The crypt of the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini is decorated with the skulls and bones of thousands of Capuchin monks who died between 1528 and 1870.
The bodies (up to 4,000) were initially buried in the crypt, without coffins, in soil said to have been brought from the Holy Land. When the bodies had decayed the bones were added to the decorative displays.
The church, itself, was commissioned in 1626 by Pope Urban VIII, whose brother, Antonio Barberini, was a Capuchin friar. It was designed by Antonio Casoni and built between 1626 and 1631.
Blogging about Rome:
its art, history and culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
Search Walks in Rome: