Needed a few days to refresh and recharge. Needed a few days away from the news. Honestly, it’s been getting to me lately. Usually, I can leave it at the door. Not lately. It’s just been a really tough news cycle.
All that said, I’m out for a couple of weeks. We took ourselves to Italy. It’s our 10th anniversary and we decided to do it up right.
In Rome right now. It’s hot. Really hot. Beautiful, though. Everywhere you turn, history.
We took a walking history tour. Of all the places we saw, of all the places I have ever seen in my life, the Capuchin Crypt will stick with me forever.
Bones. Thousands of human bones. For what? Art.
First a little background. It’s officially called the Museum and Crypt of the Capuchin Friars.
You can read the entire history here: https://archaeology-travel.com/italy/capuchin-crypt-rome/amp/
The simplified version of it all is this. In the sixteenth century, a Franciscan friar felt the order had drifted away from the humble practices of St. Francis.
He created the Capuchins. Solitude and penance is what they were about.
It’s their afterlife that is so fascinating. Quite simply, after they die… they are buried… dug up after fifty or so years… then, their bones are used as art work and decoration.
Under the church, Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins, is the crypt. You can tour it. We toured it. No photos, please. Don’t worry. I don’t want that on my phone.
Archaeology Travel describes the rooms of the crypt like this: “…the other five (rooms) are filled with thousands of human bones, elaborately stacked against the walls, organised into enchanting Baroque patterns. And even crafted into chandeliers. In all, the remains of around four thousand individuals are present.”
Archaeology Travel goes on: “The five rooms are given such evocative names as the Crypt of Skulls, the Crypt of Pelvises and the Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones. Not everything on display is bare bone. In one room, two severed, mummified arms cross one another to make the form of the Capuchin’s coat of arms. Several rooms also contain robed and hooded figures, their darkened, desiccated skin still clinging to their skulls.”
You can’t unsee it. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before. There was a family walking through all of this with us. A little girl. I can’t imagine what it must have been like getting her to sleep that night.
After we walked out, I asked our tour guide for a recap. “You’re telling me, these friars died. They were buried for fifty years. They dug up their bones and made art pieces?” “Yes,” she said. Wow.
We toured the Vatican too. It is like nothing I have ever seen before either. Let’s face it though, a bit more traditional in its approach to things.
Later on at dinner, we were offered a bone-in piece of meat. Too soon, I thought. I ordered pasta instead.
One thought on “Good bones. (And I ain’t talking house either.)”
Miss your face on my TV but so happy you’re enjoying your life! You deserve it!