Father Domenica da Trapani
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Father Domenica Da Trapani
Age Unknown
Sex Male
Status priest
Culture Italian
Date(s) Died 1843
Site Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo
Current Location
Location Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo
Catalog #

In 1534 the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins settled in Palermo and in that same year the Senate of Palermo granted to religious privilege to build their convent next to the existing church of Santa Maria della Pace. At that time, the dead friars were buried in a mass grave, placed in the south side of the church. In 1599, bodies were transferred to a grave behind the high altar of the church, and placed in niches all around the walls of the first corridor. Soon other preserved bodies of monks who lived and died in Palermo needed to be buried, so it became necessary to build another room and a chapel. Expansions continued in the next years to meet the increasing demand for burial made by outsiders.


At first, the bodies were laid in the so-called “colanders”, where they remained for the time needed to drain organic liquids that would have made ​​impossible a proper storage - about a year. Then the bodies were brought in a ventilated place ready to be washed and cleaned with vinegar and water, after that the bodies were dressed and placed in the niches along the corridors.


Hayes, H., 2010. Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo. Available at: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/palermo-capuchin-catacombs [Accessed 1 May 2014].

Lange, K., 2009. Lost "Sleeping Beauty" Mummy Formula Found. Available at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/01/090126-sicily-mummy.html [Accessed 1 May 2014].

Powell, M., 2011. The Bone-Chilling Catacombs of the Capuchin Monks. Available at: http://palermo.for91days.com/2011/11/06/the-bone-chilling-catacombs-of-the-capuchin-monks/

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