Rosalia Lombardo
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Rosalia Lombardo, Sleeping Beauty
Age 2 at death
Sex Female
Status General's daughter
Height Unknown
Culture Italian
Date(s) December 13, 1918-December 6,1920
Site Capuchin Catacombs
Current Location
Location Palermo,Italy
Catalog #

Rosalia was born on December 13, 1918 and died on December 6, 1920 of pneumonia. Her father Mario Lombardo, who was an local official, engaged noted embalmer, Alfredo Salafia to mummify her body. Rosalia's body was one of the last to be admitted to the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily. Her body is kept in a glass covered coffin placed on a wooden pedestal.(The Chirurgeon's Apprentice)


Alfredo Salafia performed a procedure that would  preserve Rosalia for many centuries. The exact formula remains a mystery for a century until in 2009 a biological anthropologist, Dario Piombino-Mascali tracked down the formula through Salafia's living descendants. The chemicals along with the climate conditions used to dry up Rosalia's body include formalin, zinc, salt, alcohol, salicylic acid and glycerin. The glycerin allows the body to mummify whereas the salicylic acid prevents the growth of mold. The body was moved to a drier spot in the catacombs, her original coffin was placed in a hermetically sealed glass enclosed with nitrogen gas to prevent decay.


Nearly 100 years after her death, Rosalia looks unnervingly alive. In 2009, an MRI of Rosalia's body produced the first 3D image of the little girl and revealed that all her organs were perfectly intact.


Rosalia died of pneumonia.


There have been studies that show movement regarding her eyelids, as if the child was opening and closing her eyes. It was discovered that the phenomena was due to the lighting changes when pictures of the mummy are taken.

External Links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.