodies.YUCK!
To mummify something you dehydrate it. That means you pull the water out of the dead body. The monks did it by putting the body on the ceramic pipes of the catacomb. After the water was gone, sometimes they washed the bodies in vinegar. P-U!
Sometimes they embalmed them, which usually involved 4 steps. Other bodies were sealed in a glass cabinet, but everyone wore their everyday or favorite clothes.
At first the catacombs were only for monks, but in time getting entombed there became a status symbol. It was the ultimate form of burial. Relatives donated towards the upkeep, but if they stopped payment, the body was put on a side shelf until the money streamed in again.
This is Rosalia Lombardo. She was one of the last people to get a spot in the catacombs in 1871. She looks like a ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which is the pose she was placed in.
Make time if you want to visit everyone – there are about 8000 corpses and 1252 mummies, but please, no photos or touching bodies. Iron grills stop the touching, and I bet a big fine stops those photo ops.
The big map is the island of Sicily. The tiny one shows it beside the rest of Italy.
If you want to find Palermo, go to the northwestern corner of Sicily. Travel east to the next province. It looks like Palermo is the third bump along the coast line, and it’s Sicily’s hottest tourist spot.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!