The Capuccini Crypt
Duration: 1 hour
Rome is a city where you can visit many monuments and places of charm. In addition to the most famous architectural beauties of the Eternal City, there are also places full of mystery and dark charm. This is the case of the Capuchin Crypt, known above all for the disturbing presence of human bones and skulls.
The Capuchin crypt is located below the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione and is accessed via stairs leading to the basement. The entrance is announced by a very common memento mori in the past: “What you are we were; what we are you will be. ”
The atmosphere of this place appears immediately different from the rest of the complex, thanks to the presence of the bones of about 4000 Capuchin friars that adorn its walls. The remains were collected between 1528 and 1870 from the Order’s old cemetery, which was located near the Quirinale.
The crypt is composed of 5 small chapels: the decoration of each is characterized by the prevalent use of a particular bone. The Chapel of the Tibias, that of the Basins, that of the Skulls, that called the Three Skeletons and that of the Resurrection are therefore recognizable. The bones are assembled in such a way as to compose symbols related to death such as hourglasses, clocks and butterflies, while chandeliers made with phalanges and coccyxs hang from the ceiling. The choice to decorate the crypt with bones, which could appear lugubrious and macabre, is actually a way of exorcising death and emphasizing that the body is only a container of the soul. Precisely by virtue of this essence, once it has left the container, it can be reused in another way.