For centuries, many Sicilians used mummification to maintain a continuous relationship between thosealive and dead. While the word "catacomb," may drive many to think of Paris, it is in fact, Sicily, that has the largest concentration of documented mummies anywhere in the world outside Egypt. Preserved in churches and crypts, they can be found across the island. Palermo's Capuchin Monastery (Order of Friars Minor Capuchin)) outgrew its original cemetery in the Sixteenth century, and so, the monks would begin to excavate crypts below their earth.
The Catacombe dei Cappuccini, the Catacombs of the Capuchin Monks, is known worldwide for its unique displays with more than 8000 corpses and 1252 mummies and continues to be must-see attractions for tourists since ancient times. It was even included in the European "Grand Tour" since the Seventeenth Century. Sicilian’s ways of worshiping their ancestors, death-related beliefs and rituals, may seem rather bizarre or even exotic to those outside of the Island. This conversation will look at the truth behind Sicilians' cultural practice of embalming and its origins, while also dispelling myth and legend, and taking viewers on a journey through the most famous catacombs and their eternal residents.
Born in Northern Italy and raised in the South, Valentina Molozzu moved to Sicily in 2013 to follow her studies on the enhancement of the Palermo's cultural heritage. She has a Master Degree in Art History (La Sapienza, University of Rome), and studied in Amsterdam, Rhodes, Berlin, Durham, Mexico city. A Licensed Tour Guide since 2009 (Sicily, Rome, and the Vatican City), she has also taught Art History and Italian Language for foreigners. She is currently a PhD researcher in Archaeology.
About Your Expert
Born in Northern Italy and raised in the South, Valentina Molozzu moved to Sicily in 2013 to follow her project for the enhancement of the cultural heritage in Palermo. She has a Master's Degree in Art History (La Sapienza, University of Rome), and has also studied in Amsterdam, Rhodes, and Berlin. Licensed Tour Guide since 2009 for Sicily, Rome, and the Vatican City, she has taught Art History and Italian Language for foreigners. She is currently a PhD researcher in Archaeology at the University of Durham, England, writing a thesis about Prehistoric heritage management and the Megalithic sites in Sicily.
Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.