Showing posts with label Capuchin Catacombs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Capuchin Catacombs. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Rosalia Lombardo of Palermo, Italy, was born on
December 13, 1918 and sadly passed just at two years later on Dec 6, 1920. due to influenza. However she was most likely to have died of bronchial infection which was sadly effecting many children at the time. What makes the young child so special is not who she is or how she died but rather how her body has survived the throes of decay.

Rosalia's was one of the last bodies to be placed in the 
Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Italy. She remains one of the best preserved too. The young child Rosalia was embalmed by noted embalmer/Italian chemist Alfred Salafia. He was famous for his embalming fluid and techniques. 
Also he was routinely called upon to embalm famous people as his methods left the body extremely well preserved.
As you can see with the child Rosalia Lombardo.
Alfred Salafia the famous embalmer of
Italy for the Capuchin Catacombs 

Good evening my dearest supporters, followers, readers & friends of course. Today I am going talk about a young girl life that was cut very short, however she lives on nearly over 100+years after her death at a tender age of only 2-years old. But before I get into the legend of the young Sleeping Beauty as they call her. I will first talk about where she is and where so many other have come to their resting place after death. It seems that the Palermo's Capuchin Monastery outgrew its original cemetery in the 16th century. So the Monks had to think of something to do with all the folks that died, for proper burial. So the monks began to excavate the crypts below the original cemetery. Then in the year 1599 they started to mummified one of their recently dead monk brothers Silvesto of Gubbio and placed him into the catacombs in 1599 in Italy.
The bodies were dehydrated on racks of ceramic
pipes inside the catacombs, then sometime later
or it they were washed with vinegar. Its seems that they
were overwhelmed with the death of bodies. Some
of the bodies that were lucky after looking at some
images were embalmed and others were enclosed
in sealed glassed cabinets. The Monks were
preserved with their everyday clothing and sometimes
with ropes they had worn as a penance.

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.
This I have a hard time to believe after looking at
the condition of the people body's in which
they are preserved in the Capuchin Catacombs.
It is a very sad thing to see the way their bodies 
are treated centuries later and now they even
have tours & on Halloween contests to see
how long one would stay in the catacombs with
all the deceased relatives loved ones. 
I wonder if the relatives were alive today if 
they would be happy about it. Of course 
this is only my opinion. But I have been
always raised to respect your dead relatives.
Well, anyways, In the wills, of the dead, local luminaries 
would ask to be preserved in certain clothes or 
even to have their clothes changed at regular intervals.
The priests would ware their clerical vestments,
others would ware clothes according to the 
contemporary fashion.
It seems that their Relatives would visit to 
pray for the deceased and also to maintain their
the bodies of the dead, to keep them in
presentable condition. 
The catacombs were maintained at the
time through the donations of the
relatives of the deceased.
Each new body was placed in a temporary niche
and later placed into a more permanent place.
As long as the contributions continued the body would 
remained in its proper place, but when the relatives did not
send money any more, the bodies were put aside on a 
shelf until they resumed payment.
I believe this is when the bodies started to add up
and the catacombs became the tunnels of bones.
The last friar interred into the catacombs was
Brother Riccardo in 1871 but other famous people 
were still interred into the catacombs.
The catacombs were officially closed in the year
1880 but tourists continued to visit. 
The last burials are from the years 1920s. 
One of the very last to be was Rosalia Lombardo.
However, before she was buried the catacombs 
contain about 8,000 corpses and 1,252 mummies 
~As stated by the last census made by eurac in 2011~
That is what lines the walls.
The halls are divided
into categories; Men, Women, Virgins, Children,
Priests, Monks and Professionals.
Some bodies are better preserved than others.
Some are set in poses; for example, two children are 
sitting together in a rocking chair. The coffins were 
accessible to the families of the deceased so that
on certain days the family could hold their hands 
and they could 'Join' their family in Prayer.
It would seem that the young girl  was just 
recently rediscovered. And preserved with a 
procedure that was lost for decades, but was also
recently discovered.
The embalming procedure performed by
professor Alfredo Salafia, consisted of a formalin 
to kill bacteria. Alcohol to dry the body. Glucerin to keep
The girl from overdrying. Saliculic acid to kill fungi. Finally
the most important ingredient ---Zinc Salts--Zinc sulfateand
zine chloride to give the body rigidity.
The formula is 1-part glucerin
1-part formalin saturated with both zinc sulfate
and chloride and 1-part of an alcohol solution saturated
with salicylic acid.
Before I go on I thought I would tell you a bit about 
her life because even though everyone talks about 
her death so much I thing one should talk about her 
short life and her father's love who loved her
so much he seek out the most famous Alfredo Salafia.
I could find any photos of the child when she was alive.
It seems that it was custom to take pictures during
that time during my search for a picture for you
all to take a postmortem picture of you child, or love 
one that has died. I found a lot of images of 
these type. And I think of Rosalia too.
Rosalia just before
she died --- Maybe who knows?
Anyways she is known by many names
Which I didn't know of 
' Girl in the Glass Coffin'
'Sleeping Beauty'
'World's most Beautiful Mummy'
Best Preserved Mummy in the World'
Sadly in death she became something larger than
life than when she was alive for her 2-years of life.
Thousands of people flock each year to the 
Catacombs just to get a glimpse of the tiny 
girl that only lived 2 years.
Nearly 100 years after her death, Rosalia
has only changed a little. Still sealed
inside her tiny glass coffin. She sleeps, with her little 
head that pokes above a fading silk blanket.
She still has tuffs of blonde hair still flowing down 
her cheeks a silk bow still tied firmly around her 
head. The only sign of time has passed is an 
oxidizing amulet of the Virgin Mary which rest atop
her blanket. It's so faded, its almost unrecognizable.
This is the famous child mummy
Rosalia Lombardo. 
So who was this beautiful child in life? 
Besides the fact that she died in 1920 Rosalia
was interwoven with the Sicilian lore.
It was said as a young child she was born frail, and 
had endured more pain and sickness than most children
in her lifetime of only 2-years. Even thought she was
very much loved and her father tried everything to 
help his beautiful little girl sickness. But when she 
 die he was heart broken. 
Rosalia Father sought the help of the 
embalmer Alfredo Salafia to preserve his daughter
for eternity. Of course the result was nothing short of
miraculous. through Salafia's embalming process, 
she was perfectly preserved.
In her new state of immortality she was placed inside 
a glass coffin and interred  inside the 
Capuchin Catacombs of Sicily.
So the truth about her life has been lost for a time
However, some say she was the daughter of a 
wealthy Sicilian noble, a general in the Italian 
military named Mario Lombardo.
According to legend, The general wanted to
preserve his only daughter for all eternity and
consequentially contacted Alfredo Salafia to embalm
her . There are no known official documents
confirming definitively who
her parents were. 
As far as the embalmer Alfredo Salafia it seems
that his secret of the preserving Rosalia
 was nearly lost for a century. 
The exact formula remained a mystery lost
to the grave with Salafia until 2009 a biological 
anthropologist named Dario Piombino-Mascalitracked down
the  eternal formula through Salafia's living 
decedents. After that he discovered that-
The chemicals included formalin, zinc salt,
alcohol, salicylic acid and glycerin. The combination
of alcohol and the climate conditions with the catacombs
would have dried Rosalia's body.
Glycerin would have allowed the body to mummify 
and salicylic acid prevented the growth of mold.
the magic ingredient was zinc which gave the body
rigidity , essentially turning it to wax
Then is 2000s an special x-ray equipment was 
brought to the catacombs and Rosalia's coffin was
x-rayed for the first time in it's existence. 
what they discovered was not only a skeletal structure but
that her organs were still intact. Also her brain was 
perfectly visible only having shrunk 50% due to the 
mummification process.
Then is 2009 the National Geographic had a
MRI performed on the body producing the first
3D images of her body on both inside and out. The MIR
confirmed all of her organs were perfectly intact.
It also showed her arms at her sides. Nobody has ever looked
underneath the blanket that covers
Rosalia's body since she was sealed inside her coffin for 
90 years ago.

We have also discovered that her eyes have 
been mostly undamaged. Also we have  discovered
that they are blue. There have been folks that say 
they have seen her eyes open and close. There have
been several time-lapse photos that exist that appear 
to substantiate this claim, showing them opening at least
1/8 of an inch, revealing her intact blue eyes 
underneath. The most likely cause they say is the room 
temperature within the casket  & catacombs or 
simply an optical illusion.
Still yet there is a lot of folks that feel or believe
its Rosalia spirit returning to her body. Since 
the child was so young and innocence forever frozen
in time some feel it is a spiritual thing that she never 
left her body. That she is forever a ghost in the 
I hope that you all like my new post 
on the young girl called 
Sleeping Beauty 
Love you all 
Your Friend Always 
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