Rosalia Lombardo is one of the youngest and the very last person to be interred at the catacombs. Different tv shows featured this little girl as if in deep slumber. I was amazed at how perfectly preserved her body is. I’ll be sure to drop by Palermo, Sicily when I get the money for the euro trip.
Who is Rosalia Lombardo
A Sicilian girl who was doted by her family. At two years of age, she contracted pneumonia. She died in the year 1920. Not much is known about her family or if there’s surviving relatives.
The Alfredo Salafia’s Secret Formula
The distraught father of Rosalia contracted the well-known taxidermist and embalmer Dr. Alfredo Salfia to preserve her body. On 1933 Dr. Alfredo Salfia died without passing on his knowledge on near perfect mummification. For decades, his secrets remained a mystery that baffled the experts. Fortunately, Italian biological anthropologist Dario Piombino-Mascali (funded by Nation Geographic Society’s Expedition Council) tracked down the surviving relatives of Salafia. With their permission, he was able to read the memoir that revealed the formula.
Formalin (mixture of formaldehyde and water) to kill the bacteria. Alcohol was used to dry the body and glycerine to add a little moisture. Salicylic acid was used to stop the growth of fungus. The secret ingredient was the zinc salt. Zinc causes the body to be rigid.
Where to find Rosalia Lombardo
Rosalia’s coffin is situated in the small chapel at the last part of the Capuchin Catacombs in Sicily, Italy.
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