Friday, 18 May 2012

Too odd to not be true

I went on holidays to Rome last summer with my family. We had a wonderful time, seeing many of the impressive churches and artwork the city has to offer. However, one church in particular has remained in my mind, for its startling and chilling display.

Image from an old National Geographic special
The church of Santa Maria Della Concezione is known for its crypt which contains mosaics and sculptures made from, well, bodies, to put it bluntly. The crypt contains the bones and remains of over 4000 Capuchin friars buried between 1500 and 1870. Skulls line the walls, and ribs, vertebrae and other osseus matter have been used to create every conceivable design or pattern.

These are postcards I bought there, as cameras weren't permitted

Walking through the crypt was an incredibly surreal, disturbing experience. To this day I don't really know whether I actually liked it. It was certainly thought-provoking, leading me to mull over life and death for quite some time. It's truly an oddity, though. Sometimes I'm glad that places like this exist at least once, just to remind us that the world can sometimes be more interesting than we believe.


  1. Beautiful! My mother has rosary beads partly made from mud from the catacombs in Vatican City and when I look at them I always think of dark, religious places like this :)

    1. Yes, there is something strangely beautiful about it - it's almost like a Tim Burton film or something, charming in a way.
      The rosary beads sound amazing, my grandmother has loads of different ones hanging on a hook by the door, and I love seeing all the different colours and styles!
      Thanks for commenting :)