One of the best-preserved mummies in the world isn’t from Egypt or Peru but comes from Italy about 90 years ago.
Rosalia Lombardo was a 2-year-old Italian girl who died of pneumonia. Her father, official Mario Lombardo, grieved her death and he went to a noted embalmer, Alfredo Salafia, in an attempt to preserve her, according to researchers.
Her body was one of the last to be admitted to the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily. There are about 8,000 mummies in the catacombs beneath the convent. Here’s a terrifying series of photos of the mummies housed there (warning: it’s a bit creepy).
Little is known about the small child, but many have described her as the “sleeping beauty,” as she is so well-preserved.
Last year, Italian newspapers reported that Lombardo was opening and closing her eyes but that was soon debunked.
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“It’s an optical illusion produced by the light that filters through the side windows, which during the day is subject to change,” Dario Piombino-Mascali, who is the curator of the Capuchin Catacombs, wrote in a statement, according to Discovery.
He added that the mummy was moved slightly and shifted to a horizontal position.
“They are not completely closed, and indeed they have never been,” Piombino-Mascali added.
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Most of the mummies buried in the catacombs were treated by the monks working at the convent, but Rosalia was not. She was mummified via “artifical” means, Discovery noted.
Piombino-Mascali found a document describing the ingredients used by the embalmer. The formula said it was “one part glycerin, one part formalin saturated with both zinc sulfate and chloride, and one part of an alcohol solution saturated with salicylic acid.”