The town:

Urbania's mummies

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A trip to the silent crypt cannot be missed, where the bodies of the common dead have resided for more than 4 centuries. The Church of the Dead, former Cappella Cola until 1836 with its gothic portal, houses the Cemetery of the Mummies, noted for its curious phenomenon of natural mummification, owing to a particular mould which dried out the bodies, sucking out the innards.

mummieFollowing the Napoleonic Edict of Saint-Cloud of 1804, which instituted cemeteries outside town centres, 18 mummified bodies were recovered from around the church that were displayed behind the altar from 1833. The housing of the bodies was taken care of by the Confraternita della Buona Morte, founded in 1567 at Casteldurante (Urbania's ancient name), under the protection of San Giovanni Decollato, here featured in the painting by local artist, Giustino Episcopi. The initial aim of the confraternity was the transport and burial of the deceased, assistance for the moribund, registration of the deceased and the distribution of alms to the poor.



Each of Urbania's mummies has a story to be told: from the prior of the confraternity Vincenzo Piccini, dressed in the white and black tunic of the funeral ceremony, to the woman who died during a caesarean section, to the youth stabbed while dancing and the unlucky man who was buried alive in a state of apparent death... But if you wish, the custodian will reveal the circumstances of each person. The mummies are often featured in the press and on television, (National Geographic and Mistero).