Exploring the Eerie Catacombs of 16th Century Sicily: Corridors Lined with Over 8,000 Corpses

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
July 9, 2023

These creepy pictures show the depths of a 16th century tomb which allow members of the general public to come face to face with the ᴅᴇᴀᴅ.

The Capuchin Catacombs hold 8,000 corpses as well as around 1,252 mummies and is open to the public, for those who feel like spending their day walking amongst the unknown.

The tombs in Italy outgrew the original cemetery it was held at in the 16th century, which resulted in monks excavating the crypts below.

In 1599 monks in the Palermo area of Sicily are said to have mummified a priest called Silvestro of Gubbio, placing him into the catacombs.

Palermo’s Capuchin monastery outgrew its original cemetery in the 16th century and monks began to excavate crypts below it. Picture above shows what looks to be a woman and a man, the man wearing a necktie and the woman wearing a bonnet

This disturbing pH๏τo shows a small child in a coffin with a silver cross emblazoned on the top. The child still has hair and it wearing a golden bow on top of her head

Lines of corpses decorate the walls in the tombs. Palermo’s Capuchin monastery outgrew its original cemetery in the 16th century

The tombs have now been transformed into a museum and local monks in the area now do guided tours for people looking to experience something a little bit different

An expert uses a torch to inspect one of the mummies which is sat in a coffin across from another. Over time, Sicily is set to reveal a real research laboratory on mummification Burials at the catacombs stopped in the 1920s and the space is now a museum run by monks in the area. However, tourists are banned from snapping images of the area, as they trail around the underground tombs.

Pictures from inside the tombs show the variation of the rates of decomposition of the mummies. Some still had teeth, hair and skin, while other seems to be crumbling to pieces.

Other startling images show a person in a top hat and dress, while another stands next to them wearing what appears to be a gown. The corpse also has long hair.

Another disturbing picture shows a small child wrapped in a shawl with a golden bow on top of her head.

Strange images from the tombs show mummies dressed in complete outfits. Such as this one where one mummy is wearinga jacket and trousers

The cemetary was officially closed by civil order in 1880. Pictured above are six different mummies, the skulls are all visible and one on the left hand side can be seen wearing striped trousers

The last burials are from the 1920s. The picture above shows mummified corpses stacked up on shelves with one being central to the alcove of the wall

The cemetery has now become a sort of museum.  The picture above shows what looks to be a mother and child. The mother is wearing a dress and a bonnet while the child also wears a bonnet and a shawl around her arms

The museum is filled with the forgotten ᴅᴇᴀᴅ. This picture shows how тιԍнтly they were packed into the walls with them being led both vertically and horizontally Mummies can be seen lined up along the walls and around podiums, as well as lead in tombs.

In order to secure a place in the tombs, those who wanted to be buried, would have to request a space before they died.

It was said to have been a sign of status to have been displayed and the bodies would have a place in the tombs as long as the family paid.

Mummification is an ancient tradition which has been favoured by those living in Sicily, with the Catacombs being prime examples of this.

Due to the areas interest and history, the Italian region is set to launch a research laboratory specifically on the practice of mummification.

This images shows one corpse wearing a top hat, while the other one wears a floral dress and a lace head ensemble

The corpses are now watched over by a group of monks. This corpse seems to have been left in a military style outfit, and some curled hair can be seen poking out of a hat

These three mummies were stood up next to each other. The one in the middle still had finger nails. While the one on the left hand side still had a full set of teeth

This pictures shows 19 mummies with four separate skulls being stacked on small alcoves at the very top of the wall. Some appear to be wearing ropes around their necks with tags on them

One of the monks who watches over the mummies walks down a hall full of them stacked either side as he shows people around