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Capuchin Crypt – Rome

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Concealed under the 17th century church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappucini there is the unique Capuchin Crypt. Located in the elegant Via Veneto, near the beautiful Piazza Barberini, the Crypt is decorated with bones of almost 4000 Capuchin friars.

In 1631 the monks left their old monastery and moved here.

Pope Urban VII requested that the soil of the crypt should be brought from Jerusalem.

The Capuchins transported with them the remains of 300 friars; it was Fr. Michael of Bergamo that took care of the arrangement of the deceased monks’ bones.

Since the beginnings the Order stressed out that the bones are shown in order to make the people reflect on subjects of life and death and not to frighten.

Things to see

The Capuchin Crypt is a small site composed by six little chapels.

Many of the bones are nailed to the walls forming elaborate decors or are hanging out of the ceiling being used as light fixtures.

Only the Mass Chapel does not contain bones; the chapel was in fact used to celebrate Mass and after the battle of Porta Pia it was also utilized to bury the Papal infantry that died defending the Papal States.

The other five chapels contain the bones of the friars died between 1528 and 1870.