Capuchin catacombs of Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Massimo Pizzotti/© Massimo Pizzotti
At street level, the Capuchin monastery might seem like many other historic churches in Palermo. But once you go below ground, you’ll encounter the most unusual and macabre display in the city. More than 8,000 mummified bodies are interred in its catacombs, some stacked on wooden shelves, others standing or hanging upright along the walls. The oldest resident is a friar named Silvestro da Gubbio, who dates from 1599; among the more recent arrivals is two-year-old Rosalia Lombardo, who died in 1920 and is so eerily well preserved that she’s been nicknamed Sleeping Beauty.